Paul Rosenstein-Rodan and the Birth of Development Economics

Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series

44 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2020 Last revised: 8 Apr 2020

See all articles by Michele Alacevich

Michele Alacevich

University of Bologna - Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali; Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)

Date Written: March 11, 2020

Abstract

This paper, based on previously untapped archival sources, offers an assessment of the life and thought of Paul Rosenstein-Rodan, a pioneer of development economics and one of the first articulators of both the “Big Push” and “balanced growth” theories. In addition to documenting the early life of Rosenstein-Rodan, this paper discusses two critical junctures in the history of development economics, namely, the birth of the discipline in the late 1940s, and its decline approximately a quarter century later. Rosenstein-Rodan was a fundamental player in both instances. Through the lens of his experiences it is possible to understand the eclectic beginnings of development economics and locate some of its most important roots in the intellectual milieu of inter-war Europe, from Vienna to London via Eastern and Southern Europe. What’s more, Rosenstein-Rodan’s subsequent career epitomizes the arc of development economics, casting new light on the debates and practices that shaped the discipline during its rise, and on the unresolved issues that help explain its decline.

Suggested Citation

Alacevich, Michele, Paul Rosenstein-Rodan and the Birth of Development Economics (March 11, 2020). Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3552940 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3552940

Michele Alacevich (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali ( email )

Strada Maggiore 45
Bologna, 40129
Italy

Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) ( email )

300 Park Avenue South, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10010
United States

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