Adam Smith and Economic Development in Theory and Practice: A Rejection of Stadial Model?

Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Forthcoming

14 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2020

Date Written: June 12, 2020

Abstract

Adam Smith allegedly offers a model of economic development both in his Lectures on Jurisprudence and in the Wealth of Nations — the so called four stages of development model. The model presents a linear unfolding view of economic development from primitive to advanced stages. But Smith´s own historical examples systematically contradict this model. I thus question whether Adam Smith actually endorses and uses the four stages model of development to illustrate development and suggest that if he does, he does it to discredit it instead. For Smith history teaches that development is more accidental than fitting deterministic models.

Keywords: Adam Smith, Development, Growth, Stadial Theory

JEL Classification: B, O

Suggested Citation

Paganelli, Maria Pia, Adam Smith and Economic Development in Theory and Practice: A Rejection of Stadial Model? (June 12, 2020). Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3625937

Maria Pia Paganelli (Contact Author)

Trinity University ( email )

Dept. of Economics
One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX 78212
United States

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