The Evolution of Views on Convergence in Development Economics
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Publication date: 2008-06-30
GNPJE 2008;224(5-6):25-46
The paper examines the evolution of views on convergence in development economics. The author describes the evolution of views on key factors and barriers to the process of bridging the gap in development in economically backward and developing countries. The author looks at convergence trends through the lens of the theory of economic growth and economic policies recommended to catching-up countries. A brief review of economic theories reveals that most theories focus on the factors and determinants of convergence. In the debate on convergence, the focus is increasingly moving away from material factors (physical capital) in favor of those linked with people (human resources) and relationships among microeconomic entities (institutions and social capital). However, this does not mean that material factors are less significant nowadays, Jabłoński says. Consequently, he adds, theoretical convergence scenarios should be built on the basis of material factors of growth and economic development. The way in which the theory of growth is evolving puts off the prospect of convergence between wealthy, developing and economically underdeveloped countries, Jabłoński says. The precursors of the theory of growth described convergence as a process that was in a sense indispensable and autonomous. Meanwhile, proponents of the theory of endogenous growth tend to see it largely as an illusion. In the context of his discussion of economic policies, the author concludes that, in determining the general framework for economic policy, it is necessary to avoid a universal approach based on Eurocentric and Atlantic modernization theories. The experience of developing countries from the 1980s shows that policies recommended to economically underdeveloped and developing countries should be adapted to these countries’ specific conditions, the author concludes.
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