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Development Economics [Kindle Edition]

Debraj Ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

If you are instructor in a course that uses Development Economics and wish to have access to the end-of-chapter problems in Development Economics, please e-mail the author at For more information, please go to If you are a student in the course, please do not contact the author. Please request your instructor to do so.

The study of development in low-income countries is attracting more attention around the world than ever before. Yet until now there has been no comprehensive text that incorporates the huge strides made in the subject over the past decade. Development Economics does precisely that in a clear, rigorous, and elegant fashion.

Debraj Ray, one of the most accomplished theorists in development economics today, presents in this book a synthesis of recent and older literature in the field and raises important questions that will help to set the agenda for future research. He covers such vital subjects as theories of economic growth, economic inequality, poverty and undernutrition, population growth, trade policy, and the markets for land, labor, and credit. A common point of view underlies the treatment of these subjects: that much of the development process can be understood by studying factors that impede the efficient and equitable functioning of markets. Diverse topics such as the new growth theory, moral hazard in land contracts, information-based theories of credit markets, and the macroeconomic implications of economic inequality come under this common methodological umbrella.

The book takes the position that there is no single cause for economic progress, but that a combination of factors--among them the improvement of physical and human capital, the reduction of inequality, and institutions that enable the background flow of information essential to market performance--consistently favor development. Ray supports his arguments throughout with examples from around the world. The book assumes a knowledge of only introductory economics and explains sophisticated concepts in simple, direct language, keeping the use of mathematics to a minimum.

Development Economics will be the definitive textbook in this subject for years to come. It will prove useful to researchers by showing intriguing connections among a wide variety of subjects that are rarely discussed together in the same book. And it will be an important resource for policy-makers, who increasingly find themselves dealing with complex issues of growth, inequality, poverty, and social welfare.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"An elegant, insightful, and extremely effective textbook on development economics. It combines astute theoretical reasoning with a firm grip on empirical circumstances, including institutional possibilities and limitations. There is real originality here without sacrificing usefulness and accessibility."--Amartya Sen, Winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics, Harvard University

About the Author

Debraj Ray is Professor of Economics at Boston University.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6042 KB
  • Print Length: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (January 12, 1998)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005AV1TTK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,649 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars solid textbook in scientific mode May 2, 2003
This textbook was written for senior undergraduates or master's students with a minimum introduction to economics, which assumes that the student has assimilated the general features of the approach defining economics as a social science. Consequently, any student or reader who is well grounded in the social science paradigm will readily assimilate this excellent introduction to development economics, which is distinguished by the solid, I would even say, jam-packed expertise of Debraj Ray.
The author gives an excellent overview in the four-page preface, where he acknowledges the limitations of his work and prepares the reader well by conveying a transparent framework for absorbing the rather dense exposition that follows.
There is in the second chapter a concise discussion of the meaning of economic development, which defines it as a multifaceted concept for which per capita income is a robust but significantly incomplete operational measure.
Throughout the book, the basic pattern of discussion is consistent. The author discusses theory and data in dynamic--the order of the two is interchangeable--identifying and discriminating what is substantiated, imperfect, or defective in theory, as well as what is informative, unexplained, or wanting in data, and then whenever possible drawing implications or conclusions for economic policy. The ultimate goal of author's analysis is to limn the "structural characteristics" of economic development, building upon the fundamental assumption that the key determinants of economic performance are a cohort of salient variables that affect the efficient functioning of markets.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the best. January 13, 2001
Ray wrote this book with the objective of being one of the classical text books for Development Economics. And he did it. This book is used in LSE, Ivy League, and Oxford. It requires a strong microeconomic background, as well as econometric skills. There aren't a lot of formulas but theory. Easy reading and broad contents.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This is what I had to wait a long time for back in my days as an academic -- an UNDERGRADUATE textbook on Development Economics that is aimed squarely at economists. Most other textbooks on the subject are aimed at students with a general interest in development. While this makes them more accessible, they suffer from not seeing how useful a tool mainstream economic theory is when it comes to examining development issues. Importantly, Ray uses the analytical tools of economics without being too mathematical. This is the textbook I had my undergraduate students buy.

For graduate students it's an excellent 'background' text, but not sufficiently advanced enough to serve as a core text to supplement journal articles.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent text book January 25, 1999
For quite some time, I have been looking for a good text book in Development Economics. My serach more or less ends with Ray's excellently produced, "Development Economics". The best parts of the book are Chapters 2, 3, 4 and the two appendices. However there are some notable omissions in the book. It does not have chapters on "Industrialisation" and on "Financial Flows". But I am sure this can be "rectified" in the next edition. The book is eminently accessible to a graduate student in Economics in a typical developing country.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The basics of Development economics. September 18, 2006
With Debraj Ray's book, the study of Development Economics finally becomes more accessible to all those interested. It is written for the undergraduate level and is accessible to non-economists as well. The book is a formalisation of the theories on growth and development that have been published until now and gives a very good overview of the subject.

Two things, however are to criticise. First of all, it is a magnum opus that would be a lot more comfortable to read as a paperback. Second, the information presented in this book is huge, yet doesn't go into sufficient and into equal detail for all factors of growth that are presented in this book. In other words, the presentation of the different factors is at a rather general level, however some factors seem to stand out more than others, which is somewhat a little annoying, since growth depends on many factors, some of which are too narrowly described.

The style however is straight-forward and is not limited to economists alone. At the same time, a good understanding of both macro- and microeconomics (in particular) will be useful. The book should also ideally be read together with some further readings so that the reader fully understands the contents and the points that the author is stressing. Yet, it is a fabulous book that can serve as an ideal starting-step for further study in the area. Four points are therefore awarded for this book.
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