Development Economics and Economic Development




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This page is maintained by Giorgio Secondi. It was last updated on February 7, 2014.

 

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Development Economics is the branch of economics that studies developing countries. While there is no generally accepted definition of "developing countries," the expression refers to relatively poor countries—or countries where standards of living are relatively low on average. Most of these countries are located in three geographical areas: Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and Latin America. Relatively poor countries, however, are also found in East Asia (e.g., China and Vietnam), the Middle East and North Africa (e.g., Iraq and Algeria), and Eastern Europe (e.g., Bulgaria and Romania). Conversely, Latin America includes a number of relatively rich countries (e.g., Argentina and Chile).

Economic Development has been defined by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen as "the process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy" (see Development as Freedom, p. 3). Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq has written that "the objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives" (see Human Development Reports). In short, there is more to economic development than growth in incomes. Follow the links below to learn more about what economic development is and how development economists measure standards of living and progress toward economic development.

Several websites have collections of scholarly papers about economic development available for download (typically in PDF format). Here are some of the more interesting ones:

 

Papers

EconPapers provides access to RePEc (Research Papers in Economics), a collection of Economics papers and articles. Many of these papers are on economic development issues, and many (but not all) are downloadable in full at no cost. Run a specific search from this website, or go to this page and hit "Search" under the 'O' JEL Code to get a list of all papers in the Economic Development category.

ERN (Economics Research Network) has a variety of papers on economic development available for download. Use the search function to find what you're looking for.

The Latin American Network is part of the Economics Research Network listed above, and contains over 600 papers on (mostly) Latin American development topics.

World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. A collection of over 6,000 papers written between 1988 and today on a variety of development topics. New papers are added on a regular basis. All are available in PDF format for download (free).

World Bank Africa Region Working Paper Series . Over 125 short papers that summarize World Bank findings about African development. An ongoing collection with full text of papers available in html, PDF, or both.

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Textbooks

There are countless development economics textbooks and readers out there and even more that cover "development" from a broader historical, political, and sociological point of view. Below I've listed a handful of textbooks that I recommend.

Giorgio Secondi (ed.), The Development Economics Reader (London: Routledge, 2008).

If I had to put together a collection of readings in development economics, this is the collection I would put together. Seriously, though, I can hardly provide an unbiased review of a reader I edited, so let me just report what Jeffrey Sachs had to say about it: "The Development Economics Reader, edited by Giorgio Secondi, offers a wonderful introduction to the great themes and debates of development economics. The subject is endlessly fascinating, important, and complex, and the Reader does justice to the richness of the field, and in a manner that is remarkably accessible for students without a technical background in economics. The Reader not only offers a judicious and balanced selection of important articles, but also provides a consistently high-quality introduction for each major theme, as well as review and discussion questions following each article and a valuable annotated list of further readings for each topic." In short, the idea behind the reader was to have a collection of readings that (1) are understandable to non-economists and non-Econ majors, (2) are nonetheless rigorous and written by top-notch development economists (or non-economists who understand economics), (3) are recent and reflect the latest research, and (4) give the reader a sense of the controversies and debates that are typical of the field. (End of the self-promotion.)

 

Dwight Perkins, Steven Radelet, and David Lindauer, Economics of Development, 6th edition (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 2006).

This is a very comprehensive survey of the field and one of the leading undergraduate textbooks. Anyone who's serious about learning development economics should own a copy (and read it). The book first came out in 1983 and has now gone through six editions. The latest edition, which adds David Lindauer to the list of authors, represents a great step forward in updating and modernizing the book. Clear, well-organized, comprehensive, and generally concise, the book offers a great introduction to the field. One small quibble I have with it is that, like most books that have gone through many editions, it tends to have that feel of unevenness that results from grafting updates onto older material. Also, the book assumes that the reader is familiar with what in the U.S. we consider intermediate-level economic theory (e.g., it uses isoquants, indifference curves, production functions, etc.). Readers who have only taken introductory economics classes (or no economics at all) will occasionally be stumped by the use of some of these tools. Such use, however, is not too frequent, so even readers with limited economics background will be able to get a lot out of this book.

 

Michael Todaro and Stephen Smith, Economic Development, 10th edition (Boston: Pearson Addison Wesley, 2008).

This is the other leading undergraduate textbook. It's been around since the 1970s and is now in its tenth edition. Compared to Perkins et al., this book has always had a broader historical/political/sociological feel to it, even though it does cover the economics of development (both authors are economists). It's more sprawling and less concise. Where reading Perkins feels like walking on a straight road, reading Todaro feels more like wandering in a leafy forest (which can be great fun at times, but a bit frustrating at other times). Like Perkins, Todaro suffers from the "tenth-edition syndrome"—the brand-new material doesn't always mesh well with the vintage framework; and, like Perkins, Todaro assumes familiarity with intermediate-level theory (even though most technical material is relegated to the appendices).

 

 

Debraj Ray, Development Economics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998).

This is a wonderful textbook, but it is NOT suitable for the general reader. It's aimed instead at students with substantial background in economic theory and, in fact, is best suited to graduate students in economics (a must-read for Ph.D. students who want to specialize in development). The book is not nearly as comprehensive as the surveys reviewed above and focuses on the microeconomics of development; it does an excellent job at incorporating the insights of relatively recent literature. It would be great to see an updated edition of this book.

 

 

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Books

Hundreds of books on economic development issues are published every year. Below I've listed a few recent ones (published in 2000 or later) that I recommend.

Dani Rodrik, One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007).

This is a collection of papers by Dani Rodrik, the Harvard economist who is rapidly becoming one of the most influential thinkers in the field of development economics. Rodrik explains his approach to development issues very clearly in his introduction. While he believes in using neoclassical economic analysis, he emphasizes that this in no way implies simple, one-recipe development policies that must work for all countries ("privatize this, liberalize that," as he puts it). To the contrary, Rodrik argues that development economists must look carefully at the reality of each country and design policies that take that reality into account—recipes will likely be different in different contexts. He is also more sympathetic to Government interventions in the economy than many other economists (e.g., he supports industrial policy in a number of situations). And he argues that coming up with "laundry lists" of reforms that a poor country needs to put into effect is not the best approach; while it may well be the case that reforms are needed in many areas, Rodrik believes that it's crucial to identify "binding constraints" and to target reforms at those constraints, thinking carefully about what needs to be prioritized and how various reforms should be sequenced. Rodrik's eclectic approach is well worth learning and thinking about; I was a bit disappointed that this volume didn't contain any new writings—all the papers had been published or circulated before. But the book is a great introduction to Rodrik's thinking on development policy; it's also very readable and accessible to the general reader.

 

Paul Collier, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).

Paul Collier attempts to bridge in this book the chasm between the pro-aid Sachs camp and the anti-aid Easterly camp. He reviews the results of much of his research on developing countries and draws lessons on the reasons why about a billion people still live in extreme poverty, making recommendations on what can be done about it. He focuses specifically on about 60 countries that, unlike China or India, have not been experiencing rapid growth or poverty reduction. Collier identifies four "traps" that prevent such countries—most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa—from raising standards of living: conflict (civil war and coups), the presence of natural resources (that's right—the presence, not the absence), being "landlocked with bad neighbors," and bad governance. Collier doubts that globalization can do much for these countries, at least in their present state; and while he thinks that foreign aid has a role to play, he believes that it also has serious limitations and needs to be provided in different ways. He goes on to recommend alternative solutions to aid provision, including military intervention (which he believes to be effective in very specific circumstances—he's not advocating more Iraqs). Collier's research is very interesting, and he does an excellent job at explaining it to the general reader. His writing style, often witty as well as refreshingly blunt, adds to the enjoyment of reading this book (e.g., he states that Mao made his contribution to China's recent decades of fast economic growth by "dropping dead").

 

Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time (New York: The Penguin Press, 2005).

Sachs makes a compelling case for an increase in foreign aid to the poorest countries in the world. The first part of the book also reads as an autobiography; Sachs recounts how he got into development economics in the first place. The accounts of his experiences in Bolivia and Poland are quite fascinating. The second part focuses more on dispelling myths about poverty and showing that extreme poverty can be eliminated within decades. Not all will agree with Sachs's emphasis on geography as the key reason for poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, but Sachs does have substantial data and careful analysis to back up his case. Some of the recent work by Harvard's Dani Rodrik (see link to his webpage below) provides a critical view of Sachs's position on global poverty reduction. William Easterly—a former World Bank economist and well-known foreign aid skeptic—has also written a critical review of the book which was published in the Journal of Economic Literature. A shortened version appeared in The Washington Post (which also published Sachs's annoyed reply). This book is accessible to the general reader (no economics background is necessary to understand it).

 

William Easterly, The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (New York: The Penguin Press, 2006).

This is a book that leaves much to be desired, but I'm recommending it to provide some balance to Sachs's The End of Poverty. The book appears to have been conceived precisely as a response to Sachs's book, as it discusses all the reasons why foreign aid has often failed in the past and is likely to fail in the future if it continues to be disbursed in the same way. The many stories of aid failures that Easterly recounts are certainly worth reading—it's always good to be reminded that there's no silver bullet in development economics. Far less convincing is Easterly's distinction between "Planners" (people who want a "big push" in aid and think that they can plan development from above) and "Searchers" (people who come up with small-scale initiatives that take into account people's incentives and help the poor directly). The distinction is not convincing because much development aid these days supports the kind of projects that fall into the "Searcher" category. More importantly, while Easterly obviously enjoys pointing out everything that can go wrong when aid is given, he has little to say when the time comes to propose constructive alternatives. Here's what he suggests in his last chapter: "Put the focus back where it belongs: get the poorest people in the world such obvious goods as the vaccines, the antibiotics, the food supplements, the improved seeds, the fertilizer, the roads, the boreholes, the water pipes, the textbooks, and the nurses" (pp. 368-69). It's hard to see how this is different from what just about any development agency is trying to do these days. Amartya Sen has written an excellent review of this book for Foreign Affairs (appropriately titled "The Man Without a Plan"; Easterly has written a response). The book is accessible to the general reader.

 

Robert Guest, The Shackled Continent: Power, Corruption, and African Lives (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2004). [Note: There is now a paperback version of this book with a different subtitle; I don't know whether the text of the book has changed.]

Economists often view with suspicion books on economic issues written by journalists. Too often these journalists aren't trained in economics and show little understanding of key economic concepts. Robert Guest is one of the exceptions (Charles Wheelan and Paul Blustein are other exceptions that come to mind—journalists who write exceptionally well on economic issues). The Africa editor for The Economist, Guest recounts many of his experiences on the ground in Africa, addressing several of the key obstacles to development—corruption, lack of clearly defined property rights, the AIDS epidemics, lack of infrastructure, etc.). The book uses anecdotes to help the reader understand some of the realities that the people of Africa face every day. The book is accessible to the general reader.

 

Elhanan Helpman, The Mystery of Economic Growth (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004).

This book is about economic growth rather than economic development ("growth" typically refers to a long-run increase in GDP per capita; "development" is a much broader concept). Helpman—an extremely well-respected Harvard economist—reviews the major strands of theories of economic growth, discussing much of the evidence that supports them (or fails to support them). Helpman addresses both theories that look at traditional sources of growth (capital accumulation, technological progress, etc.) and more recent research (e.g., about the interactions between growth and inequality and the role of institutions and political systems). This is a concise and very clear book to help the reader learn what we know and what we don't about economic growth. While most of the key points will be clear to anyone, some of the finer points of the discussion require knowledge of intermediate-level economic theory to be fully understood.

 

Jagdish Bhagwati, In Defense of Globalization (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). [Note: There is a new paperback edition "with a new afterword."]

Bhagwati is one of the most respected international trade specialists (widely expected to receive a Nobel prize in economics). In this book, he lays out the case in favor of globalization, trying to address the many critiques popularized in recent years by the anti-globalization movement. Does globalization increase child labor in low-income countries? Worsen poverty? Threaten the environment? Cause financial instability? Readers may not agree with everything Bhagwati has to say (and may find that his writing style is not always engaging); they will, however, learn why most economists have a positive view of globalization. The book is accessible to the general reader.

 

 

Paul Blustein, The Chastening: Inside the Crisis that Rocked the Global Financial System and Humbled the IMF (New York: PublicAffairs: 2003). [Note: I read the original 2001 version of this book; the one pictured to the left is the paperback version, which claims to be "revised and updated."]

This is a fascinating, extremely clear, and very well written account of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. The book also addresses some of the international events that followed in the wake of the crisis—namely the Russian bond default and the Long-Term Capital Management rescue in 1998. Blustein looks especially closely at the role of the IMF, providing a critical view but staying away from gratuitous bashing. I agree entirely with John Williamson when he writes (on the back cover) that "this is investigative journalism at its best." The book is accessible to the general reader.

 

William Easterly, The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2001).

Easterly, a former World Bank advisor, takes a critical view of foreign aid and traditional development policies pushed on developing countries by the rich world. Using evidence and a wealth of anecdotes, he effectively points out all the things that can and will go wrong when development policies are not thought through carefully (and especially when they don't take into account the realities of developing countries). He warns against panaceas (population control or debt relief) and emphasizes the role of incentives. Easterly's writing style can at time be disorienting, but by and large his message gets across and is worth reading. The book is accessible to the general reader.

 

 

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Periodicals

The text of several periodicals on economic development issues can be downloaded from the internet. I have found the following periodicals especially interesting:

The Human Development Report, published annually by the United Nations Development Programme, reports on human development issues throughout the world. It contains a wealth of data, including the Human Development Index. The full text of the report and all data are available on-line free of charge in PDF format (statistics are also available in Excel format).

The World Development Report is published annually (usually in September) by the World Bank. Each issue of the report addresses a specific economic development issue. The full text is available from this site free of charge in PDF format.

Finance and Development, a quarterly publication of the IMF, contains articles on development issues written mostly (but not exclusively) by IMF and World Bank staff. All articles are readable on line and are very accessible to readers with no background in economics.

IMF Survey is a newsletter from the IMF that often includes information and articles about developing countries. It's published twice a month.

AllAfrica.com is an on-line service that reports daily news on African countries (mainly from African media organizations). Its business section often discusses economic development issues.

The best-known scholarly journals in development economics are the Journal of Development Economics, Economic Development and Cultural Change, and the Journal of Development Studies. Other journals that focus mostly on development issues include World Development, The World Bank Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Growth, Development and Change, and the Review of Development Economics. Articles on economic development also appear regularly in general economics journals such as the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Economic Perspectives, and many others. Articles published in all these journals are typically NOT freely available on the internet, but you may have access to them if your institution subscribes to ProQuest, FirstSearch, JSTOR, or similar on-line databases.

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Economists

A number of economists with an interest in economic development have many of their writings available on-line or downloadable in PDF format. The following are some of the more interesting and well respected (listed in alphabetical order):

Daron Acemoglu, MIT. Acemoglu is not really  a development economist, but recently he has done very interesting work on the role of institutions in economic development (winning the 2005 John Bates Clark Medal). He has also worked more broadly on questions of political economy of interest to developing countries.

Abhijit Banerjee, MIT. Banerjee has published widely on issues of economic development in India, addressing everything from governance to health care delivery, and from bank financing to land tenure systems. He's also written about monetary policy, currency crises, and, more recently, foreign aid. He is a director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab.

Pranab Bardhan, UC Berkeley. Bardhan has written mostly about institutions, governance, and corruption, as well as about globalization and India's economy. Click on the link at the very bottom of his webpage to access many of his writings in PDF format.

Jagdish Bhagwati, Columbia University. Bhagwati is really an international trade theorist (rather than a development economist), but I'm including him in this list because much of what he's written recently focuses on the effects of globalization on developing countries. See the many papers and editorials posted on his website.

Paul Collier, Oxford University. Collier works almost exclusively on Africa, but has studied all sorts of different development issues on the African continent—civil wars, foreign aid, commodity prices, democracy, trade policies, and much more. Many of his recent papers are available from his website.

Esther Duflo, MIT. Duflo has worked on a wide variety of (mostly) empirical microeconomic topics, including inequality and growth, intrahousehold resource allocation, health and education, and the role of banks. Countries she's focused on include India, Indonesia, and South Africa. She is also a director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab.

William Easterly, New York University. Easterly has gained prominence for writing about foreign aid and debt relief. He's also worked on the role of institutions and geography in development, the effects of inflation, and other issues.

Barry Eichengreen, UC Berkeley. Eichengreen has written mostly about exchange rates and currency crises. He has many of his policy papers, research papers, and editorials available from his website.

Ricardo Hausmann, Harvard University. Hausmann specializes in international finance, and has written extensively about international financial crises and macroeconomic issues in developing countries.

Michael Kremer, Harvard University. Kremer has worked mostly on the economics of health in developing countries, but he's also written about education, globalization, and a variety of other issues.

Ronald McKinnon, Stanford University. McKinnon is known for his work on financial policy in developing countries. He's also written on exchange rates and currency crises, institutions, and technological change.

Lant Pritchett, World Bank. Pritchett, who spent a significant share of his career at the World Bank, is especially known for his research on education in developing countries, but he has also written extensively on economic growth and poverty reduction.

Debraj Ray, New York University. Ray is the author of an excellent (but advanced) textbook in development economics and has written on such issues as inequality, ethnic conflict, and credit markets. Click on the "Development Economics" section of his page for a collection of many of his papers.

Dani Rodrik, Harvard University. Rodrik has written mostly about development policies, and has several critical pieces on globalization and foreign aid. Many of his academic papers and editorials are available here.

Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard University. Rogoff, who served as IMF chief economist in 2001-03, has written mostly about international financial institutions and foreign debt, exchange rates, and other international macroeconomic issues. His website is truly extensive—nearly everything that he's written seems to be available here in one way or the other.

Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University. Sachs was director of the United Nations Millennium Project between 2002 and 2006 and continues to serve as Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General. His recent writings have focused mostly on poverty reduction and debt relief. Many of his papers, as well as audio and video clips, are available from this website.

Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University. While not a development economist by training (he won a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001 for his contributions to the economics of information), in recent years Stiglitz has published widely on globalization and international financial issues, criticizing sharply the role of the IMF. A few of his recent writings are available here.

Chris Udry, Yale University. Udry works mostly on Africa (e.g., Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Côte d'Ivoire). He has written about saving behavior in rural areas, agricultural production and the theory of the household, and other microeconomic topics.

Many other interesting development economists don't have a website or don't post their writings on their website, so they are not listed above.

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Institutions

Several private, governmental, international, and academic organizations do work on economic development issues and maintain websites with information, data, and resources regarding developing countries. Here are some of the more interesting websites (in alphabetical order). Each link is followed by a short description provided by the institution itself (visit each website for more details).

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). "The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) serves as a focal point for development and poverty research based on randomized trials. The objective is to improve the effectiveness of poverty programs by providing policy makers with clear scientific results that help shape successful policies to combat poverty."

African Development Bank. "The African Development Bank is the premier financial development institution of Africa, dedicated to combating poverty and improving the lives of people of the continent and engaged in the task of mobilizing resources towards the economic and social progress of its Regional Member Countries."

Asian Development Bank. "ADB is a multilateral development finance institution dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific. Established in 1966, we are now owned by 64 members, mostly from the region."

Center for Global Development. "CGD is an independent, not-for-profit think tank that works to reduce global poverty and inequality by encouraging policy change in the U.S. and other rich countries through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community."

Center for International Development at Harvard University. "CID was established with one overriding conceptual notion: the need for cross-disciplinary approaches to the challenges of sustainable development. [...] CID exists to bridge the gaps between disciplines, pulling together Harvard's top minds as they, in collaboration with colleagues throughout the world, push forward the science of explaining the sources of and remedies for entrenched global poverty and the political and environmental circumstances that surround it."

Department for International Development. "The Department for International Development (DFID) is the part of the UK Government that manages Britain's aid to poor countries and works to get rid of extreme poverty."

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). "The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. [...] We help developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since our founding in 1945, we have focused special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world's poor and hungry people."

Grameen Bank. "GB provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh, without any collateral. At GB, credit is a cost effective weapon to fight poverty and it serves as a catalyst in the over all development of socio-economic conditions of the poor who have been kept outside the banking orbit on the ground that they are poor and hence not bankable." The Grameen Bank and its founder, Muhammad Yunus, were the recipients of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below."

Inter-American Development Bank. "A long-standing initiative of the Latin American countries, the Inter-American Development Bank was established in 1959 as a development institution with novel mandates and tools. [...] Today, the IDB is the oldest and largest regional development bank. It is the main source of multilateral financing for economic, social and institutional development projects as well as trade and regional integration programs in Latin America and the Caribbean."

International Food Policy Research Institute. "IFPRI's mission is to provide policy solutions that cut hunger and malnutrition. [...] IFPRI's mission entails a strong emphasis on research priorities and qualities that facilitate change."

International Monetary Fund. "The IMF is an organization of 184 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty."

Kiva. "Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence."

Overseas Development Institute. "ODI is Britain's leading independent think-tank on international development and humanitarian issues. Our mission is to inspire and inform policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty, the alleviation of suffering and the achievement of sustainable livelihoods in developing countries."

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). "The overriding goal of Swedish development cooperation is to contribute to making it possible for poor people to improve their living conditions. Sida works on behalf of Sweden's Parliament and Government to reduce poverty in the world."

United Nations Development Programme. "UNDP is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges."

U.S. Agency for International Development. "USAID is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. Our work supports long-term and equitable economic growth and advances U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting: (1) economic growth, agriculture and trade; (2) global health; and, (3) democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance."

World Bank. "The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the common sense. We are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 184 member countries [...] Each institution plays a different but supportive role in our mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. [...] Together we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes."

World Food Programme. "As the food aid arm of the UN, WFP uses its food to: (1) meet emergency needs; (2) support economic & social development. The Agency also provides the logistics support necessary to get food aid to the right people at the right time and in the right place."

World Health Organization. "The World Health Organization is the United Nations specialized agency for health. It was established on 7 April 1948. WHO's objective, as set out in its Constitution, is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health."

World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), part of the United Nations University system. "Through its research WIDER seeks to raise frontier issues and provide new and original insights and policy advice aimed at boosting the economic and social development of the poorest nations."

Hundreds of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), also known as PVOs (Private Voluntary Organizations), do work on economic development. They range from large multinational organizations that operate across the world (e.g., Oxfam) to tiny operations that work almost exclusively in a specific region of a specific country. Unfortunately, I know of no comprehensive on-line list of NGOs that work on development issues. USAID has a list of Private Voluntary Organizations. The list is extensive but incomplete.

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Blogs

Several blogs focus on economic development issues. Here are a few that I have found interesting:

Chris Blattman's Blog is subtitled "Economic Development, Political Change, and Conflict in the Developing World." Blattman is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Economics at Yale. His blog (and his work) focus on "local-level solutions to poverty, political development, and conflict."

Global Development: Views from the Center "is a group blog that features notes from Nancy Birdsall, her colleagues at the Center for Global Development and others in the development community about new ways to reduce global poverty."

The Private Sector Development Blog "gathers together news, resources and ideas about the role of private enterprise in fighting poverty." Its numerous authors are all members of The World Bank Group.

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson maintain the Why Nations Fail blog, named after their 2012 book. They address mostly issues related to the role of institutions in development.

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Other Websites

Following is a short list of other websites with interesting resources for students of economic development.

developmentdata.org is a useful website with an extensive list of links to datasets that are freely available on the internet. The site is maintained by Gunilla Peterson and organized by topic (aid, education, health, migration, governnance, etc.).

Economic Growth Resources is a website with resources about economic growth maintained by Jonathan Temple of the University of Bristol. Unfortunately, it hasn't been updated since 2006.

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