Arnold Kling  

Growth and Development of Growth and Development

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E. Han Kim, Adair Morse, and Luigi Zingales write,


Micro and macro have a relatively prominent presence during the 1970s and the 1980s (18% and 17%, respectively), but both experience a sharp decline in the 1990s (only 9% for each). In contrast, growth/development, which makes the list only once during the 1970-1984 period, explodes in the subsequent three half-decades
with shares of 14%, 20%, and 17% for these periods.

This is empirical support for the thesis of a new book I am working on, which argues that new findings in economic growth and development are under-represented in the economic literature aimed at students and intelligent laymen. Economic journalists are particularly behind the times.


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COMMENTS (2 to date)
liberty writes:

How about textbooks, in particular? The macro textbook I used for my intermediate class at a state university (Mankiw) taught us Solow growth theory and no endogenous growth theory, for example. It taught us many theories which have seen been pretty well debunked. It left me wondering whether macro has made any strides at all as a discipline.

Certainly it is important to learn what the field has accomplished over many decades - one should not only learn the most recent models. However, a discipline such as biochemistry (and even biology 101) make sure to try to keep somewhat up-to-date. You don't learn that the human genome is probably only 2 million base pairs long, if we now know that its 250 million... or that the atom is indivisible simply because we used to think it was.

Much of the macro textbook taught us models created pre-1970s and it did not introduce any of the new theories and models that have come to replace them in the current literature.

RogerM writes:

This is great news! I had pretty much given up on economics as a practical field of knowledge when I took my only class in growth economics. That class convinced me that the field offered something practical. Over the years, I've noticed that development econ is less bound to obscure theory and more willing to look at what works and what doesn't. Development econ led the way in integrating culture/institutions with econ theory because it didn't have the burden of political correctness that kept macro in the dark.

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