Parallel session
History and future of development economics

This session explores the history of development economics (including the role of UNU-WIDER) and looks to the future: new policy issues, as well as new tools and techniques.

Throughout its history, development economics has paid close attention to policy issues – as the overarching goal is to help countries craft development policies that lift people out of poverty. The nature of the policy issues has broadened over time: in the early days the focus was on raising economic growth, via structural transformation.

Later there was a more direct focus on human development and poverty reduction via targeting services and social protection, as well as more attention to environmental sustainability. State effectiveness became a key concern as well. Development economics has also undergone some fundamental changes as a discipline, with much more collection and use of data, especially in micro-economic analysis and impact evaluation.

This session explores the history of development economics (including the role of UNU-WIDER) and looks to the future: new policy issues, as well as new tools and techniques.


Session videos

Parallel 6.4 | History and future of development economics

Erik Thorbecke | Tony Addison | Kunal Sen | Q&A 

José Antonio Ocampo | Chair

José Antonio Ocampo is a Professor and Director at the Economic and Political Development Program at the School of International and Public Affairs, and Fellow of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. He has occupied numerous positions within the UN. Professor Ocampo was awarded the 2008 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought, and the 1988 Alejandro Angel Escobar National Science Award of Colombia.

Erik Thorbecke | Presenter | Presentation

Erik Thorbecke is the H.E. Babcock Professor of Economics and Food Economics Emeritus and former Director of the Program on Comparative Economic Development at Cornell University. The Foster-Greer-Thorbecke poverty measure (Econometrica, 1984) has been adopted as the standard poverty measure by the World Bank and practically all UN agencies and is used almost universally by researchers doing empirical work on poverty. Professor Thorbecke is the author or co-author of about 50 books and 200 articles.

Tony AddisonTony Addison | Presenter | Presentation

Tony Addison is Chief Economist and Deputy Director of UNU-WIDER. He was previously Professor of Development Studies, University of Manchester, Executive Director of the Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI), University of Manchester (from 2006-2009) and Associate Director of the Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC). Tony's research focuses on development economics, aid effectiveness and more recently on extractive industries. 

Kunal Sen | Presenter | Presentation

Kunal Sen, the UNU-WIDER Director Designate, is Professor of Development Economics at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, and Joint Research Director for the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre. Professor Sen has substantial experience directing and managing global research consortia, and has served in advisory roles with national governments and bilateral and multilateral development agencies, including the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

See more