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Some Core Assumptions in Development Economics

Bates, Robert H. (1981) Some Core Assumptions in Development Economics. Social Science Working Paper, 399. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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The paper discusses development economics. The paper critiques it. It concludes by indicating those portions that are "salvageable" for positive analysis. Development economics is concerned with the efficient allocation of resources in poor societies. It is distinctive in its stress on the temporal property of economies and in its concern with the making of efficient allocations over time. Within "conventional" economics, it is also distinguished by the stress it places on the role of the public sector. As a social science, development economics makes several core assumptions, each of which is seriously flawed. 1. That inefficiency implies irrationality. 2. That the notion of the social welfare is a meaningful concept; that it can provide a guide to public policy; that it can be measured in economic terms; and that it is embodied in the choices of governments. 3. That rational people will make choices that lead to efficient outcomes and that these outcomes will be stable. What should be retained for positive analysis is the assumption of rationality in choice and the method of equilibrium analysis. The paper concludes by illustrating the importance of these tools for research in anthropology.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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Additional Information:Revised. Original dated to August 1981. Paper Presented to Inaugural Conference of the Society of Economic Anthropology. Published as Bates, Robert H. "Some Core Assumptions in Development Economics," in Economic Anthropology: Topics and Theories, Monographs in Economic Anthropology, No. 1, edited by Sutti Ortiz. New York: University Press of America, 1983, pp. 361-398.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:399
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171004-161200379
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82094
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:04 Oct 2017 23:59
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:50

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