Chapter 1: Introduction to development in China, India, and Japan
Development economics examines the economics of the developing world, or countries with low and middle levels of income. The gap between the developing and developed world is large in terms of both levels of income and various measures of living standards. The concept of development has evolved over time, from one of measuring gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, to one that takes into account a variety of other measures, such as health and education, and institutions. Societies choose development trajectories based upon political conditions, availability of natural resources, characteristics of the population, geography, and other factors. The outcomes of development policies in different contexts vary wildly, and countries that follow the same policies do not necessarily end up at the same level of development. For example, structural adjustment programs implemented in developing countries to encourage privatization, trade and financial liberalization, and deregulation often resulted not in economic development, but in various stages of economic degradation, including crisis.