The Nature of Economic Growth

The Nature of Economic Growth

An Alternative Framework for Understanding the Performance of Nations

A. P. Thirlwall

This concise book, by one of the leading scholars in development economics, has been developed from a series of lectures given to masters students and will serve as an excellent introduction to the principles of growth and development theory.


A. P. Thirlwall

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, post-keynesian economics


This short book has arisen out of a series of lectures and seminars that I gave at the National University of Mexico in September 2000. They, in turn, were based on a selection of lectures I have been giving for a long time at the University of Kent to students studying for a Master’s degree in development economics. The fact that the lectures were given to graduate students, however, does not mean that the book will not be intelligible to others, including undergraduates and practitioners in the development field. First of all, the basic principles of growth and development theory are not that difficult to grasp by anyone with a willingness and interest to learn, and secondly, following the dictum of Alfred Marshall (the great 19th-century Cambridge economist), I have tried to translate theoretical models expressed in mathematics into words. The matter of why some countries are rich and others are poor, and why some countries grow faster than others over long periods of time (although not necessarily continuously), has always fascinated me as an economist, and in the chapters to follow I try to present the conventional wisdom, as it has evolved historically, but with a critical eye, from Adam Smith, the author of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of vii Thirlwall 01 pre rprnt vii 28/6/07 15:02:10 viii The nature of economic growth the Wealth of Nations (1776) to ‘new’ or endogenous growth theory. I am critical of the latter, and its predecessor, neoclassical...

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