National and Regional Patterns of Convergence and Divergence
Edited by John Adams and Francesco Pigliaru
Chapter 3: Society, Politics, and Economic Development thirty years after
Page 71 3. Society, Politics, and Economic Development thirty years after Irma Adelman1 In his seminal paper on time series analysis, the well known Swedish statistician, Herman Wold, proposed the hypothesis that all dynamic processes are composed of two fundamental elements: continuity and innovation. The present chapter examines how these two elements are reflected in the analysis of interactions among processes of economic and institutional change in the development of developing countries since the 1960s. Specifically, I apply the same methodology as used by Cynthia Taft Morris and myself in our 1967 book Society, Politics, and Economic Development2 to data updated to describe the economic, social and political institutions and economic performance during the 1990s. Now, as before, the focus of the analysis is on intercountry differences in rates of growth of per capita GNP. Growth rates per se are not good indicators of development in the broad sense. The term ‘development’ is used in Kuznets’s sense3—sustained economic growth accompanied by structural change in the economy and by a wider diffusion of the economic and social benefits of growth. The results for the 1990s indicate the distinctions between the two concepts rather clearly, in that we find that, in the short run, growth and development do not necessarily coincide and that countries at similar initial levels of development must generally choose which achievements they will stress. 3.1 THE DATA The sample of countries included in the present analysis started with the list of 74 noncommunist developing countries that...
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