Growth and Development in Economics and Econ. History : LUSENET : Economic History (and Related Observations) : One Thread

Dear Professor De Long, compliments on your web site. I am relatively knew to economic history, but it appears that the issue of rates of development--in other words, why some countries are rich and others poor--occupies a fairly central place in the discipline, while economics--at least as practiced in the U.S.--is far more concerned with issues of employment, money and growth. Is that a fair commentary? Do you think it says much about the two disciplines?

Joao T. da Costa Sao Paulo, Brazil

-- Joao T. da Costa (, August 17, 1999


It is a fair question. I think that the real answer is that economists in the first two generations after World War II thought that they knew much more about employment, money, and growth than about rates of development. And they focused their attention on questions that they thought they could answer.

Brad DeLong


-- Brad DeLong (, April 08, 2000.

Perhaps it is that economic historians believe that they know more than they in fact do about economic growth and development? If there is one lesson since World War II, it is that the more the state tries to do, the less successful it is.

-- Neoliberal (, April 08, 2000.

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