Chapter 1 text-09

Chapter 1 text-09 - de Janvry, Roland-Holst, and Sadoulet...

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Unformatted text preview: de Janvry, Roland-Holst, and Sadoulet EEP151/Econ171-2008 1 8/26/09 Chapter 1 What is development? Issues and indicators Seven dimensions of development Development is multidimensional and defining it is an ideological statement . Few would disagree with the statement that development is preferable to underdevelopment. At the same time, these is considerable disagreement as to what we mean by development. It is one thing for some, and another for others. We may for example like strong states that are the guardians of basic needs in health, education, and housing. This would apply to most of Europe, Canada, and Cuba. Others may prefer high income growth with little poverty, but leaving it to individuals to struggle for access to health, education, and social infrastructure. This would be countries like the United States and Brazil. Yet other societies place strong emphasis on equity and on maintaining inequalities within restricted bounds. This would be the case of the Nordic countries that tax heavily high incomes to level inequalities through transfers. So, we start with a paradox. We agree on the desirability of a state of affairs – development – but we have a hard time to agree in defining it. This is because development is multidimensional. While there may be situations where we achieve gains in all these dimensions of development over time, inmost situations there will be tradeoffs, implying the need to determine social priorities. The dimensions of development and their relative importance are in the end a social and a personal choice, i.e., an ideological statement. So, when talking about development and emitting judgments about it, it is important to be clear as to what we mean. A good starting point to look for dimensions of development on which there is broad agreement is the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), a set of objectives defined by the United Nations in 2000 to be met in 2015, and formally endorsed by all 191 United Nations member states. The MDG are given in Box 1. The goals and the associated indicators enable to compare the state of development across countries and give yardsticks to monitor progress. While they inevitably simplify the reality of development to just a few dimensions, and may bias the priorities of governments and development agencies that want to achieve recognizable measures of progress according Take home messages for chapter 1 1. Development is multidimensional. Hence, there is not one single definition that everybody can agree upon. Any development diagnostic (positive analysis) and development program (normative analysis) must clearly specify the definition of development that is being used, and this is an ideological choice....
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This note was uploaded on 09/24/2009 for the course ECON 171 taught by Professor De janvry during the Fall '07 term at Berkeley.

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Chapter 1 text-09 - de Janvry, Roland-Holst, and Sadoulet...

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