Evaluating Marxian contributions to development economics

Journal of Economic Methodology 14 (1):27-46 (2007)
This paper evaluates the contribution of Marxian approaches to the evolution of development economics and the reasons for their current state of impasse, and suggests some areas in which this work may still be capable of providing useful contributions. Development economics was one of the few economics sub?disciplines where Marxian approaches were considered to offer a key perspective and had a wider influence on more mainstream analysis. We explore how, during the 1970s and 1980s, Marxian analysis was published alongside other perspectives in development journals, producing theoretical and empirical work analysing the conditions under which capitalism in developing economies would continue to play a developmental role. We then consider the critical engagement with dependency theory that denied the possibility of independent capitalist development, as well as with more orthodox perspectives. The conclusion of leading proponents of Marxian development by the mid?1980s, that such work had reached an impasse with no clear evidence of either theoretical or empirical progress, is then assessed. JEL Classifications: B51, O10, P10.
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