Dudley Seers Lecture

Since 2008, the Dudley Seers Lecture has been an inherent part of the EADI General Conferences. Remembering one of the founding members and the first EADI president, this lecture is meant to allow a renowned speaker to formally set the tone for the debates at and around the conference.

At the 14th EADI General Conference François Bourguignon from the Paris School of Economics will talk about “50 Years of Development and Development Economics”. This lecture will be open to the general public and take place on 24 June 2014 at 8pm at Gustav-Stresemann-Institute.

Please RSVP by filling out the registration form: Registration Form for Dudley Seers Lecture. If you are a participant of the EADI General Conference, you will not have to tell us about your attendance.

50 Years of Development and Development Economics

If development is to be assessed on the basis of the capacity of developing countries to catch-up with advanced economies and to eradicate poverty, performances over the last decades seem limited. Some countries, in particular in Asia, and China in the first place, have had a resounding success. At the same time, living standards in Latin America stayed more or less constant relatively to the world mean, whereas the gap between a number of sub-Saharan countries and developed and emerging countries has been rising. Over the last 50 years, GDP per capita has been multiplied by more than 10 in East Asia and 4 in South Asia, but only by 2 in Latin America and 1.5 in Africa. As a proportion of the world population, poverty has gone down. But, in absolute numbers, it is only during the last few years that it started to fall. In both cases, moreover,  the progress is very much due to the exceptional performances of China. Today, 1.2 billion people still try to survive with less than 1.25 $ a day (at the 2005 prices of developed countries).

Undoubtedly, the quest for some kind of universal recipe for economic development has failed. Only a few countries have registered satisfactory results as of today. Yet, this does not mean that development economics did not learn from the actual experience of developing and emerging countries over the last decades. In effect, the way in which economists, practitioners and policy makers approach development issues has very much changed during that period at the same time as actual development experiences were unfolding in quite different ways in various parts of the world.

This lecture intends to review this joint evolution of development facts, development thinking and development policies over the last 50 years or so, and to reflect on the nature of knowledge accumulation in this particular area of social sciences.