rodrik195_Spencer PlattGetty Images_rustbelt Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Development Economics Goes North

When economists talk about global convergence, what they usually have in mind is that developing economies grow more rapidly than advanced economies, and the incomes of the world’s poor rise to levels in richer economies. The irony nowadays is that we are experiencing downward rather than upward convergence.

CAMBRIDGE – At the heart of development economics lies the idea of “productive dualism.” The economists who founded the field of development economics, such as the Nobel laureate Caribbean economist W. Arthur Lewis, noted that poor countries’ economies are split between a narrow “modern” sector that uses advanced technologies and a much larger “traditional” sector characterized by extremely low productivity.