Book Reviews

Development Economics by Debraj Ray – Review

February 7, 2019 — by Amit Mishra


Book Reviews

Development Economics by Debraj Ray – Review

February 7, 2019 — by Amit Mishra

The term Development is not so old. It has just come into limelight after the second world war. When countries become more conscious about sustainability, the term development occurred. That may misguide us with another term Growth but they are two different things. Growth is all about the increase in per capita income whereas development reflects growth plus some structural changes. So, there are many books on this topic. For the academic needs, students often have to rely on the names their teachers offer or their syllabuses bring to light. Today, for Indian students of Economics, I am taking a book of development economics and I will try to present before you what the author has done here. So, the book is “Development Economics” by Debraj Ray.

About the Book:
One of my econometrics teachers recommended me this book. So. one thing is clear from this that the book is not going to deal with theories only. It will also touch proper empirical shreds of evidence. The book by Debraj Ray is an academic book, no doubt, but he maintained the harmony between academic language and non-academic language. Readers who are not coming from an economics background can also take a look at the book and into the content and can get informed a lot about development and its context in terms of economic perspectives. It is obvious that already the subject is full of classical theories. However, he has not discussed these theories with a pedantic outlook. He has rather treated them well and told the readers what you can expect from that.

Technically, the book is more focused on the issues of low income and middle-income group countries. It reflects the problems, their causes and what will be the consequences of these in the near and distant future. The book is loaded with statistical tests and empirical evidence. So, it should be noted that the author (and a scholar) has not tried to confuse the readers with classic dilemmas created by the theorists. It tries to figure out the root cause of their backwardness and why development is taking place so rapidly in these areas. It suggests and exerts that development is not a process that is dependent on a single factor. He successfully finds himself in a position to clarify that it is supported by multiple factors like the condition of Human and Physical capital, reducing the inequalities and making fresh avenues for a market that can lure the investment.

So, as per my reading and also the suggestions of my professors and many students I have talked to (who have read this book), the book, Development Economics by Debraj Ray is an ideal textbook for the students who want to understand development economics. The content is classified in a friendly format and also presented to the readers in a way that makes it further easier to be comprehended. Usually, the books of this kind tend to become confusing and intellectual than being friendly and simple. Debraj Ray has saved his book from going that way!

The book is an essential read for graduation and postgraduate students in Economics. Debraj Ray is a Harvard Economist who has done a magnificent job in his book to come out with several problems of UDCs and tries to figure it out how they can be overcome. The Nobel Laureate Prof. Amartya Sen said about this book, “An elegant, insightful and extremely effective textbook… combines astute theoretical reasoning with a firm grip on empirical circumstances, including institutional possibilities and limitations.” So, I will suggest this book once again! You can get a copy of this book from Amazon India:

Get the book – click here to buy

review by Amit Mishra

Amit Mishra

Amit Mishra is an economist by education; a literature enthusiast by interest; a sportsperson by physique; a kind and straightforward person by nature and a human being by default. You can read his posts on various topics on this personal website of him.


  • Vicky

    February 12, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    It’s a really nice and honest review. Ray’s book sharply focused on the issue in underdeveloped countries. Moreover, a practical approach to understanding the process of development.


  • Supriya

    February 19, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Development Economics is such a complex subject that needs a bunch of good books to study it well. And surely Debraj Ray is a name that comes in the mind of every student.


  • Neha Sharma

    March 4, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    you have given a detailed analysis of the book. I am a student of economics and I will surely get this book. Currently, I am reading M.L.Jhingan and when I will finish this I really want to read it.


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