Building on Lost Foundations

Howard Stein

in Beyond the World Bank Agenda

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780226771670
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226771656 | DOI:
Building on Lost Foundations

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The World Bank agenda of the past two decades has projected a narrow economic doctrine onto a complex social and economic reality without regard to “time, place and culture,” with disastrous consequences. It is time to return to the foundations put in place by institutional economists such as Gunnar Myrdal that have been lost to a discipline that has broadened its application while narrowing its thinking. Building on the contribution of Myrdal, this chapter draws on a large body of theory from sociology, economics, management studies, and psychology to map out an institutional approach to development. It begins with a discussion of the bias inherent in the orthodoxy of Myrdal's era and today. It then investigates Myrdal's institutionalist view of development based largely on his Asian Drama. It examines the concept of institutions in the works of Myrdal and others, and explores the five dimensions of the institutional matrix along with the relation between institutional change and development.

Keywords: Gunnar Myrdal; economists; World Bank; institutional economics; development; institutional change; institutional matrix

Chapter.  13238 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Financial Markets

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