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The political economy of development

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The approach focuses principally on economic linkages between developed and developing countries. It owes much to studies of Latin America and may be more difficult to apply to other parts of the third world where economic development is not necessarily seen as a primary objective of policy. Studies within the field have not generally succeeded at a global level. They have often been too deterministic to describe a world which is both complex and unpredictable. In any case it is more important to influence policy than to discuss the formation of historical structures. Dependency theory in particular has proved a poor guide to policy-makers. The New Right and public choice theory have been better tailored towards influencing policymakers, although this approach (like much dependency writing) divorces the content of public policy from the political system in which it is made. However, political economy of development studies have worked well at a lower level of abstraction and have contributed to a better understanding of public policy in some developing countries.

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