Development as freedom

Book: Development as Freedom Author: Amartya Sen This is a world of unprecedented opulence, which coexists with remarkable deprivations. Overcoming these deprivations is central to development. Sen argues that individual agency is key to addressing these deprivations, but it should be recognised that agency is constrained by social, political and economic opportunities. Sen argues for “integrated analysis of economic, political and social activities involving a variety of institutions and many interactive agencies”. In my opinion Amartya Sen offers the most sophisticated view of institutions and their relevance for development; Development as freedom is the culmination of many decades of his […]

Development as freedom: Amartya’s importance for ID

Institutional economics has been mainly concerned with institutions for economic growth. Will the same insights apply for economic development? Suppose an island is discovered amidst the pacific and a group of people decided to establish a country there. These people are from a variety of backgrounds, speak different languages and are of differing abilities. They decide that they want to achieve maximum possible development over the long run and consult an institutional economist for advice. They state clearly that growth is not the same as development and that they want to maximise development rather than economic growth. What advice will […]

What institutional economics has to say beyond growth

In order to theorise the roles of institutions in development, it is important to define development first. In this post, I argue that Amartya Sen’s “development as freedom” is the most suitable framework for theorising institutions & development. Amartya Sen has made a powerful argument for looking at development as a process of enhancing substantive freedoms (e.g. freedom from hunger, illiteracy, morbidity, etc.). This is best encapsulated in his book Development as freedom. Sen argues that freedoms have an intrinsic and instrumental importance and that human agency is the key to the pursuit of development. All three ideas have a […]

Suitability of Amartya’s framework for institutions & development