Development and geography:

current debates in historical perspective


In: Jomo, Kwame Sundaram, and Fine, Ben, eds, The New Development Economics: a critical introduction. New Delhi: Tulika Books; London: Zed Press. 2005. pp. 10-30.



A ‘geographical turn’ has now been under way in mainstream economics for more than a decade, yet it has still not led to any substantial co-operation with geographers. The field of development economics provides particularly suitable terrain on which to survey the inter-disciplinary frictions which account for this situation. Accordingly, the different paths followed by these disciplines and sub-disciplines are here traced, followed by an outline of the ‘geographical turn’ in the development economics of Paul Krugman and Jeff Sachs. A comparison of these two contrasting geographical initiatives also provides the opportunity to address some wider issues regarding the current situation of economics, both internally and in its relations with its neighbouring disciplines. In conclusion, it is argued that to advance beyond the current situation of inter-disciplinary stand-off and forge a more inclusive and constructive approach to the geography of development, it is necessary to centralize the fundamental issues of the political economy and historical legacy of colonialism.




1          Economic geography and development economics

2          Development issues in Paul Krugman’s ‘new economic geography’

3          The geographical turn in the development economics of Jeff Sachs

4          Development, geography, and institutions

5          Development, geography, and economic theory

6          Economic geography and the legacy of colonialism


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