» Archive for: May, 2013

Post Fieldwork Seminar – Djalita Fialho
Friday, May 31 – 2 PM – Room 4.39
Thesis on Differentiation/Categorization in the special treatment of developing countries

Case study: Cape Verde
Fieldwork undertaken in different stages between May of 2011 and May of 2013, employing multi-sited approach.

Differentiation/Categorisation in the special treatment of developing countries The example of the LDC category The case of Cape Verde In December of 2007, Cape Verde became the second country to graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) status; 32 years after its independence from Portugal and 30 years after having been admitted into the category. This case study chapter (presenting the main findings of fieldwork undertaken between May of 2011 and May of 2013, employing a multi- sited research approach) addresses the question of how was Cape Verde’s LDC graduation negotiation process characterised, and how different was it from the process that led to its LDC admission, in 1977. The methodology applied consisted of triangulation of semi-structured interviews, document analysis and descriptive statistics to zoom into Cape Verde’s LDC experience. More specifically, the chapter deals with the country as an LDC case study by exposing the sequence of events and identifying main actors and other determinant factors. It also triangulates different perspectives by comparing the LDC admission and graduation processes, as well as internal and external perceptions on the country’s LDC graduation. Main preliminary findings indicate that the main differences between Cape Verde’s LDC admission and graduation processes were as follows: (i) graduation demanded a negotiation process while admission did not; (ii) both were not framed1; (iii) admission was proactive, while graduation was a predominantly reactive process; (iv) developed countries supported both while UN bureaucratic forces supported admission but not graduation, at least not initially. Additionally, the Capeverdean LDC graduation case did generate positive changes within the entire LDC structure, by making graduation dependent on a newly-negotiated transition framework to be replicated to all future graduation cases. While the institutionalization of this new policy instrument is intended to guarantee the irreversibility of graduation, the new transition framework ends up playing double duty by: (i) providing a platform that stimulates reluctant LDCs to graduate and, at the same time, (ii) revamping the mandate of related bureaucratic structures, considering the additional work it entails. In practical terms, it creates a new category of “LDCs in transition”, which justifies the continued existence of the LDC bureaucratic apparatus, favours the status quo and legitimises certain Western-inspired preferential treatment/interventions. 1 In this context, framing essentially means prior planning and preparation.


For more details: http://www.iss.nl/news_events/upcoming_events/events_detail/article/49675-differentiationcategorisation-in-the-special-treatment-of-developing-countries/


wotro nwo

PhD researcher Anagew Mebratie got a double listing in WOTRO’s latest news flash with articles in the Journal of International Trade & Economic Development. One article with Arjun Bedi on FDI and Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa and a meta-analysis of FDI spillovers with Peter van Bergeijk.

You can find the WOTRO newsflash here

The articles are based on Anagew’s MA thesis written at ISS/ECD


 What is the problem with neoclassical price theory? 

The article seeks to focus attention on Neoclassical price theory, as one of the two problematic foundations of modern mainstream economics—the other being the theory of distribution. After outlining what is understood to be Neoclassical price theory and noting the various criticisms which it has been subject to from both within and without the school, the article proceeds to argue that its major flaws need to be understood as stemming from how it conceives of the formation of prices in the first instance. Specifically, the article argues that the basic problem with the Neoclassical theory of price is that it abstracts from both production and money in the first instance, such that when these are eventually brought back into the explanation of price it is done so in an inessential manner; one where production and money have no bearing on the findings of the analysis of price which excluded them.

Get the article here


This paper is one of a series of papers in a research project, The Power of Numbers: A Critical Review of MDG Targets for Human Development and Human Rights (the “Project”)1. Motivated by a concern with the consequences of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) beyond the achievement of the 2015 targets, the Project seeks to explore their broader policy and programmatic implications. It focuses particularly on the reductionism inherent in the way in which these global goals were set and came to be used, as well as the potential for distorting priorities and marginalizing, or even displacing, important human development and human rights concerns inherent in such global goal-setting exercises. A total of 11 studies are included, each analyzing the normative and empirical consequences of a particular MDG goal/target, and considering what other targets and indicators might have been more appropriate. The Project aims to identify criteria for selecting indicators for setting targets that would be more consistent with Human Development and Human Rights priorities, amenable to monitoring impacts on inequality, accountability and consistency with human rights standards.

Although this paper is currently accessible as a free standing working paper, it should be read in conjunction with the synthesis and background papers of the Power of Numbers Project. These papers provide necessary information about the scope of the Power of Numbers Project, the historical framing of international agreements leading up to the MDGs, and the human rights and human development frameworks referenced in the paper. These working papers are expected to be compiled as a special issue of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

The inclusion of Full Employment in MDG1, What lessons for a Post-2015 Development Agenda? Available here

Peter van Bergeijk launched his new book EarthEconomics at the ISS Spring Book Launch: “The book takes stock of my introductory courses in short term fluctuations and long term growth and  argues that the closed economy concept used at the start of introductory courses can and should be used to discuss our planet’s economy. The book illustrates how observations at the level of planet Earth can be used while teaching relationships that are studied in a closed economy setting.”


See also: www.eartheconomics.info and Elgarblog

International Institute of Social Studies

Economics of Development (ECD) is a Major in the MA in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the ECD teaching team.