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Development Policy and Planning

The 1980s was a decade in which many developing countries adopted significant changes in economic policy, with a reorientation towards a market-based approach to development policy in which the private sector plays a major role. This contrasts sharply with the earlier post-independence period, when development planning was widely adopted throughout the Third World. So where does development planning now stand as part of development policy management? This book has arisen out of the authors’ conviction that the techniques and models of development planning are as relevant to policy makers who are now involved in ‘development policy management’ as they were to those pursuing ‘development planning’ in an earlier period. Although economic controls have given way to market forces as the main vehicle of development, governments must continue to exercise a degree of economic management and direction which will accelerate the growth process beyond what might be achieved by market forces alone.

Development planning fulfils several functions. By providing an analytical framework of the economy’s structure, it allows the policy maker to evaluate the prospects for, and constraints upon, economic growth and structural change. By assembling a consistent and integrated set of relationships for the whole economy, it enables the policy maker to identify the direct and indirect effects of particular policy changes.

The various techniques available to policy makers are described in this book, and their application to particular policy areas is discussed. The techniques of development planning have evolved through time and, as a result, there is now a much wider range of procedures available for policy analysis. Models can more easily be designed to match the constraints and objectives of individual economies, rather than using a standard framework. Also, the development of techniques for simulating market outcomes means that policy analysis can shift away from the setting of targets to the comparison of instruments and programmes. Development planning therefore provides a useful set of analytical techniques for economic decision making and policy formulation, which continue to be widely used in developing countries.

Much of the published material on development planning methods is written at a relatively advanced level, and is often presented in mathematical terms. The authors’ objective is to make these techniques more accessible to students of development economics, and to persons involved in economic policy formulation. It is based on the authors’ experience in teaching introductory and intermediate level courses in development planning and policy to students studying the problems of Third World countries, many of whom have been involved in economic policy formulation and implementation in their own countries on completion of their studies.

The book originated in a course which the authors taught jointly at the National University of Singapore in the late 1980s. Subsequently, the material has been presented to successive cohorts of students at the University of Bradford and the University of New England, Armidale.

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