Ravi Kanbur
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Why might history matter for development policy?

When economists analyze development policy, the first requirement is a description of the economy, of individuals, households, firms, farms and any other relevant entities, how they behave and how they interact. Having set up the 'non-policy' outcome the policy is introduced and the consequences are worked out given the model of the economy specified earlier. Clearly, history matters, and it matters in important and interesting ways for policy. History matters also to how a ruling elite perceives its objectives and its constraints. It should be clear that the way in which history matters is more than as a series of facts and events in the past related to the policy in question, say. Rather, what is equally if not more important is how and in what form these events of the past came to be embedded in the consciousness of the present generation.

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