This article explores Dudley Seers’s efforts to reform international development during the 1960s and 1970s. In particular, it emphasizes Seers’s criticisms of conventional economic metrics, such as Gross National Product (GNP), and his efforts to find alternative ways to measure and define developmental success. The article shows how Seers’s research on measurement contributed to a growing set of reforms that shifted developmental goals away from national economic growth toward achieving a more equitable distribution of wealth, more meaningful and stable employment, and the provision of basic needs. In addition, the article reveals how Seers’s work with the Institute for Development Studies reshaped the production of development knowledge. At the institute, Seers cultivated a multidisciplinary approach to development studies that linked economic, sociological, historical, and anthropological analysis and favored context-specific empirical research over schematic growth theories.
Dudley Seers, the Institute for Development Studies, and the Fracturing of International Development Thought in the 1960s and 1970s
Stephen Macekura; Dudley Seers, the Institute for Development Studies, and the Fracturing of International Development Thought in the 1960s and 1970s. History of Political Economy 1 February 2020; 52 (1): 47–75. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-8009499
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