Mechanism and Context: On Economic Recipes - A talk by Anush Kapadia

The talk will reframe the question of economic growth and transformation by thinking with and against Dani Rodrik's One Economics, Many Recipes. Drawing on the work of the late Alice Amsden, the central argument is that the “universal principles” Rodrik claims for neoclassical economics are in fact specific solutions to generic problems of control and coordination. These problems operate at a somewhat higher level of abstraction than Rodrik's “universal principles” because their solutions are institutionally agnostic: they can, in principle, be solved by varied configurations of state/market space.The key is to view both states and markets as different kinds of control and coordination mechanisms. Once that is achieved, the question of growth becomes one of functional fit between mechanism and context. It concludes that the key element of this fit is the structure of state borrowing (mechanism) that is predicated on a particular political settlement (context).

Anush Kapadia is a Lecturer on Social Studies at Harvard University. After an A.B. in Political Science from Amherst College and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University his dissertation research looked at the evolving political economy of financial market construction in post-reform India. Most recently, he was a Postdoctoral Research Scholar with the Committee on Global Thought (CGT) at Columbia, where he continues to do work on comparative financial systems, expanding his research to the postwar American financial system.

The Fall '12 International Development Group (IDG) Lecture Series part of the Advanced Doctoral Seminar on Development Theory sponsored by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.