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In this lecture, adapted from his May 2012 Kapuściński Lecture, Owen Barder explores the implications of complexity theory for development policy. He explains how traditional economic models have tried and failed to understand why some countries have managed to improve living standards while other countries have not. Using complexity theory, he shows that development is a property of a system, not the sum of what happens to the people within it. Drawing on the understanding of complex adaptive systems in physics and biology, this suggests important policy implications for policymakers who want to bring about faster development in their own country, or to help other countries to make faster progress. The lecture finishes with seven policy recommendations for development.
If you prefer, you can download the audio of this presentation as a podcast, either from the Development Drums website or from Development Drums in iTunes. You can also view the slide show in PDF version here.