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Why are poor countries poor and rich countries rich? How are wealth and poverty related to changes in nutrition, health, life expectancy, education, population growth and politics? This modern, non-technical introduction to development studies explores the dynamics of socio-economic development and stagnation in developing countries. Taking a quantitative and comparative approach to contemporary debates within their broader context, Szirmai examines historical, institutional, demographic, sociological, political and cultural factors. Key chapters focus on economic growth, technological change, industrialisation, agricultural development, and consider social dimensions such as population growth, health and education. Each chapter contains comparative statistics on trends from a sample of twenty-nine developing countries. This rich statistical database allows students to strengthen their understanding of comparative development experiences. Assuming no prior knowledge of economics the book is suited for use in inter-disciplinary development studies programmes as well as economics courses, and will also interest practitioners pursuing careers in developing countries. A multidisciplinary approach drawing on a wide range of disciplines including economics, history, sociology, anthropology, demography and political science. Easily accessible for students with no prior knowledge of the field; it also exposes more advanced students to the latest state of ongoing theoretical and empirical debates on developmen. Rich statistical analysis of data from twenty-nine developing countries includes 75 tables with comparative time series on development indicators.

1. Developing countries and the concept of development

2. Development of the international economic order, 1450–2000

3. Growth and stagnation: theories and experiences

4. Technology and development

5. Population and development

6. Health, health care and development

7. Education and development

8. Economic development, structural transformation and primary exports

9. Industrial development;

10. Agricultural development and rural development

11. State formation and political aspects of development

12. Cultural dimensions of development

13. The international economic and political order since 1945

14. Foreign aid and development.