Development theory: convergence, catch-up or leapfrogging? A schumpeterian approach
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The present note offers three propositions for discussion. a) it argues that instead of the suggested convergence among nations which constitutes the title of this session, divergence is a more appropriate way to conceptualize development trajectories; and that this is especially true for the last three decades; b) it suggests that ―convergence‖ and ―catch-up‖ are rather loose ways (or concepts) to frame development narratives and, in fact, that they are more akin to the Rostovian idea of a linear path of development towards development equilibrium – equilibrium imposed on history – rather than to the framework of continuous, structural, cumulative change and creative destruction, which should be the proper domain for development theory; c) finally, a Schumpeterian approach, centered in the concept of leapfrogging trough innovation, is outlined as a more promising way to address both development theory and the historical trajectories observed since the industrial revolution in Britain.