Recorded video of MPA 502 – Development Administration – Introduction, evolution, concept of development and underdevelopment

It is our great pleasure to announce that the live session of MPA 502 – Development Administration I – Introduction, evolution of development, Concept of development, Development and Underdevelopment has been successfully conducted by Ms. Salina Lamichhane. The recorded video of that session is available in the class page. Also the slides are available for download.

You can also access the video by clicking the following link. It is recommended that students login to their class through their cdpa account to access all class materials.

MPA 502 -MPA 502 – Development Administration I – Introduction, evolution of development, Concept of development, Development and Underdevelopment

Please find the main ideas in the class below

Introduction to Development Management

General Background Development

  • Observed in Natural sciences as well as social sciences
  • It was used by Aristotle to explain the nature of all things that develop, and Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution of species
  • In the field of social sciences, the concept of development emerged during the 1950s and 1960s following the end of the World War II

Idea of development

  • The idea of ‘development’ emerged in the second half of the twentieth century
  • Traditionally been interpreted as ‘economic growth’ which is measured by per capita income and average annual growth in national income
  • This ‘growth-based’ approach was premised on the idea that growth of the economy would benefit the whole society,
  • The ‘economic concept’ of development did not necessarily trickle down to the poor as the inequality gap between the poor and the rich widened

1970: economics to quality of life

  • Economic concept of development does not define the true meaning of development
  • In 1970s, the focus of development shifted from economic growth and Gross Domestic Product to “Basic Need”
  • New idea was characterized by relatively less concern with economic indicators, but emphasized the quality of human life and conservation of natural environment.
  • Stimulated the creation of “United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index” (health, education &GDP)
  • Also concerned with – “redistribution with growth”
  • This concept of development became popular after the Cocoyoc Declaration in Mexico (A call for reform of the international economic order)

The Cocoyoc Declaration

“Our first concern is to redefine the whole purpose of development.
This should not be to develop things but to develop man.
Man has basic needs – food, shelter, clothing, health and education.
Any process of growth that does not lead to their fulfillment or even worse, – disrupts them is a travesty of the idea of development”.


  • The 1980s was characterized by a dramatic turn in the development focus.
  • The debt crisis of the 1980s displaced the center of gravity in development thinking from the United Nations’ organs such as the UN Research Institute for Social Development and the UN Conference on Trade and Development, to the Bretton Woods Institutions (World Bank, IMF).

Structural adjustment

  • The concept of development during this period focused on ‘structural adjustment’,
  • “Structural adjustment was seen as correcting the errors of earlier, government-centered development policies”
  • Dissatisfaction with the structural adjustment approach (researchers and organizations)
  • Varied with basic need concept of development


  • Market oriented reform led to inequality and hardship for the poor even as economic efficiency improved.
  • The UNDP’s World Development Report 1990, offered a different interpretation to the concept of development following global agitations for better indicators of development.
  • Focusing on the general well-being of people, the UNDP (1990) defines development as a process of enlarging peoples’ choices, and these choices are available to individuals who could lead long and healthy lives, acquire knowledge and have access to resources needed for a decent living.


  • In 2000, development was globally viewed as multidimensional i.e. the shift in discourse from economic conceptualization to human development indices
  • The introduction of gender empowerment measure, protection of the natural environment and the eradication of poverty dominated international debate on development
  • This period also witnessed a global commitment to improve the quality of life of people through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which has become a development indicator in many countries

Linear to multidimensional

  • Discussions on development reveal that the concept was uni-dimensionally viewed in the 1950s and 1960s focusing on economic growth but later on it is viewed as multidimensional when other variables other than economic growth were considered.
  • Linear nature à Multi-dimensional nature.

Development in Nepal

  • Slow pace
  • Daniel Wright (1877) view is still relevant in many cases
  • Narrow streets, poor management of solid wastes and control over most of the resources by elites.
  • Why these problems still persists after more than a century?

MPA 502 Development Management- I : Unit 1

  • Concept and Nature of Development
  • Dimensions of Development
  • Philosophy of development
  • Growth with redistributive justice
  • Emergence and overview of Development Administration and
  • Concept of Development Management

Concept of development

  • Development means positive change of the society.
  • It is a complex phenomenon
  • Development, modernization and modernity all are interrelated concepts
  • They are mainly used in reference to bringing about transformation be it social, political or administrative.

Definitions by Different scholars

  • “Nobody really knows the word development really stands for any more. Economists identify with economic productivity, sociologist with social change or social differentiation, political scientists with democratization, political capacity of expanded government, administrators with bureaucratization optimum efficiency, performance or to assume all burdens” – GE Caiden
  • “Development is multi-dimensional process involving change in structure, attitude and institution as well as acceleration of economic  growth, the reduction of inequality, and eradication of absolute poverty” – MP Todaro
  • “Development is the process of growth in the direction of modernity and particularly in the direction of nation- building and socio-economic progress” – EW Weidner, (1970).
  • Development is the process of increasing autonomy (discretion) of the social system made possible by rising levels of diffraction. He views discretion as the ability to choose among alternatives, while, diffraction as the extent of differentiation and integration in a social system. – F.W.Riggs
  • Development as an aspect of change that is desirable, broadly predicted or planned or at least influenced by governmental action. – John Motogomery


  • Traditionally, development means
    • Economic progress,
    • Increase of per capita income
  • Nowadays, the concept is not limited to these but it is associated with
    • modernization,
    • social change,
    • social justice,
    • freedom,
    • participation,
    • adoption of new technology,
    • protecting civil rights,
    • better health and education,
    • facilitating clean environment,
    • creating opportunities for citizens of a particular country.

Desirable outcome of development

  • An economic component dealing with the creation of wealth and improved conditions of material life, equitably distributed.
  • A social ingredient measuring well being in health, education, housing and employment.
  • A political dimension as including such values as human rights, political freedom.
  • Contd..
  • A cultural dimension in recognition of the   cultural identity and self worth to people.
  • Commitment to ecologically sound and sustainable development so that the present generation does not undermine the position of future generations.

Criteria used to measure development

  • In ancient times
    • fund of valuable metals
  • In modern times
    • Increase in per capita income criteria
    • Increase in national income criteria
    • Physical quality of life index (PQLI)
    • Basic need criteria
    • Human Development Indexes (HDI)

Indexes of development

The World Development Report looks at several indexes of development based on quality of life

  • Better education
  • Higher standard of health and nutrition
  • Less poverty
  • A cleaner environment
  • More equality of opportunity
  • Greater individual freedom
  • Richer cultural life


  • As development and modernization are interrelated concepts, various scholars define modernization differently;
  • According to Rostow and Ward, modernization involves a marked increase in
    • Geographic and social mobility,
    • Spread of secular, scientific and technical education,
    • Transition from ascribed to achieved status,
    • Increase in material standards of living and many related and subsidiary phenomena


  • Daniel Lerner defines the concept of ‘modernization’ as a systematic process involving complementary changes in the “demographic, economic, political, communication and cultural sectors of a society” . He equates modernization with westernization.
  • Similarly, according to Harrison, ‘Modernization’ is the result of a process of ‘westernization’ involving economic, political, social and cultural changes which contrast with a previous traditional stability.

Copy benefits of modernization

  • The new states of Asia, Africa and Latin America today do aspire to modernity.
  • These countries want to be modern.
  • They desire to improve their societies by preserving their cultures and traditional values.
  • They do not want to copy the whole westernization but want the benefits of the western experience.

Nature of Development

  • Development is a continuously changing concept. It is neither static nor uniform and its nature constantly changes with a change of time.
  • Development is a multi-dimensional process.
  • Development is a goal-oriented process.
  • Another common feature of development is growth.
  • Modern development is characterized by technological innovations which has greatly influenced all aspects of society and human life.
  • Another common feature of development is rationality.
  • Development is oriented towards maximizing welfare of the community i.e., raising living standard of the people, improving health and education etc.

Theories of Development

  • Economic Theories
  • Non-economic Theories

1. Economic Theories

  • More concentrated on accelerating the economic growth
  • Economic theories considered economic growth as base to development
  • Major focus is on technical improvements, more productivity and technical transfer from the developed to the developing countries
  • It was assumed that the problems of development can be solved by the application of economic theories.
  • However, the result was not as per expectation so development needed rethinking.

Economic theories of development

  • The economic theories which are more concentrated on accelerating economic growth
  • Rostow’s five stages of development
  • Low level equilibrium trap
  • Multi-sectoral growth
  • Theories of dualism
  • Import substitution
  • Marxism and neo-marxism
Economic theories: Rostow’s five stages of development
  • The traditional society
  • Pre-condition for take off
  • The take off stage
  • Drive to maturity, and
  • The age of high mass consumption
Economic theories: Low level equilibrium trap
  • The basic idea of this theory is – the size and growth rate of population is linked with economic growth.
  • If population growth is too fast then economic growth is impossible
Economic theories: Multi-sectoral growth
  • Basic idea- the developing countries are in a vicious circle of poverty so to break this circle, simultaneous investments in many industries is preferable
Economic theories: Theories of Dualism
  • The societies are divided into two economically, regionally and social groups which lead to clashes, instability and underdevelopment
Economic theories: Multi-sectoral growth

Basic idea- the developing countries are in a vicious circle of poverty so to break this circle, simultaneous investments in many industries is preferable

Economic theories: Theories of Dualism

The societies are divided into two economically, regionally and social groups which lead to clashes, instability and underdevelopment

Economic theories: Import substitution

Solution for underdevelopment is the establishment of industries which substitute goods that were earlier imported

Augmentation of export is needed in order to gather capital to buy technology which cannot be self produced

Economic theories: Marxism and neo-marxism

The material economic base determines the superstructure of all social, political, legal and economic institutions, and each society is characterized by struggles between the proletariats, the working class and the bourgeoisie, the owner of the means of production.

Any theory of development that does not take into account the mode of production and class struggle cannot adequately explain the contemporary development discourse.

Economic theory: Neo-Marxism

Neo-marxist school of thought offers two particular theoretical explanations

  • Dependency theory
    • manipulative system between North and South; Development of the north is dependent on the underdevelopment of the south.
  • World system theory
    • argues that either development or underdevelopment cannot be explained without taking into account the global world system
  • All regions in the world are interdependent on one another, the world is a single system including the core, semi-periphery and periphery. The core countries dominate the whole economy

2. Non-economic theories

  • The non-economic theories try to create new particularistic approach
  • However, e.g. naturalism and rationalism appreciate the differences between societies and cultures but the superiority of own.
  • Structural functionalism admits the differences as well and holds all versions of social systems equal but falls into the same pitfall as earlier theories by concluding that specialization and disintegration are the keys to development even though they might be seen just as developed countries way of organizing a society
Non-economic theories include
  • Sociological theory of development
    • Naturalism,
    • Rationalism,
    • Structural- functionalism,
    • Prismatic model,
    • Modernization,
    • Post-Structuralism,
    • Post- developmentalism etc.
  • Alternative theory of development
    • Feminist theory,
    • ecological thinking,
    • sustainable development,
    • self-reliance etc.
Sociological theory: Naturalism
  • Notion of survival-fittest survive
  • Example
    • Comte,
    • Herbert Spencer- survive with environment not only natural but also political, social.
Sociological theory: Rationalism
  • The basic idea is that
  • humans are self-conscious,
  • able to plan and calculate
  • in order to improve the living
Sociological theory: Structural-functionalism
  • The basic idea is that
  • specialization and disintegration of traditions are key to development
Sociological theory: Prismatic model

Problems are different depending upon the type of and nature of the society, consequently, the pattern of administration to solve the problems vary as well- the means of one society cannot solve the problems of another.

Riggs was a leading scholar of this model and his theory is social scientific in nature and has the similar feature with modernization and Parsons Structural – functionalism

Sociological theory: Modernization theory

West is the model to the rest i.e. transfer from rural to urban, from immobility to mobility, self-sustaining to mass consumption, from illiteracy to literacy, from fused to diffracted, from religious to secular

Sociological theory: Post-structuralism

The basic idea is that the western domination causes underdevelopment

Sociological theory: Post-developmentalism

Think globally act locally

Alternative theories: Feminist theory

Equality is a key for alleviation of poverty.

The discrimination of women causes underdevelopment.

Alternative theories: Ecological thinking

Ecological problems are global and are linked to development.

World economic system is unfair and need to be reformed

Alternative theories: Sustainable development

Development needs to meet the need of present generation

without undermining the possibilities of future generations

Alternative theories: Self- reliance

Every society relies on its own strength and resources determined by its members, energy, its natural and cultural environment

Development and Underdevelopment

  • Development and underdevelopment are two faces of a same coin – Andre Gunder Frank
  • World system theory argument
    • Development and Underdevelopment cannot be adequately explained without taking into account the global world system.
  • Post developmental discourse
    • “development has done more than just fail, for it has actually created the conditions of poverty that it purports to address”.
    • Some post-developmental theorist consider development as “devil”, which creates poverty, dependency and high inequality.
    • Western hegemony and authority are perpetuated through international financial organizations and development institutions.


  • Underdevelopment can simply be understood negatively in relation to development
  • Many scholars sought to define underdevelopment in terms of neo-colonial dependency mode i.e. underdevelopment of the former colonies is sought to be explained in terms of their dependence on the developed nations.


  • Gunner Myrdal is the first scholar to explain underdevelopment in terms of the development process and viewed underdevelopment as dynamic rather than static condition.
  • Myrdal emphasized the totality of development process and viewed underdevelopment as a process of cumulative circular causation among such factors as level of living, income and productivity.
  • Low levels of living, low levels of productivity and low incomes act in a vicious cycle to result in underdevelopment.
  • Political and administrative environments also intensify existing unequal relationships.
  • Obstacles to rapid economic growth are rooted in  inefficiency, rigidity and inequality of the established institutions and attitude with their economic and social power structures.

Commonly used words for underdevelopment

  • Underdeveloped countries
  • Backward Nations
  • Less/least developed countries
  • Poor countries
  • Developing countries
  • Low income and middle income groups taken together are referred to in the World Bank as the “Developing World”.
  • The concept of underdevelopment refers to all embracing conditions of the society’s social institutions, its political situation and its economic characteristics.

Characteristics of underdeveloped countries

  • Economic Characteristics
  • Socio-cultural Characteristics
  • Political Characteristics
  • Miscellaneous Characteristics
A. Economic Characteristics
  • Existence of vicious circle of Poverty
  • Economy mainly based on primary producing sector
  • Wide gap in national income distribution
  • Existence of dualistic economy (subsistence and market oriented)
  • Insufficient and ineffective financial institutions
  • Existence of imperfect market
  • Existence of adverse balance of payment
  • Existence of unemployment and underemployment
  • Government income mainly dependent upon indirect tax and foreign aid
  • Under or mis-utilization of created infrastructures
  • Underutilization of natural resources
B. Socio-cultural characteristics
  • Low level of literacy and domination of liberal education
  • Low level of health status
  • Insufficient entrepreneurship quality and preference for tangible and real assets
  • High rate of population growth
  • Existence of joint or extended family
  • Disintegration of the society on the basis of race, ethnicity, caste and religion
  • Domination of orthodox social and religious values and practices
  • Existence of communication problem due to multi-dialects
  • Existence of cultural lag and cultural lead
C. Political Characteristics
  • Presence of authoritarian government
  • Political roles are mostly determined by personal affiliation with the rulers rather than the merit
  • Existence of political instability and short tenure of government
  • Allocation of government resources and community benefits mostly influenced by the influential political leaders rather than necessity and economic viability
D. Miscellaneous Characteristics
  • Inefficient administrative mechanisms
  • Low level and discrimination in the application of rule of law
  • Chronic problem of corruption in every sphere of activity.

World Bank Indicators of Development

  • The World Bank categorizes countries based on various characteristics, such as
    • geography,
    • lending eligibility,
    • fragility, and
    • average level of income.
  • When it comes to income , the World Bank divides the world’s economies into four income groups: 
    • high,
    • upper-middle,
    • lower-middle, and
    • low.
  • The income classification is based on a measure of national income per person, or GNI per capita, calculated using the Atlas method.
  • In 1978, the first World Development Report introduced groupings of “low income” and “middle income” countries using a threshold of $250 per capita income as threshold between the groups.
  • In the 1983 WDR, the “middle income group” was split into “lower middle” and “upper middle” groups, and
  • In 1989 a “high income” country definition was introduced.

World Bank classification (July 2019)

  • The World Bank classifies countries into three categories:
    • High-income countries,
    • Middle-income countries, and
    • Low-income countries.
  • The high-income group has the highest income in the world with a GNI per capita of at least $12,476.
  • The upper-middle-income group has per capita incomes between $4,038 and $12,475.
  • The lower-middle-income nations have GNI per capita of $1,026 to $4,035.
  • Finally, low-income countries have GNI per capita of $1,025 or less.
  • Low-income countries are often synonymous with underdeveloped countries, also known as developing countries, emerging markets, or newly industrialized countries.
  • They receive development aid to boost and support the economic, political, social, and environmental development.
  • Both Bilateral as well as multilateral aid is given to these countries.
Low Income Country
  • Low-income countries face struggles relating to a poor economy.
  • Issues related to poor economic health include below average life expectancy, high infant mortality rates, poor educational outcomes, degrading infrastructure, environmental and climate conditions, and poor health outcomes.
  • These low-income countries suffer high rates of illnesses and infections due to lack of clean water, low levels of sanitation, malnutrition, and lack of access to quality medical care.
  • There are currently 32 countries in the low-income country category. 
  • Somalia is at the bottom of the low-income country list, with a GNI per capita of $130.
  • since 2003, the number of low-income countries has nearly halved, declining from 66 to 31 in 2019.
  • The number of high-income countries is currently 80, up from less than 50 in the 1990s.
  • The number of middle-income countries is 107 (60 UMICs and 47 LMICs) and has not changed much as countries have transitioned both in and out of this group.
Share of world population in country income
  • The vast majority (75 percent) of people currently live in countries defined as lower or upper-middle income countries.
  • As large countries, such as India and China, have transitioned from low income countries to middle income countries, the population shares have shifted dramatically.
  • In the 1990s, more than 6 in 10 people of the world’s population lived in low-income countries, while today it is just about 1 in 10.