2013 Leontief Prize Recipients:
Albert O. Hirschman & Frances Stewart
"Development in Hard Times"
Dr. Neva Goodwin, Timothy A. Wise, Dr. Frances Stewart, President Anthony Monaco, Dr. Jeremy Adelman
On March 7, the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) awarded the 2013 Leontief Prize to two leading development economists. The late Albert O. Hirschman, a pioneer in the political economy of the developing countries, held appointments at Columbia, Yale, Harvard, and the Institute for Advanced Study. Frances Stewart is professor emeritus of Development Economics at the University of Oxford and was director of Oxford’s Department of International Development and the Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security, and Ethnicity (CRISE). This year’s awards recognize two economists who have distinguished themselves over years of diligent and creative work to extend the frontiers of economics in an area our institute has researched extensively – international development.
Tufts University President Anthony Monaco opened the event stating “for twenty years, GDAE has been at the forefront of essential interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching at Tufts. Its programs have married international development with environmental sustainability, and they have pioneered research and policy recommendations to meet the challenges of the 21st century.” President Monaco offered his congratulations to the Leontief honorees and to GDAE for its “meaningful and significant contribution to the world and to this university’s impact on it.” Watch President Monaco’s remarks.
Timothy A. Wise, Director of the Research and Policy Program at GDAE, provided background on GDAE and the Leontief Prize, which recognizes economists who combine innovative theoretical work, rigorous academic research, and real-world applications of their findings to the challenges of socially and environmentally sustainable development. Watch Timothy Wise’s introduction.
GDAE co-director Neva Goodwin paid tribute to this year’s awardees, stating: “A serious return to development theory must start with the work of Albert Hirschman, one of the early leaders in the field. Frances Stewart’s practical and theoretical work on the challenges of modern development further advance such interdisciplinary approaches to international development.” Watch Dr. Goodwin's introduction of Dr. Hirschman’s biographer, Dr. Jeremy Adelman, and Dr. Frances Stewart.
Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman
Speaking on Dr. Hirschman’s behalf was Jeremy Adelman of Princeton University, author of Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman. Dr. Adelman’s talk examined the interplay between Hirschman’s life and his intellectual works, focusing on Hirschman’s influential book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. He stated, “Exit, voice, and loyalty, they’re coiled together. That book, which people often read as positioning people as having to make choices between exit, voice, or loyalty, Hirschman was inviting us to think about the ways we’re always combining all three—that we are mixing and amalgamating different strategies at the same time. He was always very sensitive to [the fact that] thinking in complex ways about human behavior and the consequences is often at odds with the way in which the social sciences were favoring parsimony.”
Dr. Adelman discussed Dr. Hirschman’s formative years in the Weimar Republic, explaining that he remained loyal to its principles throughout his life: “tolerance, open to new ideas and new influences, deeply cosmopolitan.” However, it was Hirschman’s 1952 exile from the United States to Colombia as a target of the McCarthy trials that propelled his career in development economics, as it was there that he witnessed development firsthand. Upon his return to the United States “he encountered American development economists writing in very abstract ways and formulas—but that’s not what’s happening on the ground.” His time in Colombia thus formed the basis for what would become Hirschman’s intellectual modus operandi: observing the world, developing theories, and then testing against reality. The same rigor can, be seen in his later works, particularly Getting Ahead Collectively, which was based upon his experience in the Dominican Republic during which he saw “not just that the poor were actively involved in improving their own lives, but that they were doing it collectively,” according to Adelman. Watch Dr. Adelman’s lecture.
Horizontal Inequalities: Why they Matter and Some Global Implications
Dr. Stewart’s presentation focused on her recent scholarship into horizontal inequalities—that is, inequality between groups (ethnic, religious, gender, regional, etc.). Dr. Stewart provided a deeper definition of inequality, emphasizing that it is not only the typical income and wealth inequality that matter, but also access to social services and “social capital,” power influence, and the social recognition afforded to the group within society. Horizontal inequalities can be seen not only as evidence of injustice, but also as a spark for violence.
Dr. Stewart referenced philosophical works on inequalities, concluding that—when extrapolated from the individual to the group—“for most theories of justice, it’s difficult to justify horizontal inequality. It’s much easier to justify some version of vertical inequality because of the effect it has on incentives and growth […].”
Though international studies found no correlation between high rates of vertical inequality and commensurately high rates of violence, Dr. Stewart asserted that there is a relationship when one examines inequality at the group level. Those who fight together are united by a common identity, and motivated to achieve social equality and stave off perceived injustices. Despite this, international policy has largely neglected domestic group inequality.
In concluding her talk, Stewart noted that simultaneous political exclusion and economic exclusion is likely to result in conflict. Thus, there must therefore be a concerted, systematic effort to ensure equality on multiple dimensions within Western societies, within developing countries, and between countries worldwide. Read "Global Horizontal (or social) Inequalities" the paper on which Dr. Stewart based her lecture
Watch Dr. Stewart’s lecture.