Economics the World Can’t Afford to Overlook

Philip H. Brown, Ph.D. has lived and worked in China, Central America, Africa, and Chile. He has seen firsthand the impact of economics on real people, and it was his work in a Rwandan refugee camp that inspired him to pursue his doctorate to help the poor as a development economist.

One misconception people sometimes have about economics is that it is a field exclusively focused on the study of wealth. In contrast to this stereotype stands development economics, a branch devoted to the study of developing countries. There is no universally accepted definition of a “developing” country. The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank all use different classification systems, taking into account factors such as per capita income level, export diversification, integration into the global financial system, international trade statistics, life expectancy, and literacy rates. Nonetheless, according to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Report and World Bank data, more than 150 nations qualify as “developing.”

Economic inequality and poverty in developing countries represent a global problem. For economists such as Dr. Philip H. Brown, Paul Collier (former director of research for the World Bank), and Nobel laureates Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz, the field of development economics marks a path toward resolving a problem that the world cannot afford to ignore.