Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Lund Papers in Economic History,
Lund University, Department of Economic History

No 163: Between the Engine and the Fifth Wheel: An Analytical Survey of the Shifting Roles of Agriculture in Development Theory

Martin Andersson () and Emelie Rohne Till ()
Additional contact information
Martin Andersson: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Emelie Rohne Till: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: Over the last decade, attention to agricultural development in less developed countries has increased. However, two opposing views on its role in economic development exist within the scholarly debate, either as a potential engine for economic growth or as a fifth wheel unlikely to generate transformative growth. Taking these contrary opinions as a point of departure, this paper reviews the origins of prominent views of the role of agriculture in development theory. Next it bibliometrically assesses the pattern of fluctuating scholarly attention to agriculture, and attempts to understand the reasons behind this pattern. The paper identifies four influential views on agriculture in development theory; five distinct phases of ups and downs in the scholarly attention to agriculture and discusses five potential reasons behind these fluctuations.

Keywords: agriculture; economic development; development theory; bibliometric analysis

JEL-codes: N50; O13; Q17; Q18

25 pages, September 1, 2017

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