Developmental studies usually is field of reasearch whose object is developing countries and industrial policy studies similarly are attributed to the developing countries or the things of the past. But still I feel that issues researched by these branches of economics are becoming more and more relevant to the economics of developed countries:

  • How to make economic more fair and more distributed when technology developments create technological unemployment, when businesses require and reward exceptional talent but the jobs for least educated or least talented is replaced by automation and artificial intelligence
  • Automation and artificial intelligence create opportunities to relocate manufacturing from the offshore to the onshore, remove back in developed countries. What policy decision about allocation of education, infrastructure spending promotes such relocation, should this trend be supported by the general or local governments and how?
  • Industrial landscape is changing in current world, e.g. Artificial Intelligence is emering and completely new factor of production (along capital and labour). How this trend should be supported and how this trend should be guided for the benefit of all. What resources and how should be reallocated to increase competitivenes in all the new fields of technology - robotics, AI, ubiquitous computing, etc. Some of the developed countries rely on the traditional industries and they need modernization as well.
  • Many more question...

So - my question is - how economics and policy planning is responding to these trend. Are there research trends, topics, journals, important monographs with such perspective?

I feel that the current developments put the developed nations in the situation that is somehow similar to developing countries - in need to increase competitiveness and in need to correct social issues raised by unequal social development. So - these topics should be researched.

I know that I have raised many different topics in my question, but my aim is not to receive separate answer on any of those topics. My aim is to get the name and references to the research trend which answers those questions.


1 Answer 1


There is a lot of newish research on the adverse consequences of Globalisation and more generally De-industrialization on low skilled workers in developed economies. A good place to start is Autor, Dorn, Hanson in the AER 2013. David Autor has other interesting work on this topic as well as on automation.

Your questions have quite a normative ring to themselves, and it seems to me you already know what kind of answers you want. It is true that discussing the adverse effects of Globalisation or technological progress on some people in rich countries has become a more active research topic. But I think most people are very still far from questioning free trade or technological progress as Pareto efficient. And I think the overwhelming majority of economists still thinks that industrial policy in a developed country is a silly idea. So I don't think you are going to find this big trend you are looking for.

Also, as a sidenote, even development economics has moved quite far from the kind of research that debated the industrial policy you have in mind. It's mostly about RCTs and institutions now.

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    $\begingroup$ "I think most people are very still far from questioning free trade or technological progress as Pareto improvements." The sector specific input model, which is the second model in Krugman's International Economics textbook shows that altough free trade increases the consumption set of the whole economy it may decrease the consumption set of subgroups. I think this is pretty well accepted. There are even programs in some countries that attempt to make the transfers necessary to make free trade a Pareto-improvement. In itself, it is not that. $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Jul 30, 2017 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ You are right and I edited my answer. They are Pareto efficient and hence you can make them a Pareto improvement to any alternative by choosing the right transfers. $\endgroup$
    – Tobias
    Jul 30, 2017 at 17:47

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