The design of the comparative study (financed by the World Bank) of the analytical economic histories of 21 developing countries on which the book is based is outlined: the country studies are published as part of a series of 10 volumes, of which this is the last. A justification is given for the method of analytical economic history adopted in the country case studies, and this is related to other methods used in economics. An outline is then given of another central aspect of the study—that of political economy. This term is used to direct attention to the political, institutional, and historical factors affecting economic growth and income distribution. Lastly, a brief synopsis is presented of the structure of the book.
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