History, Historians and Development Policy

A necessary dialogue

Edited by C.A. Bayly, Vijayendra Rao, Simon Szreter and Michael Woolcock

History, Historians and Development Policy


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8576-5
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: August 2011
  • BIC Category: History, History, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing & Emerging Countries, HISTORY / General, Reference, information & interdisciplinary subjects / Development studies, Humanities / History


If history matters for understanding key development outcomes then surely historians should be active contributors to the debates informing these understandings. This volume integrates, for the first time, contributions from ten leading historians and seven policy advisors around the central development issues of social protection, public health, public education and natural resource management. How did certain ideas, and not others, gain traction in shaping particular policy responses? How did the content and effectiveness of these responses vary across different countries, and indeed within them? Achieving this is not merely a matter of seeking to 'know more' about specific times, places and issues, but recognising the distinctive ways in which historians rigorously assemble, analyse and interpret diverse forms of evidence.

This book will appeal to students and scholars in development studies, history, international relations, politics and geography as well as policy makers and those working for or studying NGOs.


Highly recommended.


1. How and why history matters for development policy- Michael Woolcock, Simon Szreter and Vijayendra Rao
2. Indigenous and colonial origins of comparative economic development: The case of colonial India and Africa- C. A. Bayly
Commentary: History, time and temporality in development discourse- Uma Kothari
Historical contributions to contemporary development policy issues
Social Protection
3. Social security as a developmental institution? The relative efficacy of Poor Relief provisions under the English old Poor Law- Richard Smith
4. Historical lessons about contemporary social welfare: Chinese puzzles and global challenges- R. Bing Wong
Commentary: Why might history matter for development policy?- Ravi Kanbur
Public Health
5. Health in India since Independence- Sunil S. Amrith
6. Health care policy for American Indians since the early 20th century- Stephen J. Kunitz
Commentary: Can historians assist development policy-making, or just highlight its faults?-David Hall-Mathews
Public education
7. The end of literacy: The growth and measurement of British public education since the early nineteenth century- David Vincent
8. The tools of transition: Education and development in modern southeast Asian history- Tim Harper
Commentary: Remembering the forgetting in education- Lant Pritchett
Natural resource management
9. Energy and natural resource dependency in Europe, 1600-1900- Paul Warde
10. Special rights in property: Why modern African economies are dependent on mineral resources- Keith Breckenridge
Commentary: Natural resources and development - which histories matter?- Mick Moore


C. A. Bayly is Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, and Fellow of St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge. Vijayendra Rao is Lead Economist in the Development Research Group, World Bank. Simon Szreter is Professor of History and Public Policy, and Fellow of St John's College, University of Cambridge. Michael Woolcock is Senior Social Scientist in the Development Research Group, World Bank.

History, Historians and Development Policy

Edited by C.A. Bayly, Vijayendra Rao, Simon Szreter, Michael Woolcock

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

Paperback £17.99 / $26.95

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