Our Center for International Development is playing host over the next couple of days to this year's Northeast Universities Development Consortium Conference--an annual conference on development economics. Looking at the variety of sessions and papers being presented, I am once again struck by how strong and fertile the field has become. Economic Development was once a weak sub-discipline within economics. Clearly no longer.
In my mind, the next big challenge is to integrate the work on macro (mostly growth, trade, and finance) with the work on micro (mostly health, education, and evaluation). A few people are working in that intersection, but not nearly enough in my view. The micro economists face the challenge of demonstrating that their work can say something about economy-wide growth patterns and differentials--the strongest determinant of poverty patterns in the world. Meanwhile, macro types have to develop evidence that passes the microeconomists' more demanding requirements.