Alice Amsden

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Alice H. Amsden
Died Cambridge, Mass.
Occupation Political economist
Academic background
Education Cornell University (B.A.)
London School of Economics (Ph.D.)
School or tradition Heterodox economics
Academic work
Discipline Development economics
Sub discipline Political economy
Institutions UCLA
Columbia University
Harvard Business School
The New School
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1994–2012)
Main interests Developmental states; late-industrializing nations; industrial policy

Alice Hoffenberg Amsden (1943 – March 14, 2012) was a researcher in the field of heterodox political economy. She was the Barton L. Weller Professor of Political Economics at MIT, in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and Researcher at MIT Center for International Studies[1]

Amsden received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and her PhD from the London School of Economics. Professor Amsden began her career as an economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and taught at University of California, Los Angeles, Barnard College at Columbia University, Harvard Business School and The New School before being appointed professor at MIT in 1994. In addition to teaching and writing, she has been a consultant to the World Bank, OECD and various organizations within the United Nations. In 2002, she was awarded the Leontief Prize by the Global Development and Environment Institute and was named one of the top 50 visionaries by Scientific American for her premise that one-size-fits-all economic policies are ill-suited for poor countries looking to become industrialized. In 2009, she was appointed by the United Nations secretary-general to a 3-year seat on the U.N. Committee on Development Policy, a subsidiary of the U.N. Economic and Social Council. The 24-member committee provides inputs and independent advice to the council on emerging cross-sectoral development issues and on international cooperation for development.

Amsden wrote several books about the industrialization of developing countries. Her work emphasized the importance of the state as a facilitator and guide of economic development. She also saw knowledge as a crucial determinant of economic growth. Her books include Asia's Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialisation and The Rise of the Rest. In the former she concentrated on the development of South Korea and in the latter she compared the experiences of several developing countries—mostly East Asian and Latin American countries.

In 2012, Amdsen died suddenly at her home in Cambridge at the age of 68.[2]


In addition to numerous journal articles, Professor Amsden has authored:

  • The Role of Elites in Economic Development, Oxford University Press, 2012, (with Alisa Di Caprio and James A. Robinson).
  • Escape from Empire: The Developing World's Journey through Heaven and Hell, MIT Press, 2007.
  • Beyond Late Development: Taiwan's Upgrading Policies, MIT Press, 2003, (with Wan Wen Chu).
  • The Rise of "The Rest": Challenges to the West From Late-Industrializing Economies, Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • The Market Meets Its Match: Restructuring the Economies of Eastern Europe, Harvard University Press,1994 (with Jacek Kochanowicz and Lance Taylor).
  • Asia's Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization, Oxford University Press, 1989. Awarded "Best Book in Political Economy," American Political Science Association, 1992.


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