Rostow Model of Economic Development

A description of the Rostow Model of development, including the strengths and criticisms of the model.

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  • Created on: 11-05-12 08:01
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Rostow Model of economic development
Model created by Walt Whitman Rostow in 1960
Based upon 15 main EU countries
All countries have opportunity to break cycle of poverty and progress through 5 stages
of development
Traditional Society (UK 1750)
Low investment
Labour intensive
Produce eaten by growers
Trade is through barter
Pre Take Off (UK 1820)
Begin to have surplus products
Transport infrastructure develops
Savings and investment begin to grow
One industry often dominates (frequently the textiles industry)
Take Off (UK 1850)
Industrialisation increased
Less agriculture, more manufacturing
Growth is concentrated in a few regions (growth poles)
Growth is concentrated in a few industries
Political and Social institutions develop
Transport infrastructure develops, Airports, Roads, Railways
The drive to Maturity (UK 1940)
Technology develops and supports diverse growth
Economic development is no longer concentrated in a few areas, now
Increase in number and types of industry
Early industries begin to decline
Urbanisation is rapid (lead to growth of cities)
High Mass consumption
Expansion of tertiary industry Travel, Banking, Education, Media
Industry shifts to production of consumer goods
Criticisms of the model
Outdated (1960) and too simple
Assumes all countries start at the same level in the same conditions (pop,
climate will all affect agriculture)
Capital is required to advance to takeoff. If this is aid, then the debt it leaves the
country in can send it backwards, developmentally

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Model underestimates development of one country at the expense of another.
Developed with `Western countries' as it's focal point, not the same for LEDCs
Stages merge together, difficult to define which stage a country is in
Does not take into account technological advances, which accelerate
Strengths of the model
Simple and easy to understand
Can be (loosely) related to all countries
Can be used in conjunction with the DTM (population policies)…read more


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