Michael Todaro 101: The Prominent Development Economist
Zatrun Published at October 05, 2023

Michael Todaro is an American economist known for his contributions to economic development and migration theories. He is particularly recognised for his work and models in the field of development economics. He continues to work as an academician. In this article, we will provide information about Michael Todaro and his works.

Who is Michael Todaro?

Michael Todaro was born in New York in 1942. His father was an Italian immigrant, and his mother was American. He spent his childhood and youth in New York. After high school, he attended Yale University and received a doctorate degree in economics. He wrote his doctoral thesis on “urban employment problems in underdeveloped countries” and developed a new model on this topic.

After completing his doctorate, Todaro continued his academic career. While working as an economics professor at New York University, he conducted research on development economics at the Population Council. He worked as a visiting faculty member at various universities in Africa for six years, and this experience had a significant impact on shaping his perspective on development economics.

Michael Todaro has authored many books and articles in the field of development economics. The most well-known of these is his textbook “Economic Development.” In this book, Todaro approaches development economics in the context of different problems, institutions, theories, and policies and provides solutions that are appropriate for the real situations of developing countries.

Todaro is currently an emeritus professor at New York University and serves on the board of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Ideas and Works of Todaro

Michael Todaro’s most significant contribution to the field of economics is his work on economic development and migration theories. Todaro supported measuring development not only by economic growth but also by an increase in people’s quality of life. He argued that the social, cultural, political, and environmental dimensions of development also needed to be considered.

Todaro also developed an economic model called the “Todaro-Harris Model” to explain the causes and consequences of rural-to-urban migration. According to the model, people consider not only current income differences but also future income expectations when migrating to cities. Therefore, even high unemployment rates in cities do not prevent migration.

Todaro’s most well-known work is his book “Economic Development,” first published in 1977 and has since had 12 editions. In the book, Todaro explains the basic concepts, problems, and policies of economic development.

His Achievements and Impact

Michael Todaro has made significant contributions to the field of development economics with his work. He approached development economics not only with mathematical models but also with social, cultural, political, and historical contexts. Todaro emphasised that development was not only related to economic growth but also to people’s quality of life, equality, freedom, and well-being.

Todaro’s books and articles have been an inspiration to many students, researchers, and policymakers in the field of development economics. Moreover, his models and theories are still being discussed and applied in the literature of development economics. His work is one of the most important sources for understanding and developing the field of development economics.

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