Kurt Martin

Born in 1904, Kurt Martin was one of the most distinguished development economists of his generation and is recognized worldwide as one of the pioneers of development theory. He joined ISS in 1969 as Professor in Development Economics and stayed until 1986. Kurt Martin died in September 1995, a few weeks before his 91st birthday. His last reader, “Strategies of economic development: readings in the political economy of industrialization” on the evolution of development economics theory, was published in 1991.

Kurt Martin made institutions a central feature of his work. He stressed their importance throughout the history of economic theory itself and also in the philosophical foundations of the subject. Nonetheless, he felt that economic institutions were the result of historically embedded processes of social conflict rather than simply a solution to problems of transaction costs and collective actions and dilemmas.

The Institute of Social Studies awarded its honorary doctorate to Kurt Martin in 1979.



Agrarian Reforms and Intersectoral Relations: A Summary/ Kurt Martin in Social Institutions and Economic Development : A Tribute to Kurt Martin / ed. by Valpy FitzGerald - The Hague : Kluwer Academic; Institute of Social Studies, 2002.

Strategies of economic development : readings in the political economy of industrialization / ed by Kurt Martin. Basingstoke: The Hague, 1991.
Also available in:
Martin, Kurt & H.W. Singer (1994). Strategies of Economic Development – Readings in The Political Economy of Industrialization in Development and Change. Vol.25 (3): 644.
The Evolution of Modern Development Theory/ Kurt Martin. The Hague: ISS, 1990.

The teaching of development economics : its position in the present state of knowledge : the proceedings of the Manchester Conference on Teaching Economic Development / ed. by Kurt Martin and John Knapp - London: Frank Cass, 1964


Agrarian reforms and intersectoral relations : a summary / Kurt Martin. ISS working paper series. Revised version of a paper presented at [Policy] Workshop on Agrarian Reform in Comparative Perspective, Sukabumi, 17-30 May, 1981. The Hague: ISS, 1982.

Agrarian reforms and intersectoral relations: a summary / Kurt Martin. Paper presented at Policy Workshop on Agrarian Reform in Comparative Perspective, Sukabumi, 17-30 May, 1981. The Hague: ISS, 1981.

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