Michael Lipton Obituary, Death – On April 1st, Michael Lipton, an expert on rural poverty in developing nations who also worked on issues related to land reform and urban bias, passed away. He worked at the University of Sussex for the better part of his career, but he was also a contributor to the work of international agencies, such as the World Bank’s 2000-2001 World Development Report on poverty. Why Poor People Stay Poor was written by Lipton, who is credited as the author. Professor John Harriss, emeritus professor of international studies at Simon Fraser University, wrote in the Financial Times that his significant contribution to his field was acknowledged in 2012, when he was presented with the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. Harriss is a professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University. ”
At an early stage in his career, Lipton prioritized the equitable distribution of land. In a critical report on the development of Sri Lanka that was published in 1971 by the International Labour Organization, as well as in his most recent major work, Land Reform in Developing Countries: Property Rights and Property Wrongs, which was released in 2009, he presented the argument in favor of it. Lipton elaborated on the ways in which “urban bias” was detrimental to the agricultural industry in general, to small farmers in particular, and consequently to development as a whole. He referred to this phenomenon as “urban bias.” According to Harriss, this was the central thesis of his book that was published in 1977 and titled “Why Poor People Stay Poor.”
According to Harriss, Lipton became interested in development economics when he started working with Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal on his groundbreaking institutional study of development challenges in South Asia titled Asian Drama: An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations. Harriss writes that this is what drew Lipton to the field of development economics. (1968). In the years that followed, Lipton focused the most of his attention on India for his research, despite the fact that he also conducted studies in other Asian nations. He also spent time in Africa, primarily in Botswana and South Africa, where he served as an advisor to the governments of those respective countries during the years of 1977 and 1979. As part of his collaboration with Myrdal, Lipton discovered that the micro-level research that was already available was insufficient for comprehending the challenges associated with agricultural development. It was in order to overcome this constraint that he started his fieldwork in India.
“Michael has long been an icon of Development Studies, of Development Economics, and of IDS,” said Melissa Leach, Director of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, where he was appointed a professorial fellow in 1967 and stayed for 30 years. “Michael worked at the University of Sussex.” His paradigm-shifting contributions, from Urban Bias and Village Studies to his countless publications on agriculture and rural development, have helped define our profession. He is a bright scholar, a formidable brain, and a polymath. Poverty Research Unit at Sussex was initially created by Lipton in the year 1994. The German Jewish parents of Eric Lipton, who was born in 1937, emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1933.