Peter Ho

Peter Sai-Wing Ho


What I do

I am Professor of Economics at the University of Denver.


development economics, international economics, history of economics

Professional Biography

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Hong Kong and earned a Bachelor of Social Science Degree. I completed my Ph.D. in Economics at Stanford University. My fields of interest are: Economic Development, International Trade, and Alternative Approaches to Economic Analysis.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Economic Association
  • Association for Evolutionary Economics
  • Association for Institutional Thought
  • Development Studies Association
  • European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Union of Radical Political Economics
  • Western Economic Association International
  • World Economics Association


Currently I am re-examining and reassessing the debates on industrial policies, which I believe can be insightfully evaluated by paying attention to a rarely noticed distinction between two types of division of labor found in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. That distinction enables a useful categorization of all kinds of arguments, old and new, and can prepare one to move the latest phase of the debate forward in a fruitful direction. This is a continuation of the critical work that I have done and which has culminated in the book published by Edward Elgar. Thus, I have re-examined the works of the classical economists and offered an alternative approach to integrate their trade and foreign investment analyses that rivals the standard neoclassical interpretation of classical trade theories. I have built analytical connections between that alternative approach and the works of certain 'protectionists', the early generation development economists, and today’s globalization skeptics. In the book that I am writing now I will critically re-examine the works of more economists than I did in my first book, including the so-called new trade theorists and those who have pioneered research on global value chains. My hope is to clarify the framework of contending development analyses and then elucidate the role that policy interventions – including the use of trade and non-trade instruments, investment measures, and attempts to enhance indigenous technological capabilities – play within those frameworks. This can prove to be a useful contrast to the mainstream approach that exaggerates the role played by trade interventions and then dismisses it as nothing but 'protectionism', thereby trivializing an otherwise complex process of development. Based on this history of analysis aspect, I have already extended my research into an area that is more institutional, viz. assessing the changing environment for development that is defined by various multilateral trade agreements negotiated under the auspices of GATT/WTO. The hope is that my heterodox approach to development and trade analysis could enable one to sensibly caution against the implications of such agreements for the development of many developing countries, including China.

Areas of Research

development economics
international economics
history of economics

Featured Publications

Ho, P. S. -W. (2010). Rethinking Trade and Commercial Policy Theories: Development Perspectives. (P. S. -wing Ho, Ed.). Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Ho, P. S. -W. (2016). Linking the insights of Smith, Marx, Young and Hirschman on the division of labor: implications for economic integration and uneven development. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 913-939.
Ho, P. S. -wing. (2018). Development processes seen through non-Marginalist lenses, with considerations of complementarities. Journal of Economic Issues, 52(2), 464-472.
Ho, P. S. -W. (2017). Development through tighter economic integration: how might Prebisch size up some trends and issues thus far into the 21st century?. In The Global Political Economy of Raúl Prebisch (pp. 27-44). London, England: Routledge.


Ho, P. S. -wing. (2018). Increasing returns and production economies: rethinking Marshall with reference to Smith and Young. WEAI Meetings. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Western Economic Association International.
Ho, P. S. -wing. (2016). Smith, Young and Hirschman: industrial development and division of labour. Development Studies Association Conference. Oxford, England: Development Studies Association.
Ho, P. S. -W. (2014). Engendering development through international economic integration: how might Prebisch size up the trends and issues thus far into the 21st century?. 2014 FLACSO-ISA International Conference. Buenos Aires, Argentina: FLACSO-ISA.
Ho, P. S. -W. (2013). Linking the insights of Smith, Marx, Young and Hirschman on the division of labor to shed light on economic integration and uneven development. Beijing: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Ho, P. S. -wing. (2018). Development processes seen through non-Marginalist lenses, with considerations of comple-mentarities. Allied Social Science Association Meetings. Philadelphia: Allied Social Science Association.


  • Honorary Member, Phi Beta Kappa