Recently, it has been suggested that the process of economic development should ideally be viewed as a socioeconomic transformation. Such a view requires a comprehensive understanding of how agents learn and change their behaviour. However, these aspects have only been inadequately addressed in development theory. This paper argues that social-cognitive vicarious learning theories can become a useful methodological tool by incorporating a triadic interaction between personal factors (beliefs, values), behaviour and environment. Our analysis is based on a survey of the Indian trans-Himalayan regions. The development trajectory of these regions suggests that a proper understanding of the vicarious learning mechanism provides crucial insight into the speed of socioeconomic transformations. It also helps to identify appropriate change agents within a society and, in turn, underscores the need for a comprehensive, yet flexible, development policy framework.
development socio-economic transformation vicarious learning evolution traditional societies