Development economics has a long history in our school and our school has become an important base for promoting development economics research and nurturing related talents. Our school has always been at the forefront of domestic economics research. As early as 1988, our school set up a specialized research institution of development economics - economic development research center, as a physical institution directly under the school. For a long time, under the leadership of Professor Zhang Peigang, the researchers in this center hold the goal and banner of establishing new development economics, take the economic development and modernization of China as the main research object, devote themselves to the development of economic theory and put forward the research ideas and theoretical system which are different from the development economics in western countries. To promote the development and the research of economics teaching, the Development Economics Research Foundation under the name of Prof. Zhang Peigang has been established for more than 20 years and carried out a series of activities. Since 2006, "Zhang Peigang Development Economics Research Outstanding Achievement Award" has been launched and the China Economic Development Forum, which has had an important impact both at home and abroad, has been organized. Zhang Peigang Development Economics Research Foundation, Zhang Peigang Development Research Institute, Zhang Peigang Development Economics Outstanding Achievement Award and China Economic Development Forum have become important platforms for the study and the promotion of development economics in China.

Catering on the economic and social development of developing countries, this discipline uses globalized view; take the practices China’s modernization, industrialization, reform and development as the foundations to explore major strategies, institutions, policies and basic theories. From the practices of China’s economic development, this discipline is constantly getting experience and extracting theories to develop new theories and establish new system of development economics. The direction of this discipline is mainly engaged in the basic theory research of development economics and the realistic research on the development of China's major economic problems, especially the establishment and improvement of new development economics and the study of China's industrialization and modernization. The important areas of research include: agriculture and industrialization, economic development of big countries, poverty and welfare research, structural adjustment and industrial development research, low carbon and circular economy research, as well as urbanization and regional development research. Leaders and academic leaders in this field include: Professor Zhang Peigang,  Professor Zhang Jianhua, Professor Xu Changsheng, Professor Zhang Weidong, Prof. Fang Qiyun, Professor Song Deyong, Prof. Wang Xiaoqin, Professor Peng Daiyan, Prof. Fan Hongzhong and Prof. Li Zhaohua etc.

The direction of the discipline has undertaken three projects of national social science fund two key projects and more than 10 general projects, a number of national self-funded projects, dozens of projects at provincial and ministerial level and a series of horizontal cooperation projects. The main research projects include: National Social Science Fund Key Project "New Economic Development" (Zhang Peigang, 1989), "Great Economic Development and China's industrialization and modernization" (Zhang Peigang, 1991), National Natural Science Fund of the major projects,The Optimization and Upgrading Study of Industrial Structure on the path of industrialization ( Zhang Peigang, Zhang Jianhua, 06&ZD035), Innovation-driven optimization and upgrading of industrial structure research (Zhang Jianhua, 12 & ZD045) "," the promotion China's industrialization and information integration research "(Xu Changsheng, 08 & ZD037), the National Social Science Fund General Project" Western countries in the process of industrialization and industrialization in China (Fang Qiyun, 01BJL003), " "Research on the Relationship between Agricultural Industry Organization, Technological Progress and the Transfer of Agricultural Surplus Labor" (Fang Qiyun, 01BJL003), "China's Low Carbon Economy Development Path and Policy Research" (Song Deyong, 10BJL034), "The Adaptability Test of the  Latest Development of Western Utility Theory and Its Core Hypothesis (Peng Daiyan, 06BJY007), "The Evolution and Regional Coordinated Development of Population and Space in Rapid Economic Growth and Urbanization" (Fan Hongzhong, 2007), "The Real Gap of Different Towns and the Study of Urbanization " (Fan Hongzhong, 2013) "The Impact of EU Strategic Environmental Policy on China 's Product Export and the Reaction Mechanism study of China's Exports and China's Green Trade Barriers "(Li Zhaohua, 2009) and so on. All these projects are actively providing study outcomes and decision-making consulting for China, Hubei Province and Wuhan City, all these research outcomes are spoken highly by the governments. Prof. Zhang Peigang and Professor Xia Zhenkun put forward the theoretical basis for the strategy of the rise of the central part. Professor Xu Changsheng participated in the major development planning and decision-making research in Hubei province and Wuhan city. Professor Zhang Jianhua proposed the construction of "China's agricultural valley" in Jingmen City. The proposal has become the strategic decision of Hubei Province and Jingmen City; Professor Song Deyong provided more than 10 "Twelfth Five-Year" circular economy development plans for cities and counties in Hubei Province. Professor Peng Daiyan actively wrote the proposals to participate in suggestions.

The direction of the discipline has gained fruitful scientific results which has greater impact on academic community. Under the leadership of Professor Zhang Peigang, "Agriculture and Industrialization" (both the second volume and the last volume are included); "New Development Economics", "Development Economics Course", "Development Economics Research Series" and other monographs more than 20 copies have been published.  Zhang Peigang and Professor Zhang Jianhua are editors of the textbook "Development Economics" and this textbook have been selected as textbooks for national "Eleventh Five-Year”. More than 100 papers have been published on magazines which are of national fame such as SSCI Periodicals, China’s Social Science and Economic Research. In addition, this discipline has obtained more than ten awards such as outstanding humanities and social achievement award awarded by Ministry of education, Hubei province outstanding humanities social achievement award. Four items have been awarded as Development Research Award in Hubei Province.

The disciplines of the direction give priority to domestic and international academic exchanges. At least one or more large-scale academic seminars, including the "Development Economics and the 21st Century China Midwest Development" seminar, "Development Economics and China's industrialization and modernization" seminar, two annual meeting of China's economic development and many China Economic Development Forums will be held almost every year. This direction also cooperated with famous universities and research institutions in United States, Europe, Japan and Hong Kong, Taiwan and other regions of the famous universities and research institutions to establish a long-term contacts, cooperation and exchanges.