Fritz Machlup argued that it did.* Joseph Stiglitz more recently has argued that development agencies such as the World Bank are filled with 'third rate economists from first rate institutions.'
When I began my professional career as a teacher and researcher in economics the two fields that I tried to contribute to were (1) comparative and development economics, and (2) the history and methodology of political economy. And whle I still consider these fields to be among the most intellectually rewarding in economics, anyone who pursues these fields will have to agree that the modal economist practicing comparative and development economics and/or history and methodology of political economy is radically different in personality and interest from the modal economist in more traditional fields such as IO or Public Economics.
To a considerable extent, with the collapse of communisn in 1989, the field of comparative and development economics moved in a more traditional direction. When that changed the population pool changed. Among comparativist now-a-days you are about a likely to find a true believing Marxist as you are to find one working in the field of monetary economics. Let alone more exotic economists that used to populate the Association of Comparative Economics such as Ghandian economics, or the "small is beautiful" movement.
The development of New Growth Theory cut against Machlup's quip, and the strange intellectual diversity that once dominated the field of comparative and development economics has for all intents and purposes disappeared.
Is this a good thing or bad?
*Cited by Don Boudreaux in his review of David Warsh's Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations.