The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics

The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics


By (author) William Easterly

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  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Format: Paperback | 360 pages
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 232mm x 20mm | 481g
  • Publication date: 2 September 2002
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass.
  • ISBN 10: 0262550423
  • ISBN 13: 9780262550420
  • Edition statement: Revised ed.
  • Illustrations note: 4 illus.
  • Sales rank: 48,610

Product description

Since the end of World War II, economists have tried to figure out how poor countries in the tropics could attain standards of living approaching those of countries in Europe and North America. Attempted remedies have included providing foreign aid, investing in machines, fostering education, controlling population growth, and making aid loans as well as forgiving those loans on condition of reforms. None of these solutions has delivered as promised. The problem is not the failure of economics, William Easterly argues, but the failure to apply economic principles to practical policy work. In this book Easterly shows how these solutions all violate the basic principle of economics, that people -- private individuals and businesses, government officials, even aid donors -- respond to incentives. Easterly first discusses the importance of growth. He then analyzes the development solutions that have failed. Finally, he suggests alternative approaches to the problem. Written in an accessible, at times irreverent, style, Easterly's book combines modern growth theory with anecdotes from his fieldwork for the World Bank.

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Author information

William Easterly is the author of The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (MIT Press, 2001) and The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. He is Professor of Economics at New York University (Joint with Africa House), Codirector of NYU's Development Research Institute, visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Nonresident Fellow of the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC.

Review quote

A highly readable and iconoclastic treatment of the determinants of economic growth. -- Richard N. Cooper Foreign Affairs It is impossible to convey the depth and range of The Elusive Quest for Growth. -- Bruce Bartlett The Wall Street Journal