Understanding Poverty

Understanding Poverty

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Understanding poverty and what to do about it, is perhaps the central concern of all of economics. Yet the lay public almost never gets to hear what leading professional economists have to say about it. This volume brings together twenty-eight essays by some of the world leaders in the field, who were invited to tell the lay reader about the most important things they have learnt from their research that relate to poverty. The essays cover a wide array of topics:
the first essay is about how poverty gets measured. The next section is about the causes of poverty and its persistence, and the ideas range from the impact of colonialism and globalization to the problems of "excessive" population growth, corruption and ethnic conflict. The next section is about
policy: how should we fight poverty? The essays discuss how to get drug companies to produce more vaccines for the diseases of the poor, what we should and should not expect from micro-credit, what we should do about child labor, how to design welfare policies that work better and a host of other topics. The final section is about where the puzzles lie: what are the most important anomalies, the big gaps in the way economists think about poverty? The essays talk about the puzzling reluctance of
Kenyan farmers to fertilizers, the enduring power of social relationships in economic transactions in developing countries and the need to understand where aspirations come from, and much else. Every essay is written with the aim of presenting the latest and the most sophisticated in economics
without any recourse to jargon or technical language.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 496 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 32mm | 735g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 16 line illus.
  • 0195305205
  • 9780195305203
  • 483,781

Table of contents

Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Roland Benabou and Dilip Mookherjee: Introduction
1: Angus Deaton: Measuring Poverty
PART I: The Causes of Poverty
2: Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, & James Robinson: Understanding Prosperity and Poverty: Geography, Institutions, and the Reversal of Fortune
3: Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff: Colonialism, Inequality, And Long-Run Paths Of Development
4: Thomas Piketty: The Kuznets Curve: Yesterday and Tomorrow
5: Philippe Aghion & Beatriz Armendariz de Aghion: A New Growth Approach to Poverty Alleviation
6: Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee: Globalization and All That
7: Pranab Bardhan: The Global Economy and the Poor
8: Mukesh Eswaran & Ashok Kotwal: The Role of Agriculture in Development
9: T. Paul Schultz: Fertility and Income
10: Mukesh Eswaran: Fertility in Developing Countries
11: Jean-Jacques Laffont: Corruption and Development
12: Edward Miguel: Ethnic Diversity and Poverty Reduction
PART II: How Should We Go About Fighting Poverty?
13: Emmanuel Saez: Redistribution toward Low Incomes in Richer Countries
14: Martin Ravallion: Transfers and Safety Nets in Poor Countries: Revisiting the Trade-Offs and Policy Options
15: Dilip Mookherjee: Poverty Persistence and Design of Antipoverty Policies
16: Christopher Udry: Child Labor
17: Kaushik Basu: Policy Dilemmas for Controlling Child Labor
18: Anne Case: The Primacy of Education
19: Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak: Public Goods and Economic Development
20: Jean Tirole: Intellectual Property and Health in Developing Countries
21: Michael Kremer: Public Policies to Stimulate Development of Vaccines for Neglected Diseases
22: Jonathan Morduch: Microinsurance: The Next Revolution?
23: Robert M. Townsend: 23) Credit, Intermediation, and Poverty Reduction
PART III: New Ways of Thinking About Poverty
24: Esther Duflo: Poor but Rational?
25: Sendhil Mullainathan: Better Choices to Reduce Poverty
26: Kaivan Munshi: Nonmarket Institutions
27: Glenn C. Loury: Racial Stigma: Toward a New Paradigm for Discrimination Theory
28: Debraj Ray: Aspirations, Poverty and Economic Change
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Review Text

A serious examination of where we stand and what we need to do. Nicholas Kristof, The New York Review of Books
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Review quote

A serious examination of where we stand and what we need to do. * Nicholas Kristof, The New York Review of Books * Mass poverty is mankind's oldest, yet still most pressing, problem. Understanding Poverty describes the attack that economists are making to understand it on many different fronts. Every reader of the essays in this superb volume will appreciate the currrent excitement of development economics and the enormous progress it has made in the last two decades. * George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001 *
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About Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee

Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee is Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics and Director, Poverty Action Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1993. He holds a PhD from Harvard University, an MA from Jawaharlal University, and a BSc from the University of Calcutta.

Roland Benabou is Professor of Economic and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He holds a PhD in Economics from Massachusetts Instite of Technology and Engineering diplomas from the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole Nationale des Ponts at Chausses in Paris.

Dilip Mookherjee is Professor of Economics at Boston University, where he has taught since 1995. He has also been Director of the Institute for Economic Development there since 1998. He studied Economics at Presidency College, Calcutta, the Delhi School of Economics, and the London School of Economics.
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