Contemporary Issues in Development Economics

Springer
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Timothy Besley brings together a set of essays on themes relevant to the study of economic development written by leading authors. It covers a range of topics many of which are relevant to policy issues. In many cases, the authors bring new insights from empirical research in a range of economies.
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About the author

Timothy Besley is School Professor of Economics and Political Science at the London School of Economics, UK, and President of the International Economic Association.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer
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Published on
Apr 29, 2016
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Pages
211
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ISBN
9781137529749
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Development / Economic Development
Business & Economics / Development / General
Business & Economics / International / Economics
Business & Economics / International / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Timothy Besley
"Little else is required to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things." So wrote Adam Smith a quarter of a millennium ago. Using the tools of modern political economics and combining economic theory with a bird's-eye view of the data, this book reinterprets Smith's pillars of prosperity to explain the existence of development clusters--places that tend to combine effective state institutions, the absence of political violence, and high per-capita incomes.

To achieve peace, the authors stress the avoidance of repressive government and civil conflict. Easy taxes, they argue, refers not to low taxes, but a tax system with widespread compliance that collects taxes at a reasonable cost from a broad base, like income. And a tolerable administration of justice is about legal infrastructure that can support the enforcement of contracts and property rights in line with the rule of law. The authors show that countries tend to enjoy all three pillars of prosperity when they have evolved cohesive political institutions that promote common interests, guaranteeing the provision of public goods. In line with much historical research, international conflict has also been an important force behind effective states by fostering common interests. The absence of common interests and/or cohesive political institutions can explain the existence of very different development clusters in fragile states that are plagued by poverty, violence, and weak state capacity.

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From the Hardcover edition.
Timothy Besley
"This book is a must-read for any serious student of development economics and political economy. Besley and Persson provide a rich framework for understanding the evolution of economic, legal, and political institutions, and rightly place the state at its center. Their emphasis on fiscal and legal capacity and political violence is particularly apt. This work will inspire, motivate, and challenge many generations of researchers and students."--Daron Acemoglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Pillars of Prosperity is a landmark analysis of political economy. It provides the first rigorous foundations for the emergence of the effective states needed for development. In the process, this book opens many paths for new research."--Paul Collier, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford

"For much of the poor world, economic development is not about resources but about state capacity. Without an understanding of what makes an effective state, aid is as likely to harm as to help, and millions are doomed to cycles of poverty and violence. In Pillars of Prosperity, two of the world's leading political economists bring together the economics and politics of development. This book will fundamentally reshape debates about global poverty and foreign aid."--Angus Deaton, Princeton University

"Why are some countries rich and peaceful while others are poor and prone to political violence? This book is an ambitious attempt to cut theoretically into the Gordian knots of reciprocal causation that make progress on answering this question so hard won. Besley and Persson develop an original approach to examining state decisions to develop fiscal and legal capacity, along with decisions bearing on political repression and violence, within a single theoretical framework."--James Fearon, Stanford University

"With an elegant and sophisticated series of models, this book illuminates the processes that cause prosperity and political order to develop together. Offering powerful insights into the divergent paths countries have taken, it is a major contribution to the fields of political economy and development economics."--Daniel Treisman, author of The Return: Russia's Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev

Salim Ismail
Frost & Sullivan's 2014 Growth, Innovation, and Leadership Book of the Year

"EXPONENTIAL ORGANIZATIONS should be required reading for anyone interested in the ways exponential technologies are reinventing best practices in business." —Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering at Google

In business, performance is key. In performance, how you organize can be the key to growth.

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Chosen by Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, to be one of Bloomberg's Best Books of 2015
Timothy Besley
The narrative of development economics is now infused with discussions of institutions. Economists debate whether institutions--or other factors altogether (geography, culture, or religion)--are central to development. In this volume, leading scholars in development economics view institutions from a microeconomic perspective, offering both theoretical overviews and empirical analyses spanning three continents. After substantial introductory chapters by Pranab Bardhan and Marcel Fafchamps, two scholars who have published important work on this topic, each of the remaining chapters examines a particular set of institutions in a unique setting. These chapters treat the effects of Angola's violent conflict on that country's development; institutional accountability in Uganda; the effect of Indonesia's ethnic diversity on the distribution of public goods; the impact of trade liberalization on India's investment climate; extended family networks in Mexico; and a microeconomic perspective on land rights in Ethiopia. The chapters demonstrate the remarkable heterogeneity of institutions--policy change is mediated through local market institutions, government institutions, and families--as well as the empirical and methodological ingenuity of current research into this crucial topic.

ContributorsManuela Angelucci, Oriana Bandiera, Pranab Bardhan, Timothy Besley, Martina Björkman, Robin Burgess, Giacomo De Giorgi, Stefan Dercon, Marcel Fafchamps, Rajshri Jayaraman, Pramila Krishnan, Eliana La Ferrara, Gilat Levy, Marcos A. Rangel, Imram Rasul, Ritva Reinikka, Jakob Svensson

Timothy Besley
The narrative of development economics is now infused with discussions of institutions. Economists debate whether institutions--or other factors altogether (geography, culture, or religion)--are central to development. In this volume, leading scholars in development economics view institutions from a microeconomic perspective, offering both theoretical overviews and empirical analyses spanning three continents. After substantial introductory chapters by Pranab Bardhan and Marcel Fafchamps, two scholars who have published important work on this topic, each of the remaining chapters examines a particular set of institutions in a unique setting. These chapters treat the effects of Angola's violent conflict on that country's development; institutional accountability in Uganda; the effect of Indonesia's ethnic diversity on the distribution of public goods; the impact of trade liberalization on India's investment climate; extended family networks in Mexico; and a microeconomic perspective on land rights in Ethiopia. The chapters demonstrate the remarkable heterogeneity of institutions--policy change is mediated through local market institutions, government institutions, and families--as well as the empirical and methodological ingenuity of current research into this crucial topic.

ContributorsManuela Angelucci, Oriana Bandiera, Pranab Bardhan, Timothy Besley, Martina Björkman, Robin Burgess, Giacomo De Giorgi, Stefan Dercon, Marcel Fafchamps, Rajshri Jayaraman, Pramila Krishnan, Eliana La Ferrara, Gilat Levy, Marcos A. Rangel, Imram Rasul, Ritva Reinikka, Jakob Svensson

Timothy Besley
"This book is a must-read for any serious student of development economics and political economy. Besley and Persson provide a rich framework for understanding the evolution of economic, legal, and political institutions, and rightly place the state at its center. Their emphasis on fiscal and legal capacity and political violence is particularly apt. This work will inspire, motivate, and challenge many generations of researchers and students."--Daron Acemoglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Pillars of Prosperity is a landmark analysis of political economy. It provides the first rigorous foundations for the emergence of the effective states needed for development. In the process, this book opens many paths for new research."--Paul Collier, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford

"For much of the poor world, economic development is not about resources but about state capacity. Without an understanding of what makes an effective state, aid is as likely to harm as to help, and millions are doomed to cycles of poverty and violence. In Pillars of Prosperity, two of the world's leading political economists bring together the economics and politics of development. This book will fundamentally reshape debates about global poverty and foreign aid."--Angus Deaton, Princeton University

"Why are some countries rich and peaceful while others are poor and prone to political violence? This book is an ambitious attempt to cut theoretically into the Gordian knots of reciprocal causation that make progress on answering this question so hard won. Besley and Persson develop an original approach to examining state decisions to develop fiscal and legal capacity, along with decisions bearing on political repression and violence, within a single theoretical framework."--James Fearon, Stanford University

"With an elegant and sophisticated series of models, this book illuminates the processes that cause prosperity and political order to develop together. Offering powerful insights into the divergent paths countries have taken, it is a major contribution to the fields of political economy and development economics."--Daniel Treisman, author of The Return: Russia's Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev

Timothy Besley
"Little else is required to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things." So wrote Adam Smith a quarter of a millennium ago. Using the tools of modern political economics and combining economic theory with a bird's-eye view of the data, this book reinterprets Smith's pillars of prosperity to explain the existence of development clusters--places that tend to combine effective state institutions, the absence of political violence, and high per-capita incomes.

To achieve peace, the authors stress the avoidance of repressive government and civil conflict. Easy taxes, they argue, refers not to low taxes, but a tax system with widespread compliance that collects taxes at a reasonable cost from a broad base, like income. And a tolerable administration of justice is about legal infrastructure that can support the enforcement of contracts and property rights in line with the rule of law. The authors show that countries tend to enjoy all three pillars of prosperity when they have evolved cohesive political institutions that promote common interests, guaranteeing the provision of public goods. In line with much historical research, international conflict has also been an important force behind effective states by fostering common interests. The absence of common interests and/or cohesive political institutions can explain the existence of very different development clusters in fragile states that are plagued by poverty, violence, and weak state capacity.

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