- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 11 hours and 29 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 3 Jan. 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B006T21NGI
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
I am an economist (I teach at LSE), but I am not a development economist. I have no vested interested in the area. I found this a straightforward read - 2 days worth of holiday reading. I think it spot on for the target market - my wife is currently reading it.
The conclusion are broad: poor people are rational, but often ill informed, and that becoming well-informed takes time and effort. As a result, unless everyone understands what the poor think, and why they think it, policies may not work. If poor people don't believe immunisation works, they won't want it whether it is free or not. If poor people think that education is only worthwhile for the brightest, they won't send their kids to school unless they think that they are bright. And if teachers have the same views, their efforts in teaching weaker students will be weak, and universal education will not achieve much. In contrast if schools and parents believe in education, universal education will work much better, for any given level of staffing, funding, etc. We therefore need to understand - and sometimes work to change - beliefs.
The authors are great fans of "random controlled experiments" whereby policy is applied to one group and not to another, and the results compared. This is obviously a good idea, but it would be nice to know a bit more about whether the results are replicable. After all, if beliefs matter, results from one place in India may not travel to another in India, let alone to Africa, etc.
I make two mild criticisms. The books intellectual "straw men" (Jeff Sachs and Bill Easterly) are very American.Read more ›
Early chapters discuss individual rationality. There's enough money to spend on food but there is more to the good life for human beings than food - even if you are poor. There is TV, or wedding feasts. Education can be seen as a lottery in which the winer - the brightest child in the family - should take all. Actually everyone benefits from each extra year do education. And people don't understand health issues. Actually none of us do, but we in the west have states that take much of the strain here for us.
The second part of the book deals with systemic issues. Handling costs make it hard for the poor to access lending or borrowing (though micro finance now helps). And they are not much interested in insurance, choosing instead to hedge the risks in their life by diversifying their economic activities. Many are entrepreneurs faute de mieux. A regular wage can transform Iives. Finally when it comes to politics, changes to eg transparency can make a big difference. So too can eg quotas for eg women in politics, by transforming expectations.
My one regret about this book is that the authors have not read Thinking Fast and Slow. This could explain many of their findings further. A causal story is a good story for the fast thinking system - in this book explaining to schoolgirls thatbsugarndaddies are more likely to have HIV than young men. Sometimes - as in the statistical thinking needed to get a grip on insurance or public health issues - there is no alternative but to wake up the slow thinker who lurks in all of us.
But this is very strongly recommended.
Of the two books I found Banerjee and Duflo’s more informative and better written than Karlan and Appel’s. However there are two far superior books that, though having slightly different aims, do address the evidence base for effective interventions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very pleasant read that shows you the main reasons for many policy failures as well as many doable solutions.Published 18 days ago
This is a frustrating book to read for so many reasons. Firstly, it is very badly written. The prose is plodding and turgid. Read morePublished 27 days ago by SimonJ
This is a must-read guide to what is in fact a relatively successful story of tackling global poverty. Has clear relevance even to inner-city poverty in Western societies. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ian Parsley
Very solid, easy to use. Not a lot to say about a paper cutter, is there. Having decided on this one, I wouldn't buy anything else.Published 6 months ago by Frank F
Great book, easy to read but comprehensive coverage of important public health topicsPublished 7 months ago by MISS U RAATH