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Economic Growth (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321416629
ISBN-10: 0321416627
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I cannot imagine a better way of introducing students to the fascinating field of economic growth. [The author's] systematic reliance on relevant historical evidence, basic empirical facts, well-chosen examples, and illustrative tables and figures; his parsimonious and intuitive use of very simple models; and his focus on the key issues and enigmas—all these contribute to the magic of this book.”
—Philippe Aghion, Harvard University

“The book is very well conceived and will fill an important need…. The organization is excellent…. The book is slanted toward good, modern, relevant research and the best available evidence about important questions.”
—David Romer, University of California–Berkeley

“The clarity of the writing, the richness of the empirical and quantitative environment, and the currency of the research base drawn upon and explicated. All of these make this book a clear winner.”
—Steve Colt, University of Alaska–Anchorage

About the Author

David Weil is a professor of economics at Brown University. He received his BA in history from Brown University and his PhD in economics from Harvard University. A former member of the Board of Editors at the American Economic Review, Professor Brown is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and associate editor of the Journal of Economic Growth.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 2 edition (March 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321416627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321416629
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Economic growth" continues to be of interest largely because of the large part of humanity whose living standards are so very substantially worse than the middle-class norm of OECD countries. Economists are as interested as anyone else, whence university texts full of economists' economic growth research:

-- Acemoglu, "Introduction to Modern Economic Growth" (2009)
-- Aghion and Howitt, "The Economics of Growth" (2009)
-- Weil, "Economic Growth" (2nd ed., 2009)

As a Ph.D. economist who has resided and worked for the past thirty years in low-income areas of several continents, in countries of which the wealthiest was Egypt, "Economic Growth" is a daily interest. How does the enterprise sector relate to what attracts our attention to low-income countries in the first place: hunger, physical insecurity, abusive social relations? Does it pass these problems by, or does it alleviate them? Should interested outsiders care about "the economy" and if so what should they do? Or should they concentrate on relief, or on political reform?

This review of the three texts listed above looks at them from the point of view of their usefulness in relation to this particular interest.

Although Weil's undergraduate text stays away from the mathematics that dominate the other two, all three books are quite similar in that each is an encyclopedic exposition of models of aggregate growth, along with numerous factors that have been suggested to affect it. None is a monograph that states and defends a thesis. They all prepare a student to grapple with problems in the hope that the students will solve them.

Perhaps that is the fate of a textbook: anything more assertive would be commercially limiting.
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This is a marvellous book. eminently didactic, up-to-date and very well structured. I finished a graduate degree in economics ober 25 years ago and wanted to go over some book/articles on the theory of economic growth, most of which I had forgotten. This book certainly fit the bill.
The author begins with a heuristic structure which describes in stylized form the problem of economic growth: why some countries grow more than others, and why income per capita is higher in some countries. He then explains the Cobb-Douglas production function and the Solow model in stylized form, and applies these one-by-one to each of the factors which influence differences in growth: capital, labor, productivity, etc. He devotes a significant portion of the text to the theme of productivity, and one or two chapters to the influence of technology on growth, a theme which has much relevance in the modern economic context.
The required mathematics is included, but is kept to a minimum, so that the book is not cluttered with lenghty, but unnecessary proofs. These are left to appendices in the text and on the website which is included with the book. The formulae ( about two or three pages per chapter ) clarify in mathematical notation many pages of explanation in the text, and are well developed. However, the author provides many vignettes with concrete examples, and much of the text draws from factual economic history. He also uses scattergrams to explain relations between economic variables rather than regression equations, which make the text easier to swallow.
A very well-rounded text, highly readable, yet with sufficient rigor, with lots of exercises and problems to be solved for those interested in applying it in a classroom or course. For those interested in the subject of economic growth, whether student or professional, it would be hard to find a better book.
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Required book for class. Nothing special.
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I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the topic of economic growth. It is understandable to a lay person and kept lively by the author's heavy use of up to date and interesting facts.

One thing that sticks out is that the US in in an enviable position worldwide. I guess I should have known that, but it is easy to get caught up in pessimism. The US is at the cutting edge of productivity per capita which is a much harder task to raise than countries that can do catch up growth. For some reason raising productivity per capita at the cutting edge is harder than it was in the post WWII boom era, but that isn't americas unique problem.
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I use this as a reference book for work even though I didn't use this text in school. It has been very useful and explains the concepts easily with illusrations and analysis that can be applied to work arguments.
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