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The Mystery of Economic Growth Paperback – April 12, 2010
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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Want to understand the latest and best thinking on economic growth? Then read this little book. Professor Helpman has provided an enormously useful reader's guide to what is known (and what is not known) about this complex, fascinating, and all-important subject. (Martin L. Weitzman, author of Income, Wealth, and the Maximum Principle)
Elhanan Helpman has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of economic growth. Here he steps back and assesses what we have learned. Each page shines with profound knowledge, erudition, and wisdom. (Andrei Shleifer, co-author of The Grabbing Hand: Government Pathologies and Their Cures)
In this book, Elhanan Helpman reviews and analyzes economic growth, by pointing out the importance of input accumulation, trade, inequality, innovation, productivity, and institutions. He uses the most basic concept to outline what we know, what we do not know, and what we ought to know about the subject on a comprehensive and understandable manner. Such an approach should enable even noneconomists to become involved in the "growth mystery" without resorting to complex mathematical formulations...Overall, the book is well written, and the author is indeed highly knowledgeable on the issue at hand and his views are quite insightful and helpful in our understanding of economic growth, along with providing encouragement to developing countries. (Masiiwa Rusare Developing Economies)
The Mystery of Economic Growth is the book to read if you want to learn about what we know about "economic growth" and what the remaining mysteries are. The book deserves to be read by a wide range of economists, policy makers and researchers who are interested in this subject. It is a must reading for undergraduate and graduate students who would like to do research in the field of economic growth and international development...It is short, relatively non-technical, but still provides an extensive coverage of the topic. Helpman tells an exciting story focusing on the most important research in the last 20 years. (Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan Journal of International Economics 2006-06-01)
This is an engaging book and it should be read by anyone interested in bridging the divide between economics and social policy...Helpman provides an interesting account of the most important contemporary theories of economic growth, and his book will be a useful resource for those who would like to know more on the subject. (Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare 2005-06-01)
Those interested in the topic of growth economics will find this discussion both fascinating and provocative. (Michael Wald Monthly Labor Review 2005-04-01)
Helpman is himself a master of the art of economics and his master's hand is evident on each page. In making his point, he takes the reader on a fast, yet detailed tour of some of the most important writing on economic growth in the last twenty years. He reviews the emergence of endogenous growth theory, the interaction of international trade and economic growth, the relationship between inequality and growth, and the role of the institutions that provide the fundamental groundwork for economic growth. (George K. Davis EH.Net 2005-04-01)
A fine survey of what is known and unknown in economics, and how to improve an understanding of global economic influences. Here the story of growth economics is organized around themes of technological and institutional influencers, total productivity, and interdependent growth rates of different countries. (James A Cox and Diane C. Donovan Bookwatch 2005-04-01)
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Top Customer Reviews
Some chapters are definitely more approachable than others, and you generally don't need to have read an earlier chapter to understand a later one. The chapters on inequality and on institutions, for example, could be understood by most readers, whereas the chapter on innovation is much more challenging.
Having some advanced training in economics, I found the book a helpful refresher course on the latest research in many areas of growth economics. A better book for someone interested in a truly nontechnical (but definitely not dumbed-down) exploration of how growth theory has been applied to economic development policy is Easterly's The Elusive Quest for Growth. A non-technical (and slim) volume focusing on the empirical aspects of growth research is Barro's Determinants of Economic Growth.
If you were expecting a book like Sen's or Sach's (or even de Soto) meant for the lay person to unerstand: you got the wrong book. If you can keep up with all of the references and know some of the unexplained uses of accepted models, then you probably don't need to read it. Meanwhile if you haven't taken at least six semesters of economics, this book might as well be in Sanskrit. It's kinda like the movie Catch-22 (if you haven't read the book, don't bother; and if you have read the book, you don't need the movie).
The references to the literature are at times machine gun paced. I cannot imagine who is the target audience for this. It too simple and unrevolutionary for the economist and too esoteric for the layman. Just a waste of paper resources!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has a promising start on accumulation, productivity, and innovation, making some essential points that have not been widely enough appreciated. Read morePublished on December 19, 2010 by Joseph Ryan
The theme in Helpman's book is that institutions matter more than anything else when we try to answer the question of why a country is poor. Read morePublished on January 23, 2009 by orlando roncesvalles
This book summarizes a good deal of economic thinking, so it will probably of value to someone. But I found the style sufficiently dull that I couldn't bring myself to absorb much... Read morePublished on March 4, 2005 by Peter McCluskey