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Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty Hardcover – April 26, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 215 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Foreign Affairs
“Throughout their book, Banerjee and Duflo examine all facets of the behavior of the poor through this microscopic lens and discuss how certain types of interventions can make things better. They unapologetically propose a solution they acknowledge to be paternalistic: outside interventions by those who know best. But that type of policy makes sense only after detailed investigations of the conditions under which the interventions will occur, and Banerjee and Duflo are careful to tailor their recommendations to the circumstances on the ground.”
 
Bloomberg Business Week


“The ingenuity of these experiments aside, it is the rich and humane portrayal of the lives of the very poor that most impresses. Both books show how those in poverty make sophisticated calculations in the grimmest of circumstances… Books such as these offer a better path forward. They are surely an experiment worth pursuing.”
 
Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 2, 2011
“Here's something Jesus might recommend: Reading the clear, calm and revelatory book "Poor Economics," from Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. It is gloriously instructive, and bracing testimony in itself to the gold standard of the Enlightenment: the scientific method. The authors, both economists at MIT, spent 15 years in the field, running randomized controlled trials to test various approaches to combating poverty. They bring both rigor and humility to a predicament typically riven by ideology and blowhards.”

Financial World (UK),June 2011
“A remarkable work: incisive, scientific, compelling and very accessible, a must-read for advocates and opponents of international aid alike, for interested laymen and dedicated academics… Amartya Sen, fellow Nobel Prize winner Robert Solow and superstar economics author Steven Levitt wholeheartedly endorse this book. I urge you to read it. It will help shape the debate in development economics.”



Amartya Sen
“A marvellously insightful book by two outstanding researchers on the real nature of poverty.”

Steven D. Levitt
“This book is a must-read for anyone who cares about world poverty.  It has been years since I read a book that taught me so much. ‘Poor Economics’ represents the best that economics has to offer.”
 
Robert Solow
“Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo are allergic to grand generalizations about the secret of economic development. Instead they appeal to many local observations and experiments to explore how poor people in poor countries actually cope with their poverty: what they know, what they seem (or don't seem) to want, what they expect of themselves and others, and how they make the choices that they can make. Apparently there are plenty of small but meaningful victories to be won, some through private and some through public action, that together could add up to a large gains for the world's poor, and might even start a ball rolling. I was fascinated and convinced.”
 
Book Dwarf, February 14, 2011


Reilly Media,“Radar” blog, June 27, 2011
 “This is possibly the best thing I will read all year, an insightful (and research-backed) book digging into the economics of poverty... Love that the website is so very complementary to the book, and 100% aligned with the ambition to convince and spread the word.”

Publishers Weekly (online), May 2011
“Their empirical approach differs from policy discussions that base support or criticism of aid programs on a broad overview; instead they illuminate many practicable and cost-effective ways to keep children and parents living healthier and more productive lives. An important perspective on fighting poverty.”

The Guardien, June 6, 2011
“Duflo and Banerjee tell these stories (of their randomised control trials) in a lovely new book called Poor Economics. As they admit, randomistas cannot answer some big questions – how to tackle food prices, for instance. But through lots of microstudies, they make a subtle case for one big argument: aid really can help poor people, provided the money follows the evidence.”
 
Vancouver Sun, June 11, 2011


Fast Company, June 15, 2011
“Fascinating and captivating. Their work reads like a version of Freakonomics for the poor. There are insights into fighting global poverty from the remarkable and vital perspective of those whom we profess to serve…They remind us, I think, of our shared humanity and how at some fundamental levels we really do think alike.”
 
IndianExpress.com, June 18, 2011
“This is a welcome shift in methodology as it implicitly concedes the need to combine social science with hard economics.”
 
Outlook India, June 25, 2011
“It vividly, sensitively and rigorously brings alive the dilemmas of the poor as economic agents in a variety of contexts, whether as consumers or risk-takers. There are splendid chapters on a variety of topics that affect the poor: food, health, education, savings, micro-credit, insurance, risk and even some cursory observations on political behaviour.”
 


DNA (Daily News Analysis), India, September 24, 2011
“The book is full of such interesting insights and is worth reading for anyone who really wants to know why the poor of the world behave the way they do. And things are not always as bad as they are actually made out to be.”

Hindustan Times
, September 24, 2011
“[A] remarkably noses-on-the-ground book”
 
Livemint.com October 4, 2011
“There is no better place to solve the problem than the place where the problem is. One of the better economics books this year, Poor Economics, is by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo who found economic solutions to problems by being in India, Indonesia, Kenya, etc.”
 
James Pressley, Bloomberg
“An enlightening look at what randomized control trials, such as those used to assess new medicines, tell us about the behavior of impoverished people -- and how to help them. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology economists describe the rational motivations that underpin “irrational” decisions. We meet, for example, Moroccan villagers who find money to buy televisions, DVD players and cell phones when they can’t afford enough food.”
 
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, PRI’s Marketplace



The New York Times
, May 19, 2011
“Randomized trials are the hottest thing in the fight against poverty, and two excellent new books have just come out by leaders in the field. One is “Poor Economics,” by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo… These terrific books move the debate to the crucial question: What kind of aid works best?”
 
The Guardian, May 18, 2011
“Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo's book, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, is making waves in development circles. Beyond the strong focus on randomised control trials, the book distinguishes itself by wading into issues on which the development community has often ignored or made uninformed guesses. These include the rationale behind the decisions made by the poor, whether they make the "best" decisions available, and how policymakers should respond.”
 
Matthew Yglesias, May 7, 2011


“This new book by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo eschews the ideology of both the right and the left, and focuses on what measurable evidence has to say about the often-conflicting myths that dominate discussion of international development.  The book is unusual, perhaps unique, in that the authors took a lot of time to talk to poor people about what they think and what they want.”
 


“They have a compelling argument that antipoverty programs can be effective if properly designed, and illustrate ways to test them to make sure they actually work. The writing style is accessible and engaging, but it’s not dumbed down or over-simplified. The complexity of the subject means that this book is taking me longer to read than other books, but I’ve found the effort genuinely rewarding.”
 
Kirkus Review, April 15, 2011
“Highly decorated economists Banerjee and Duflo (Economics/Massachusetts Institute of Technology) relay 15 years of research into a smart, engaging investigation of global poverty—and why we're failing to eliminate it…A refreshingly clear, well-structured argument against the standard approach to poverty, this book, while intended for academics and those working on the ground, should provide an essential wake-up call for any reader.”
 

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Edition edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586487981
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586487980
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 215 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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