For more than fifteen years Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo have worked with the poor in dozens of countries spanning five continents, trying to understand the specific problems that come with poverty and to find proven solutions. Their book is radical in its rethinking of the economics of poverty, but also entirely practical in the suggestions it offers. Through a careful analysis of a very rich body of evidence, including the hundreds of randomized control trials that Banerjee and Duflo’s lab has pioneered, they show why the poor, despite having the same desires and abilities as anyone else, end up with entirely different lives.
Through their work, Banerjee and Duflo look at some of the most surprising facets of poverty: why the poor need to borrow in order to save, why they miss out on free life-saving immunizations but pay for drugs that they do not need, why they start many businesses but do not grow any of them, and many other puzzling facts about living with less than 99 cents per day.
POOR ECONOMICS argues that so much of anti-poverty policy has failed over the years because of an inadequate understanding of poverty. The battle against poverty can be won, but it will take patience, careful thinking and a willingness to learn from evidence. Banerjee and Duflo are practical visionaries whose meticulous workoffers transformative potential for poor people anywhere, and is a vital guide to policy makers, philanthropists, activists and anyone else who cares about building a world without poverty.
"A marvellously insightful book by two outstanding researchers on the real nature of poverty."
—Amartya Sen, Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University and winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics
“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.”
—Steven D. Levitt, William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and author of Freakonomics
“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.”
—Robert Solow, Institute Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics
Abhijit V. Banerjee
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Harvard University. He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at MIT. Banerjee is a past president of the Bureau for Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society, and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. He is the recipient of many awards, including the inaugural Infosys Prize in 2009, and has been an honorary advisor to many organizations including the World Bank and the Government of India. Together with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard University, he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Labin 2003.
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Esther Duflo is Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics in the Department of Economics at MIT. She was educated at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, in Paris, and at MIT. She has received numerous honors and prizes including a John Bates Clark Medal for the best American economist under 40 in 2010, a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship in 2009. She was recognized as one of the best eight young economists by the Economist Magazine, one of the 100 most influential thinkers by Foreign Policy since the list exists, and one of the “forty under forty” most influential business leaders under forty by Fortune magazine in 2010. Together with Abhijit Banerjee and Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard University, she founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab in 2003.
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