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Development Economics

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This rigorous and comprehensive textbook develops a basic small open economy model and shows how it can be extended to answer many important macroeconomic questions that arise in emerging markets and developing economies, particularly those regarding monetary, fiscal, and exchange rate issues. Eschewing the complex calibrated models on which the field of international finance increasingly relies, the book teaches the reader how to think in terms of simple models and grasp the fundamentals of open economy macroeconomics.

After analyzing the standard intertemporal small open economy model, the book introduces frictions such as imperfect capital markets, intertemporal distortions, and nontradable goods, into the basic model in order to shed light on the economy’s response to different shocks. The book then introduces money into the model to analyze the real effects of monetary and exchange rate policy. It then applies these theoretical tools to a variety of important macroeconomic issues relevant to developing countries (and, in a world of continuing financial crisis, to industrial countries as well), including the use of a nominal interest rate as a main policy instrument, the relative merits of flexible and predetermined exchange rate regimes, and the targeting of “real anchors.” Finally, the book analyzes in detail specific topics such as inflation stabilization, “dollarization,” balance of payments crises, and, inspired by recent events, financial crises. Each chapter includes boxes with relevant empirical evidence and ends with exercises. The book is suitable for use in graduate courses in development economics, international finance, and macroeconomics.

The Townsend Thai Project

Running since 1997 and continuing today, the Townsend Thai Project has tracked millions of observations about the economic activities of households and institutions in rural and urban Thailand. The project represents one of the most extensive datasets in the developing world. Chronicles from the Field offers an account of the design and implementation of this unique panel data survey. It tells the story not only of the origins and operations of the project but also of the challenges and rewards that come from a search to understand the process of a country’s economic development.

The book explains the technical details of data collection and survey instruments but emphasizes the human side of the project, describing the culture shock felt by city-dwelling survey enumerators in rural villages, the “surprising, eye-opening, and inspiring” responses to survey questions, and the never-ending resourcefulness of the survey team. The text is supplemented by an epilogue on research findings and policy recommendations and an appendix that contains a list and abstracts of published and working papers, organized by topic, using data from the project.

Social and economic policies are too often skewed by political considerations. The Townsend Thai Project offers another basis for policy: accurate measurement based on thoroughly collected data. From this, a clear template emerges for understanding poverty and alleviating it.

The microfinance revolution has allowed more than 150 million poor people around the world to receive small loans without collateral, build up assets, and buy insurance. The idea that providing access to reliable and affordable financial services can have powerful economic and social effects has captured the imagination of policymakers, activists, bankers, and researchers around the world; the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize went to microfinance pioneer Muhammed Yunis and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. This book offers an accessible and engaging analysis of the global expansion of financial markets in poor communities. It introduces readers to the key ideas driving microfinance, integrating theory with empirical data and addressing a range of issues, including savings and insurance, the role of women, impact measurement, and management incentives. This second edition has been updated throughout to reflect the latest data. A new chapter on commercialization describes the rapid growth in investment in microfinance institutions and the tensions inherent in the efforts to meet both social and financial objectives. The chapters on credit contracts, savings and insurance, and gender have been expanded substantially; a new section in the chapter on impact measurement describes the growing importance of randomized controlled trials; and the chapter on managing microfinance offers a new perspective on governance issues in transforming institutions. Appendixes and problem sets cover technical material.

The urgency of reducing poverty in the developing world has been the subject of a public campaign by such unlikely policy experts as George Clooney, Alicia Keyes, Elton John, Angelina Jolie, and Bono. And yet accompanying the call for more foreign aid is an almost universal discontent with the effectiveness of the existing aid system. In Reinventing Foreign Aid, development expert William Easterly has gathered top scholars in the field to discuss how to improve foreign aid. These authors, Easterly points out, are not claiming that their ideas will (to invoke a current slogan) Make Poverty History. Rather, they take on specific problems and propose some hard-headed solutions.

Easterly himself, in an expansive and impassioned introductory chapter, makes a case for the "searchers"—who explore solutions by trial and error and learn from feedback—over the "planners"—who throw an endless supply of resources at a big goal—as the most likely to reduce poverty. Other writers look at scientific evaluation of aid projects (including randomized trials) and describe projects found to be cost-effective, including vaccine delivery and HIV education; consider how to deal with the government of the recipient state (work through it or bypass a possibly dysfunctional government?); examine the roles of the International Monetary Fund (a de facto aid provider) and the World Bank; and analyze some new and innovative proposals for distributing aid.

Abhijit Banerjee, Nancy Birdsall, Craig Burnside, Esther Duflo, Domenico Fanizza, William Easterly, Ruimin He, Kurt Hoffman, Stephen Knack, Michael Kremer, Mari Kuraishi, Ruth Levine, Bertin Martens, John McMillan, Edward Miguel, Jonathan Morduch, Todd Moss, Gunilla Pettersson, Lant Pritchett, Steven Radelet, Aminur Rahman, Ritva Reinikka, Jakob Svensson, Nicolas van de Walle, James Vreeland, Dennis Whittle, Michael Woolcock.

Essays in the Political and Institutional Economics of Development

This wide-ranging review of some of the major issues in development economics focuses on the role of economic and political institutions. Drawing on the latest findings in institutional economics and political economy, Pranab Bardhan, a leader in the field of development economics, offers a relatively nontechnical discussion of current thinking on these issues from the viewpoint of poor countries, synthesizing recent research and reflecting on where we stand today.

The institutional framework of an economy defines and constrains the opportunities of individuals, determines the business climate, and shapes the incentives and organizations for collective action on the part of communities; Pranab Bardhan finds the institutional framework to be relatively weak in many poor countries. Institutional failures, weak accountability mechanisms, and missed opportunities for cooperative problem-solving become the themes of the book, with the role of distributive conflicts in the persistence of dysfunctional institutions a common thread.

Special issues taken up include the institutions for securing property rights and resolving coordination failures; the structural basis of power; commitment devices and political accountability; the complex relationship between democracy and poverty (with examples from India, where both have been durable); decentralization and devolution of power; persistence of corruption; ethnic conflicts; and impediments to collective action. Formal models are largely avoided, except in two chapters where Bardhan briefly introduces new models to elucidate currently under-researched areas. Other chapters review existing models, emphasizing the essential ideas rather than the formal details. Thus the book will be valuable not only for economists but also for social scientists and policymakers.

This second edition of an innovative undergraduate text offers an approach to understanding different economic systems that reflects both recent transformations in the world economy and recent changes in the field of Comparative Economic Systems. The traditional way of teaching comparative economics, with its reliance on relatively simple dichotomies (private vs. state, planning vs. market) does not take into consideration the many variants and mixtures of economic systems that exist in the real world. The Rossers' introduction in the first edition of the concept of the "new traditional economy" -- the effort by a developing country to embed a modern economic system into a traditional culture, usually religious -- presented a new way to look at developing economies. Their innovative examination of Iran and its effort to develop a "revolutionary Islamic economy" as an alternative to market capitalism illustrates the use of this new tool in comparative economics.After a four-chapter theoretical and historical overview, the book focuses on fifteen country studies, organized by economic system. The chapters on advanced market capitalism examine the economies of the United States (a chapter new to this edition) Japan, France, Sweden, and Germany. The chapters examining transition in former socialist economies discuss Russia, the former Soviet Republics, Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia (including expanded treatment of the most successful transition economy, that of Slovenia), and China. The chapters in the final section of the book discuss "alternative paths" taken by the developing economies of Iran, India (its complex mix of socialism, capitalism, and tradition is examined in a chapter new to this edition), Mexico, and South and North Korea. The book concludes with a look at future trends that will continue to transform the world economy.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: instructor's manual

The Less Developed Economy Revisited

Virtually all industrialized nations have annual per capita incomes greater than $15,000; meanwhile, over three billion people, more than half the worlds population, live in countries with per capita incomes of less than $700. Development economics studies the economies of such countries and the problems they face, including poverty, chronic underemployment, low wages, rampant inflation, and oppressive international debt. In the past two decades, the international debt crisis, the rise of endogenous growth theory, and the tremendous success of some Asian economies have generated renewed interest in development economics, and the field has grown and changed dramatically.

Although Analytical Development Economics deals with theoretical development economics, it is closely grounded in reality. The author draws on a wide range of evidence, including some gathered by himself in the village of Nawadih in the state of Bihar, India, where—in huts and fields, and in front of the village tea stall—he talked with landlords, tenants, moneylenders, and landless laborers. The author presents theoretical results in such a way that those doing empirical work can go out and test the theories.

The book is a revision of Basu's The Less Developed Economy: A Critique of Contemporary Theory (Blackwell, 1984). The new edition, which has several new chapters and sections, incorporates recent theoretical advances in its comprehensive, up-to-date treatment of the subject. It is intended primarily as a textbook for a one-semester graduate course, but will also be of interest to researchers in economic development and to policymakers.

Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics

Since the end of World War II, economists have tried to figure out how poor countries in the tropics could attain standards of living approaching those of countries in Europe and North America. Attempted remedies have included providing foreign aid, investing in machines, fostering education, controlling population growth, and making aid loans as well as forgiving those loans on condition of reforms. None of these solutions has delivered as promised. The problem is not the failure of economics, William Easterly argues, but the failure to apply economic principles to practical policy work.

In this book Easterly shows how these solutions all violate the basic principle of economics, that people—private individuals and businesses, government officials, even aid donors—respond to incentives. Easterly first discusses the importance of growth. He then analyzes the development solutions that have failed. Finally, he suggests alternative approaches to the problem. Written in an accessible, at times irreverent, style, Easterly's book combines modern growth theory with anecdotes from his fieldwork for the World Bank.


These two volumes of readings attempt to bring some degree of structure to a relatively diffuse field. Because of the sheer volume of high-quality work in development economics research, they are intended as a sampling of work at the frontier of the field, rather than as a comprehensive overview.

Volume I: Micro-Theory focuses on theoretical work. Topics covered include sharecropping as a principle-agent problem, fragmented duopolies, credit market imperfections, poverty traps, peer monitoring in credit cooperatives, coordination failures, human capital accumulation as an engine of growth, and environmental issues in development.

In this book Deepak Lal outlines and assesses the validity of a set of beliefs about third world economic development that underlies the thinking of many politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, and academics in both developing and developed countries. He describes the various elements of this "Dirigiste Dogma" and shows how it inevitably breeds corruption. According to Lal, only a market-based liberal economic order can solve the age-old problem of structural mass poverty. Its significant institutional bases include transparent financial systems and sufficiently deep financial markets to allow the hedging of foreign currency risk, and either a floating or rigidly fixed exchange rate.

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