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Development Economics

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The Art of Policymaking in India

In December 2009, the economist Kaushik Basu left the rarefied world of academic research for the nuts and bolts of policymaking. Appointed by the then Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, to be chief economic adviser (CEA) to the Government of India, Basu—a theorist, with special interest in development economics, and a professor of economics at Cornell University—discovered the complexity of applying economic models to the real world. Effective policymaking, Basu learned, integrates technical knowledge with political awareness.

Latin America is richly endowed with natural resources, fertile land, and vibrant cultures. Yet the region remains much poorer than its neighbors to the north. Most Latin American countries have not achieved standards of living and stable institutions comparable to those found in developed countries, have experienced repeated boom-bust cycles, and remain heavily reliant on primary commodities.

With more than a billion people now living on less than a dollar a day, and with eight million dying each year because they are simply too poor to live, most would agree that the problem of global poverty is our greatest moral challenge. The large and pressing practical question is how best to address that challenge.

Perspectives on Randomized Trials in Development Economics

The practice of development economics has undergone something of a revolution as many economists have adopted new methods to answer perennial questions about the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs. In this book, prominent development economists discuss the use and impact of one of the most significant of these new methods, randomized control trials (RCTs) and field experiments.

Lessons from Nigeria

Corrupt, mismanaged, and seemingly hopeless: that’s how the international community viewed Nigeria in the early 2000s. Then Nigeria implemented a sweeping set of economic and political changes and began to reform the unreformable. This book tells the story of how a dedicated and politically committed team of reformers set out to fix a series of broken institutions, and in the process repositioned Nigeria’s economy in ways that helped create a more diversified springboard for steadier long-term growth.

Mapping Paths to Prosperity

Why do some countries grow and others do not? The authors of The Atlas of Economic Complexity offer readers an explanation based on "Economic Complexity," a measure of a society’s productive knowledge. Prosperous societies are those that have the knowledge to make a larger variety of more complex products. The Atlas of Economic Complexity attempts to measure the amount of productive knowledge countries hold and how they can move to accumulate more of it by making more complex products.

One lens through which to view global economic interdependence and the spillover of shocks is that of decoupling (and then recoupling). Decoupling between developed and developing countries can be seen in the strong economic performance of China and India relative to that of the United States and Europe in the early 2000s. Recoupling then took place as developing countries sank along with the developed world during the deepening financial crisis of 2008.

Recursive Partnerships and Infrastructures

In Monitoring Movements in Development Aid, Casper Jensen and Brit Winthereik consider the processes, social practices, and infrastructures that are emerging to monitor development aid, discussing both empirical phenomena and their methodological and analytical challenges. Jensen and Winthereik focus on efforts by aid organizations to make better use of information technology; they analyze a range of development aid information infrastructures created to increase accountability and effectiveness.

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.

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.

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