Why Nations Fail
By Daron Acemoglu and James A Robinson
Review by Toni (PPE)
I love this book. It’s likely that any aspiring student of economics will also love this book. So, this review is mostly going to argue why any prospective economist should read Why Nations Fail.
Firstly, Why Nations Fail deals with one of the most exciting aspects of economics — developmental economics. This field is thrilling because it tries to answer one of the most interesting questions that economics has to offer: why are some countries richer than others? Furthermore, this book builds on the pivotal work done by the developmental economist Douglas North.
Secondly, this book is incredibly accessible as every economic concept used is thoroughly explained and the language used is often very easy to follow. This really is a very important factor in my recommendation of this book. This is because some other econ books can be so overly pretentious with their arguments, and they assume so much previous knowledge from their readers. Consequently, this dramatically reduces the readers’ enjoyment of the book as it is mostly incomprehensible to them.
Thirdly, Why Nations Fail does not solely focus on economic theory. This is excellent because 450 pages filled with maths-inspired theory can be rather daunting. In fact, there is no maths involved. This is good news because there is plenty of time whilst you do your degree to develop your mathematical techniques. Instead, this book is very helpful to novice economists because it really expands your intuition about some of the more difficult questions on the subject.
Moreover, there are clear links between economics and politics throughout the book. This is a positive thing because it expands your overall understanding of the issue of development. This is because there are very various forces at play and to simply focus on economics would do a disservice to understanding the development problem. So, this book puts a big emphasis on political institutions and their effect on a country’s development. There is a big focus on the distinction between extractive and inclusive institutions.
Overall, Why Nations Fail is a great book filled with lots of relevant examples. This is amazing because it really expands your contextual understanding of the issue of development. Personally, I decided to study economics for the cliché reason that I want to understand how the world works better. This book certainly helped improve my understanding of that and it will probably improve your understanding as well.
Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A Robinson
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Published: 28 March 2023