Economic development is often associated with arbitrary historical events or cultural oddities. The reality is much more complex, and two of the leading political economists of our age, Acemoglu and Robinson, go to great lengths to proof that institutions often play a decisive but invisible role in the success and failure of nations. The authors of Why Nations Fail spice up dry econometrics and empirical data with numerous historical and political examples, composing an entertaining read and defending an interesting thesis. Unlike many recent “pop-economics” books, one is never under the impression that the authors are oversimplifying or treating the reader as immature. Nevertheless, they also steer clear from an overtly academic tone, significantly lightening the book’s 500+ pages. Why is this book important? Because it highlights and aspect of politics and international relations which is often underplayed in day-to-day activities: the “soul” of institutions beyond its members. It also gives a fresh perspective on development policies.
Why Nations Fail, by D. Acemoglu and J. Robinson. 560 pages.