Guide The Elusive Quest for Growth : Economists Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics

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The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics / Edition 1

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Established seller since Seller Inventory WM Revised ed. Language: English. Brand new Book. 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.

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Bookseller Inventory ST Seller Inventory ST William R. Easterly ; William Easterly. Publisher: MIT Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.

View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Why economists' attempts to help poorer countries improve their economic well-being have failed. Review : A highly readable and iconoclastic treatment of the determinants of economic growth. Buy New Learn more about this copy. Because shortfalls would elicit increased loans and donors demonstrated little interest in revoking aid, there was little incentive for states to improve their policies.

Easterly suggests that aid should be tied to prior achievement rather than promises of political leaders, and that aid should increase with further improvement similar to the incentive structure of the Earned Income Tax Credit. The second section of the book outlines how the poor often do see incentives to invest in their futures.

Bad luck, poverty traps, and corrupt governments plague individual efforts to overcome poverty. Easterly argues that "getting incentives right is not itself another new panacea for development. It is a principle that has to be implemented bit by bit, stripping away the encrusted layers of vested interests with the wrong incentives, giving entry to new people with the right incentives.

Easterly writes that it is very difficult for poor individuals to break free from the poverty trap because of "knowledge leaks" and "knowledge matching".


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Knowledge yields external benefits to a society in that an idea is worth more to a society the more knowledge exists in that society and it is worth more when matched with others with similar expertise. This is an example of economies of agglomeration. When a society is full of knowledge and there are various fields of expertise, individuals have more incentive to invest in education.


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But if the society is bereft of knowledge, individuals face little incentive to invest, or if they do, will likely leave the economy in a brain drain. According to Easterly, governments can help overcome poverty traps by subsidizing investment in new knowledge, reducing taxes on capital goods and technology, and actively seeking private investment.

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According to Easterly, "the prime suspect for mucking up incentives is government. However, good government can promote broad and deep growth when it holds itself accountable and "energetically takes up the task of investing in collective goods like health, education, and the rule of law. The Economist called it a "refreshing, iconoclastic book" which would leave its readers "chastened, instructed and entertained.

In the years following publication of Elusive Quest for Growth , Easterly became embroiled in a public debate with rival development economist Jeffrey Sachs over the role of foreign aid.

The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Journal of Economic Literature. XL 3 : — The Economist. March 28,