Billions of government dollars, and thousands of charitable organizations and NGOs, are dedicated to helping the world's poor. But much of their work is based on assumptions that are untested generalizations at best, harmful misperceptions at worst.
Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo have pioneered the use of randomized control trials in development economics. Work based on these principles, supervised by the Poverty Action Lab, is being carried out in dozens of countries. Drawing on this and their 15 years of research from Chile to India, Kenya to Indonesia, they have identified wholly new aspects of the behavior of poor people, their needs, and the way that aid or financial investment can affect their lives. Their work defies certain presumptions: that microfinance is a cure-all, that schooling equals learning, that poverty at the level of 99 cents a day is just a more extreme version of the experience any of us have when our income falls uncomfortably low.
This important book illuminates how the poor live, and offers all of us an opportunity to think of a world beyond poverty.
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Amartya Sen "A marvellously insightful book by two outstanding researchers on the real nature of poverty."Steven D. Levitt"This book is a must-read for anyone who cares about world poverty. It has been years since I read a book that taught me so much. 'Poor Economics' represents the best that economics has to offer." Robert Solow"Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo are allergic to grand generalizations about the secret of economic development. Instead they appeal to many local observations and experiments to explore how poor people in poor countries actually cope with their poverty: what they know, what they seem (or don't seem) to want, what they expect of themselves and others, and how they make the choices that they can make. Apparently there are plenty of small but meaningful victories to be won, some through private and some through public action, that together could add up to a large gains for the world's poor, and might even start a ball rolling. I was fascinated and convinced." "Book Dwarf," February 14, 2011"They have a compelling argument that antipoverty programs can be effective if properly designed, and illustrate ways to test them to make sure they actually work. The writing style is accessible and engaging, but it's not dumbed down or over-simplified. The complexity of the subject means that this book is taking me longer to read than other books, but I've found the effort genuinely rewarding." "Kirkus Review," April 15, 2011"Highly decorated economists Banerjee and Duflo (Economics/Massachusetts Institute of Technology) relay 15 years of research into a smart, engaging investigation of global poverty--and why we're failing to eliminate it...A refreshingly clear, well-structured argument against the standard approach to poverty, this book, while intended for academics and those working on the ground, should provide an essential wake-up call for any reader." "The Guardian," April 11, 2011"[Banerjee and Duflo] offer a refreshingly original t