Poor Economics: TED Talk by Esther Duflo

This is part of the DR Book Collection.

Image result for poor economicsIf readers couldn’t tell, economics and the condition of the global poor are topics dear to my heart. Overall, I believe that globalization–particularly free trade and liberal immigration–benefits the least well off. But this largely looks at the problem from a broad, institutional standpoint. Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo looks at the nitty-gritty details of the world’s poorest, providing the on-the-ground data necessary for constructing successful anti-poverty policies. The authors find five key factors that keep the poor trapped in poverty:

  1. Information deficiency: the poor often lack information, such as the benefits of immunization or early education.
  2. Lack of access: the poor lack access to things taken for granted by the non-poor: clean water, financial institutions, etc. They therefore bear the responsibility for all of these aspects.
  3. Missing markets: the conditions for favorable markets to emerge are often lacking, thus depriving the poor of their benefits.
  4. The Three ‘I’s: it’s not conspiratorial elites, but the ignorance, ideology and inertia of policymakers that lead to failing policies.
  5. Self-fulfilling prophecies: low expectations of both politicians and the poor themselves provide no incentive to improve and thus create self-fulfilling prophecies.

The book was eye-opening to say the least. You can see a TED talk by Esther Duflo below.