Why Nations Fail is one of the best books I have read all year. Authors Acemoglu and Robinson insist that “development differences across countries are exclusively due to differences in political and economic institutions, and reject other theories that attribute some of the differences to culture, weather, geography or lack of knowledge about the best policies and practices. For example, “Soviet Russia generated rapid growth as it caught up rapidly with some of the advanced technologies in the world [but] was running out of steam by the 1970s” because of a lack of creative destruction.
Daron Acemoglu is the Institute Professor in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has received a BA in economics at the University of York, 1989, M.Sc. in mathematical economics and econometrics at the London School of Economics, 1990, and Ph.D. in economics at the London School of Economics in 1992.
He was the recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal in 2005, awarded every two years to the best economist in the United States under the age of 40 by the American Economic Association, and the Erwin Plein Nemmers prize awarded every two years for work of lasting significance in economics. Professor Acemoglu’s areas of research include political economy, economic development and growth, human capital theory, growth theory, innovation, search theory, network economics and learning. His recent research focuses on the political, economic and social causes of differences in economic development across societies; the factors affecting the institutional and political evolution of nations; and how technology impacts growth and distribution of resources and is itself determined by economic and social incentives. In addition to scholarly articles, Daron Acemoglu has published four books: Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (joint with James A. Robinson), which was awarded the Woodrow Wilson and the William Riker prizes, Introduction to Modern Economic Growth, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (joint with James A. Robinson), which was a New York Times bestseller in 2012; and Principles of Economics (joint with David Laibson and John List).
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