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Why Nations Fail Book Summary

Book Summary

By Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

15 min
Audio available


A strong democratic government is necessary to maintain long term economic development. Weak central governments will lead to fracturing, civil war, and poverty, while authoritarian governments will ultimately stagnate. Pluralist institutions encourage innovation and economic growth, while extractive institutions exploit their citizens, stifle innovation, and lead to underdevelopment. Because underdevelopment is not the result of a lack of funds or knowledge but is caused by extractive institutions and exploitative and corrupt elites, foreign aid and resources will not solve the problems of underdevelopment and poverty until the underlying issues with a nation’s political institutions are fixed.

About the Author

Daron Acemoglu is an economist and author. He is the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Previously, Acemoglu was a lecturer at the London School of Economics. He was the recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal in 2005. Acemoglu earned his MSc and Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. He holds a B.A. from the University of York.

James A. Robinson is an economist and political scientist. He is currently the Professor of Global Conflict Studies and University Professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. He is also the Institute Director at The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts.

Previously, Robinson has taught at Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Southern California, and the University of Melbourne. He holds a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Warwick and earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University. He earned a BSc from the London School of Economics.
book summary - Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

Why Nations Fail

Book Summary

15 min
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