Book Review: How Nations Succeed

Collin Constantine (SOAS) and I have recently published a book review of Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson’s (2001) famous Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty.’  Our paper finds significant flaws in the methodology employed by Acemoglu et al., for example with the proxies used for wealth in 1500, with the oversimplified historical framework it relies on, and with their idea of ‘institutions’. We argue that attributing successful development to private property rights obscures the complexity of development processes through history and that Acemoglu et al.’s understanding of ‘good institutions’ fails to capture the type of institutions that existed in the now advanced countries when they were developing.

Read the complete review in the 7th edition of The New School Economic Review (open access).

Author: Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven

Lecturer in International Development.

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