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Prosperity and Politics

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MIT economist Daron Acemoglu and Harvard political scientist and economist James A. Robinson have written a book, Why Nations Fail, that doesn’t have a single equation in it. This is a remarkable feat for a 529-page book with five Nobel Laureate endorsements inside the front cover. There is nothing wrong with equations and regressions, but, when economists reduce the world to a model, it means that they are abstracting from some of the very real messiness of the economy, messiness that may actually be important. So, it is exciting to see new economic scholarship that is both accessible to the public and does not require understanding mathematical models.

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This article was originally published in Dissent.

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