Good Economics for Hard Times

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by Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo

The winners of the Nobel Prize show how economics, when done right, can help us solve the thorniest social and political problems of our day.

Figuring out how to deal with today's critical economic problems is perhaps the great challenge of our time. Much greater than space travel or perhaps even the next revolutionary medical breakthrough, what is at stake is the whole idea of the good life as we have known it.

Immigration and inequality, globalization and technological disruption, slowing growth and accelerating climate change--these are sources of great anxiety across the world, from New Delhi and Dakar to Paris and Washington, DC. The resources to address these challenges are there--what we lack are ideas that will help us jump the wall of disagreement and distrust that divides us. If we succeed, history will remember our era with gratitude; if we fail, the potential losses are incalculable.

In this revolutionary book, renowned MIT economists Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo take on this challenge, building on cutting-edge research in economics explained with lucidity and grace. Original, provocative, and urgent, Good Economics for Hard Times makes a persuasive case for an intelligent interventionism and a society built on compassion and respect. It is an extraordinary achievement, one that shines a light to help us appreciate and understand our precariously balanced world.

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Most people believed, correctly, that most normal North Africans tended to be relatively poor and therefore unlikely to be able to afford a new car, and on the basis of that statistical association their presumption was that the individual North African driver of a nice car was a criminal. Now they assume he is an Uber driver, which is clear progress.

— Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, Good Economics for Hard Times