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Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  252 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Meet the economic gangster. He's the United Nations diplomat who double-parks his Mercedes on New York City streets at rush hour because the cops can't touch him--he has diplomatic immunity. He's the Chinese smuggler who dodges tariffs by magically transforming frozen chickens into frozen turkeys. The dictator, the warlord, the unscrupulous bureaucrat who bilks the develop ...more
ebook, 264 pages
Published January 4th 2010 by Princeton University Press (first published September 2nd 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 556)
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Written by a protege of Jeff Sachs, this book adopts a quasi-travelogue "you are there" approach to reporting on the economic underpinnings and implications of the various seemingly noneconomic challenges facing the poor in the Global South. It's not really a book about development, so much as it us a book about global poverty, and it's basic thesis is right there in the title: the central source of the miseries of the world's poor (from civil wars to climate change to witchcraft persecutions) i ...more
Jul 16, 2009 Vince rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I might be a little unkind in my rating as I went into the book with high expectations, an internation freakonomics, and the book falls short. Some of the data is mis interperted. For example the writers go on how when Indonesia's ruler was sick certain stocks went down. They assumed that this meant that these companies were involved with corruption to a greater level than others. That could be true or it could be that the markets just assume new leadership might make changes that would impact d ...more
Curt Buchmeier
Pretty good read, found my mind wandering after about 5 pages or thereabouts so it took me awhile to get thru this one. Tough subject; trying to scientifically measure corruption in various parts of the world. I commend the authors for a noble effort. Economists are not known for page-turners. When I heard about the premise on goodreads, I had to give it a shot & glad I did. I would recommend to others interested in social justice. Beyond documenting various forms of corruption & out &am ...more
Ami Iida
Jun 20, 2015 Ami Iida rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: economics incentives, economics development
Shelves: economics
This book is useful to think about the economic incentives.
Jul 27, 2015 Arbraxan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Economic Gangsters, written by Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel, is a highly readable account of how violence and corruption keep poor countries poor. The book reads like a tour through many hallmarks of state-of-the-art research in development economics and conflict studies. Therein, Fisman and Miguel show how statistical techniques can be used to analyse a variety of criminal behaviors. These behaviors include but are not limited to the corrupt relationships between politicians and businessmen ...more
Jun 08, 2012 Jay rated it liked it
"Research has so far been more successful in figureing out how wars start than understanding how to make peace hold."
Oct 14, 2010 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 52-in-2010
Economic Gangsters by Raymond Fisman and Raymond Miguel (pp. 240)

Billed as another thought provoking, popular science offering following the best seller, Freakeconomics, Fisman and Miguel fall far short of the mark. The promo that got me was an interview with the charismatic authors who discussed how mimes were used in Columbia to curb traffic violations. This is by far the most novel detail based on their central premise – and turned out to be like movie previews delivering the (only) funny lin
Jan 06, 2009 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extremely well-written book with thorough citations and topics that don't need to be sensationalized (and are not) in order to be interesting. I was really impressed with how the authors reworked their papers for a general audience, with explanations that are understandable to non-economists, and good refreshers for the rest.

Misters Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel tackle the issues of corruption and poverty in ingenious ways. They look for correlations between stock market prices and politic
The most intriguing aspect of this well written book by two academic development economists is their discussion of the methods and materials they and other economists used in studying such issues as all pervasive corruption in Indonesia during the Suharto regime in Indonesia; how large scale smuggling from Hong Kong to Mainland China (entire container loads of goods falsely identified as holding similar but less taxed items) is done and why Botswana is the one of the few countries in sub-Sahara ...more
"As Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel explain at the beginning of their book, there are two main currents of thinking among those who opine on the wisdom of foreign aid: the ""poverty trap"" view, which holds that aid must be injected to end a vicious cycle in which inability to save leads to disaster in lean years, and the view that more such aid is simply sending good money after bad, straight into the hands of corrupt officials to be funneled away or otherwise wasted. Fisman and Miguel aim to ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Douglas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
1CTake all you can and give nothing back 1D has been a prevailing motto throughout history. Fisman and Miguel enter the daunting task of explaining and understanding the age old problem of greed and corruption within society. A thought provoking look at the global problem; yet, the problems still remains. How do you treat an illness when the cause is still unknown? Does poverty breed corruption, greed, and violence or vice versa?
Margaret Sankey
From two development economists, popularizations of their papers measuring, bribes by following the share prices of companies owned by children of dictators through the health crises of the dictators, correlating UN parking tickets with the international index of corruption, suggesting small tariff changes that close loopholes like the chicken-turkey Chinese scam, mapping the disastrous effects of shrinking Lake Chad, examining Tanzania's anti-witch-hunting programs (giving old women enough in p ...more
Aug 13, 2016 Tomas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Primena mano rašinius mokykloje. Rašiniai geri, bet knygos iš jų lipdyti nebūtina. Ekonominiai aspektai kai kurie gan įdomus, bet apskritai dėstymas padraikas, prioritetai keisti.. Išsikrovinėja telefonas, tai daugiau nebestumsiu.
Sep 19, 2010 Max rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had a couple of interesting enough sections. The theme, I would say, is a bit "Freakonomics for Development." I like the concept a lot, obviously. The execution leaves a bit to be desired. While I like development and statistical analysis, the book never really manages to be that interesting.

Still, it had a few interesting parts; I particularly enjoyed the chapter about how rainfall patterns in Africa may be causing violence and civil war. Also, the prose was clear and easy-to-read.

Jan 23, 2010 Bruno rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the development of nations
Shelves: economics
Corruption, violence, crime plague many developing (and even developed, actually) economies, but some seem better able to deal with those problems and escape the poverty trap.

This book takes a look at some of the more recent theories explaining the issues as well as the effectiveness of the solutions, and does so in a very entertaining, "freakonomics"-way.

It's also rather brief and to the , so I strongly recommended it to whoever is interested in the development of nations, and why some remain p
Andrew Sebastian
File Under: Structural, Cultural, and Fiscal Imbalances
Although I do commend Authors for making a noble effort in trying to measure corruption, I do not think that this is one of the best books on the subject. For a short book, I particularly did not like the amount of time they spent on pointing out relationship between foreign diplomats number of parking tickets and their countries corruption perceptions index (CPI). A decent one time read.
Sebastian Uribe
Jun 10, 2016 Sebastian Uribe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un entretenido y revelador libro de economía. Aparentemente inofensivo, sus argumentos e ideas son de una poderosa fuerza capaz de cambiar nuestra perspectiva sobre las causas del desarrollo y crecimiento de gran parte del mundo.Recomendable para aquellos interesados en ahondar en temas de la relación entre la criminalidad, la pobreza y la corrupcion
Sep 10, 2009 Russ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned...when it fails to rain civil wars in Africa get worse. Old women in Africa are more likely to be accused of witchcraft when the crops fail. Chinese smugglers call chickens "turkeys" so they can pay less tariff charges. And many other little known useful facts.
Aug 14, 2010 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A look at the complex interplay between culture, corruption, support, and economics. I had hoped this book was going to provide more answers than it did... but I think it would help people develop a more nuanced understanding of how these forces interact."
Very interesting study on the causes of poverty. Not the best written and there were things that should have been included that weren't, but I learned a lot. E.g., did you know African nations are more likely to to have a civil war the year after a drought?
I enjoyed this while I was reading it, but now (a few months later) I'd be hardpressed to recall any of it. For whatever that's worth. I guess it didn't totally capture me.
Sep 15, 2012 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many interesting stories, well researched. They keep you guessing about the thesis until the conclusion, but then tie it all together quite well.
Sep 28, 2010 Jordin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heavy focus on Africa, which is not an area I'm particulary interested in. Chapter on tariff evasion in China was excellent.
Apr 22, 2010 Nelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book by Edward Miguel. I do still like his RCPS programs. Believe it has a lot of potential if well applied.
Mar 09, 2013 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
Take a look at the world, through the eyes of an economist; it is very informative.
Franklin Parker
Details the culture of corruption that exists in many areas of the world
Apr 21, 2012 Manoj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit detailed and dull, but nevertheless a good book.
Jul 23, 2012 Tricia added it
thought it was great for people interested in corruption.
Oct 21, 2008 Lianna marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
i want to be one
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