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Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  6,287 ratings  ·  757 reviews
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 acceleratin
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Kindle Edition, 417 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by PublicAffairs
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Stefanos It has a couple "back of the napkin" graphs in the second chapter. You wouldn't be missing anything if you listened to this book as an audiobook. …moreIt has a couple "back of the napkin" graphs in the second chapter. You wouldn't be missing anything if you listened to this book as an audiobook. (less)

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Jason Furman
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has a huge amount of good economics. It surveys a wide range of areas: labor, tax, growth, politics, immigration, trade, and generally provides up-to-date discussions of some of the latest literature. The discussions of development--particularly India--are subtle, nuanced and thought provoking. A lot of the evidence is in the form of randomized control trials (RCTs), Abhijit Baanerjee and Esther Duflo are as committed to the method and process as they are to any particular conclusions. ...more
Jean
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is written by a husband and wife team who just won the Nobel Prize in Economics.

The book is well written and researched. In fact, it is surprisingly easy to read and understand for a lay person. The authors take a global approach to the subject. What impressed me was the fact they actually did research and analyzed data to find out what worked or not. They examined the most crucial issues the world faces such as migration, trade wars, inequality and climate change. They said “the book’
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Roy Lotz
Economics is too important to be left to economists.

After listening to a series of lectures on introductory economics, I was struck by the degree to which the basic logic of supply and demand was used to make sweeping pronouncements about human behavior and economic policy. The lecturer, starting from the premise that supply and demand is inexorable, would rule out certain policies as working against the market, while promoting those he considered ‘market-friendly.’ But rarely did he stop to
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Thomas
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
First I need to get this out of my system: incredibly funny to me that it’s taken us this long before the Nobel prize winners for economics of the year were two mfers who simply asked “what if we tried being nice to the poor?”

This book is intriguing in its writing, it gets props on that for sure. It’s fun to read and interesting despite what its ideas might contain.

As for the economics, there’s a lot of Keynesian revivalism because two ding dong economists finally figured out that 40 years of
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Geronimo Mansutti
Apr 02, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Good Economics for Hard Times? More like Bad Dogmas for a Boring Read.

This book is more of a political pamphlet than a serious economic analysis of the important issues. The authors are both radical left-wingers (they don't even try to hide it, to their credit), whose answer to every problem in the world is "more government would fix it".

The book is full of sexism, racism and anti-science comments. In both the preface and chapters 2, 3 and 4 they describe Trump supporters as ignorant racists t
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Greta
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The ultimate anti Trump and right populism book

The couple Banerjee and Duflo won the Nobel prize in economics and they start this book with the claim, that we trust our prejudices and opinions more than we trust economists, even when presented with counter arguments. That is why this book shows us how economist come to their conclusions, while looking at extremely relevant and controversial topics of world politics, pointing out where persumptions don‘t line up with reality. The authors are not
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Ryan Boissonneault
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Aristotle warned us against expecting more precision from a subject than it allows. As Aristotle wrote, “for it is the mark of an educated mind to seek only so much exactness in each type of inquiry as may be allowed by the nature of the subject-matter.”

The idea that economics commands the same level of precision as physics has led to the perpetuation of several misconceptions and dogmas. That the authors fully understand this is a testament to the book. The authors are not dogmatic, nor are the
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Mehrsa
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview of new ways economists are looking at global problems and challenging some problem myths. Also, they won the nobel prize so you should read their book
Daniel
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I totally enjoyed Banerjee’s Poor Economics, and it was no surprise he was honored with the Nobel price in economics. Here he shared good economics answers for tough questions.

1. Migration. Evidence: migrants do not lower the wages of the poor, because they are also consumers thus increasing both the supply and demand for work. Solution: we should encourage migration.

2. Trade: Evidence: gains from international trade is only 2.5% GDP for big and self sufficient countries like America, but matt
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Laurent Franckx
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's one of those interesting twists of fate that Banerjee and Duflo won the Nobel Prize in economics (together with Michael Kremer) a few days after having published their second book targeting a non-specialist audience.
Professors Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer won their prize “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”. In short, defying the idea that economics is not suited for the experimental approach, they set up randomized controlled trials (such as is the golden standard
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Wick Welker
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Confirming to me that economics is an entirely uncertain science.

I definitely enjoyed this but have a lot of reservations about the certainty of literally anything that was said in these pages. This is a book unabashedly written by two economists with a liberal view about how to improve wealth gap and poverty. The is a very subjective analysis of the reasons behind declining economic systems and the poverty that they perpetrate. I don't necessarily disagree with anything said, but as someone who
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John Calhoun
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I learned some interesting factual tidbits from this book, which succeeded best at gathering research findings (especially RCTs, the forte of the authors) in one place. However, I ultimately didn't find a lot of the authors' broader conclusions particularly compelling. And, in many places, I think the authors glossed over nuance too quickly/too unthinkingly liberally.

I agreed with the authors' opening chapter, which makes the point that policy/economics matters and that paying attention to resea
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Wendelle
some key takeaways:
1)influx of immigration is more likely to depress opportunities for high-skilled native workers than low-skilled native workers
2)low-skilled immigration doesn't drive down low-skilled wages because they produce accompanying effect of increase in demand in low-skilled labor (because they also buy stuff and spend money in their new host country)
3) free trade is good, but only if beneficiaries of comparative advantage within society (usually those possessing capital in rich count
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Miebara Jato
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Esther and Abhijit are couples. They are also the 2019 winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics. In their previous book, Poor Economics, the duo set new outlines for fighting global poverty and help developing countries improve everything from school enrollment to immunisation rates. This current book examines the current global challenges with a broad analysis of available economic research. The authors methodically proffered humane and unambiguous solutions to these crucial problems humanity pr
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Laura Noggle
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, nonfiction
The authors are a husband and wife team who won the Nobel Prize in Economics “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

“Herd behavior generates informational cascades: the information on which the first people base their decision will have an outsized influence on what all the others believe.”
Veronica
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics, readerly
The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum all manner of morbid symptoms appear.
Gramsci

- An influx of new workers will shift the demand curve right since the newcomers spend money and thus increase overall consumption. The influx increases the demand for labor and increases the supply of laborers. With the arrival of migrants, native low-skilled workers may engage in occupational upgrading: employers reorganize production to make effective use of the new workers.
“There is
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Otto Lehto
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Much like their previous book, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, Good Economics for Hard Times is a fluently structured and eloquently written piece of popular economics. It synthesizes a wide reading of the theoretical and empirical literature. It is full of insights, wide in scope, and moderate in tone. Its policy conclusions straddle the line between economic elitism and populism. On the one hand, the authors respect economic expertise enough to follow i ...more
Pratibha Jadeja
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Economics is too important to be left to economists."

"We, the economists, are often too wrapped up in our models and our methods and sometimes forget where science ends and ideology begins."

What stood out for me in this remarkable book is Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo's humility. The book focuses on policy debates and topics that receive enormous media attention- immigration, trade and tariffs, inequality, taxation, etc. But the way it does is by building enough historical context, explaini
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Marks54
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book by the two most recent winners of the Nobel Prize for economics. They are husband and wife and they have made their careers by studying economics largely among poor people
(a southern rather than northern focus). They also coauthored “Poor Economics”, which also is well worth reading. They are highly unusual among the economists who gain the most traction in the US for multiple reasons: 1) they do experiments (RCTs), 2) they are interested in how theory and practice fit together,
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Rick Wilson
One of the few books I’ve gotten from the library, and then gone out and purchased. Ever since throwing away “the Wealth of Nations“ in disgust after no mention of the “MIGHTY invisible hand of the market” in the first three pages, I have been thoughtfully skeptical of economics, economists, and other various future predicting folk. (That’s sarcasm and I’ve been told economists don’t understand it)

And to be honest, the biggest drawback of reading this book is the stark relief it throws other eco
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Leah
Feb 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Enjoyed it. Pretty interesting and informative on labor markets, imports/exports, poor/rich, country policies, racism, economists opinions very different than avg population.
Daisy Homolka
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best book I’ve read in a long time - probably partly because it so accurately sums up my own feelings and opinions about the world but doesn’t make it any less worthwhile to read. Will be recommending to anyone who will listen
Andrew
Good Economics for Hard Times, by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, is an interesting book on some pressing economic and political issues that the world is facing, and some tentative solutions. The authors discuss immigration, free trade, behavioural economics, declining rates of growth, environmental disaster, AI and technology, government and anti-government, and welfare and wealth inequality. The authors use numerous case studies and RTD's to analyze policy experiments from the US, to Ind ...more
Polly Roth
Some interesting ideas with lots of studies to back them up. Our present looks pretty bleak in their eyes. I'm less confident than they are that we can fix it, lol. ...more
Tatsuhiro Sato
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars
First of all neither I am the right person nor I would be able to review this masterpiece in a way to match its significance. Still I would write what I personally feel about it.

If one really wants to understand human life, in more subtle way, much more factually read Economics especially books like these.

Economics is not just about money, markets etc. It is much more than that. It captures human emotions and need in much precise way and has in past & could help in overcoming challenges,
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Conrad
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Poor Economics was a phenomenal book in which Banerjee and Duflo wielded the quantitative, through their use of Randomized Control Trials, to understand the qualitative: what policies work and why. Now, Banerjee and Duflo are back, broadening their scope geographically and thematically. This approach suits them. They dare to take a more political stand and convey that things like decency and quality of life may even matter more than just income. They ensure that economics is open tot non-economi ...more
Anandh Sundar
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book gives anecdotes from RCT(randomized trials) and research papers, to provide their supposedly objective view on how to perceive economics's impact on those adversely impacted by globzliation. The book has some good insights as to why less people immigrate than expected, and if they do why the job market is slow to absorb them, the high government wage impact on the labour job market, the UBI(Universal basic income) story etc. This is an immensely readable one.

The reason I docked a star i
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Udit Nair
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book manages to capture the thoughts around most of the pressing problems world economy faces. The research is exhaustive and gets reflected in the writing also. The reason for writing this book is -
"We wrote this book to hold on to hope. To tell ourselves a story of what went wrong and why, but also as a reminder of all that has gone right. A book as much about the problems as about how our world can be put back together, as long as we are honest with the diagnosis."

The first chapter deals
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Marta
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is not so much a book about economy, but about policies to improve the life of citizens in general. Its main focus is policies that target reduce poverty. The authors make a good case for programs that respect the dignity of recipients first and foremost - because that matters even more than making ends meet.

There are many great ideas here, but because I listened - and much of it when I was tired - I did not retain too much. I have ordered the print version and will re-read when it arrives
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Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee is an Indian economist. He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Banerjee is a co-founder of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (along with economists Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan) and a Research Affiliate of Innovations for Poverty Action, a New Haven, Connecticut based research ...more

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“What is dangerous is not making mistakes, but to be so enamored of one’s point of view that one does not let facts get in the way. To make progress, we have to constantly go back to the facts, acknowledge our errors, and move” 9 likes
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