Book Review: Poor Economics – A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Do No Harm

I recently finished reading Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty  by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. The co-authors who are rockstars in the field of experimental development economics have pioneered the randomized control trials (RCTs) movement, which offers a rigorous evaluation of development interventions. The book draws on the evidence generated from RCTs but complements it with anecdotes, which offer a nuanced rethinking of how we understand poverty and subsequently design anti-poverty policy.

In a nutshell, the book illuminates the multi-faceted economic lives of the poor. What sets it apart from numerous other books on similar topics is the anthropological approach taken by the economists. The book shines in the authors’ visible efforts to engage closely with the poor and understand how they make decisions and adopt certain coping strategies as narrated through stories in the text. They highlight the inherent contradictions in the…

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About Damian Merciar
Damian Merciar is Managing Director of Merciar Business Consulting, http://www.merciar.com, a niche business economics consultancy founded in 1998. He has over twenty years experience in the areas of commercial Business Strategy. He is experienced in the transition environments of nationalized to private sector state utilities and the senior practice of commercial management, advisorial consultancy, and implementation. He has carried out policy advisory work for government ministries and been an adviser to institutional bodies proposing changes to government. He holds an MSc Economics from the University of Surrey’s leading Economics department and an MBA from the University of Kent. Also attending the leading University in the Middle East, studying International Relations and Language, for which he won a competitive international scholarship, and has a BA (Hons) in Economic History and Political Economy from the University of Portsmouth. He is currently based in London.

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