Why Nations Fail? (Keynote Video Lecture)

Daron Acemoglu


First of all, it is a great pleasure to be here. Thank you for
inviting me. Given that communicating from a far is not the easiest
thing to do, what I have decided to do is to give a quick overview of
the arguments that have emerged from the book that James and I wrote. In
fact, this book is a synthesis of about 16 years of research that James
and I did. I think it is fair to say that a lot of economic development
and economic growth is motivated by patterns that are reported in the
book. In particular, this is data from Angus Madison’s life’s work,
which is not entirely uncontroversial, but the overall pattern here is
fairly uncontroversial. The patterns that we observe have actually been
in the background of many attempts to understand long patterns of
economic development. I think they also point out that it is going to be
very difficult to understand why certain parts of the world that were
either on par with, say, Asia, in particular the Indian Subcontinent and
China, have increased their income per capita and their prosperity so
much in 500 years leading to today, particularly from the period around
early 1800s to essentially to the end of the World War II, where there
is this big divergence taking place. The trends in economic development
show that United States of America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia
have pulled so much ahead of, say, Asia, where both India, the Indian
Subcontinent in this case, and China more or less show the same picture,
where there is not much growth going on until the end of the World War

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30541/v54i4I-IIpp.301-312


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