Summary of Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson | Includes Analysis
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty is an examination of the causes of economic inequality. Authors Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson conclude that underdevelopment is caused by political institutions and not by geography, climate, or other cultural factors. Elites in underdeveloped countries deliberately plunder their people and keep them impoverished.
The city of Nogales is half in Mexico and half in the United States. People in Nogales on the US side of the border are well-educated, prosperous, and have long life expectancies. Those on the Mexican side are poor, poorly educated, and have shorter life expectancies.
The differences in Nogales can’t be explained by geography or culture. Instead, different governments cause the differences in development. The United States historically established pluralist institutions that encouraged technological innovation and spread wealth throughout the population. By contrast, in Mexico, Spanish conquerors established extractive institutions that were intended to…
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• Analysis of Key Takeaways
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