Book

Economic Gangsters

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 developing world of billions in aid. The calculating crook who views stealing and murder as just another part of his business strategy. And, in the wrong set of circumstances, he might just be you. In Economic Gangsters, Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel take readers into the secretive, chaotic, and brutal worlds inhabited by these lawless and violent thugs. Join these two sleuthing economists as they follow the foreign aid money trail into the grasping hands of corrupt governments and shady underworld characters.

Quotes:

In this surprisingly spry read, authors and economics professors Fisman and Miguel tackle economic development issues in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, beginning with the question: after decades of independence and billions in foreign aid, why are so many developing countries still mired in poverty? . . . This thorough, thoughtful guide to global corruption is an engaging, disarmingly upbeat read for fans of Freakonomics and Malcolm Gladwell.

PublishersWeekly.com

This is sparkling stuff, and the story is enjoyably retold in Fisman and Miguel’s slim new volume, Economic Gangsters. I recommend the book wholeheartedly; it is engaging and confidently written, and it describes research of genuine interest. . . . Economic Gangsters tackles two big ‘institutional’ problems of development economics–corruption and violence–through a series of vignettes based on research studying the value of political connections, smuggling between China and Hong Kong, the links between rainfall and civil war, witch killings in Africa, and rebuilding Vietnam after ‘the American War’.

Tim Hartford, Reason

[S]mart and eminently readable . . . [F]isman and Miguel try to do for global poverty what [Steven] Levitt did for domestic economic issues. For example, they look at the way ‘witches’ are killed in Tanzania whenever rainfalls fail and food is scarce; it turns out that families try to save food by executing less-productive elderly women as witches.

Nicholas Kristof, NYTimes.com’s On the Ground blog

Columbia’s Ray Fisman and Berkeley’s Ted Miguel are two of the most creative and interesting economists I know. Each is driven to better understand just what keeps poor countries in poverty, and they are willing to try some pretty amazing research strategies to figure it out. They have traveled far and wide–both geographically and intellectually–and in their beautifully written book Economic Gangsters, they shine a well-honed statistical spotlight on the twin evils of corruption and violence. The book is a dead-set page turner, and there’s nothing more fun than feeling like you are next to them as they travel the world in search of the scoundrels responsible for so much suffering.

Justin Wolfers, Freakonomics blog

Other Editions:

Study Links Extreme Weather, Poverty and Witch KillingUC Berkeley News
Go to Study Links Extreme Weather, Poverty and Witch Killing
Combate à corrupção no Brasil: é possível?Gazeta do Povo: Dinheiro Publico
Go to Combate à corrupção no Brasil: é possível?
Did Cold Weather Cause the Salem Witch Trials?Power Buzz
Go to Did Cold Weather Cause the Salem Witch Trials?
What Economic Sleuths Can Tell Us about Our Corrupt PoliticsMoyers & Company
Go to What Economic Sleuths Can Tell Us about Our Corrupt Politics
Gauging Corruption in a Country via Monitoring Parking ViolationsMostly Economics Blog, by Amol Agrawal
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Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of NationsJournal of Economic Literature: Volume. 49, Issue 3, by Dean Yang
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Book Review: Economic Gangsters – Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of NationsBritish Politics and Policy at LSE Blog, by Charles Crawford
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Egypt Diplomats Worst Traffic Offenders, Says London PaperDaily News Egypt (DNE)
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Fisman and Miguel, Economic GangstersBrad Delong's Blog
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A Gangster Has Many FacesAmerican
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Diplomatic Immunity, Corruption and Parking TicketsCompliance Building Blog
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BewitchedAid Thoughts Blog
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Inside Corruption in Poor CountriesMarketplace, by Edward Miguel and Kai Ryssdal
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Economic GangstersVox, by Raymond Fisman and Romesh Vaitilingam
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Finding Tools to Fight Corruption in Emerging Southeast Asian EconomiesNew York Times
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Friends, Enemies and Parking TicketsMetroWest Daily News
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A Ticket for CorruptionEconomist
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Academics Dish the Dirt on UN’s Worst New York Parking ViolatorsFinancial Times
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SA Scores Highly on Parking-Ticket Corruption IndicatorMail & Guardian
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Envoys’ Parking Ticket TollGulf Daily News
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Prácticas Poco DiplomáticasMercurio
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Beyond Parking TicketsPhilippine Daily Inquirer
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Can Parking Tickets Measure Corruption?Marketplace, by Tim Harford and Kai Ryssdal
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Primary Sources: Diplomatic ImpunityAtlantic
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Data: National ParkingReason
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The Diplomat-Parking-Violation Corruption IndexNew York Times
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Diplomats Ignore London’s Congestion Road TollsDrivers.com
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The Culture of CorruptionBoston Globe
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Corruption Loves CompanyNational Public Radio (NPR): Talk of the Nation, by Neal Conan and Raymond Fisman
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Why It’s Dangerous to Be a Witch in a RecessionFinancial Times, by Tim Harford
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Interview with Edward MiguelZócalo Public Square: In the Green Room
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Economic Gangsters Rule Poor CountriesZócalo Public Square: The Takeaway
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Corrupção e Estacionamento ProibidoFolha de Sao Paulo, by Jose Alexandre Scheinkman
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Buck Stops Here for CorruptionSydney Morning Herald
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Diplomatic Scofflaws and the Culture of CorruptionWashington Post: Unconventional Wisdom
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Corruption as a Cultural PhenomenaBusiness Standard
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Study: U.N. Diplomats With Dim View of U.S. More Likely to Ignore Traffic TicketsFox News Channel
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Study: Diplomats Whose Countries Dislike U.S. Less Likely to Pay FinesCable News Network (CNN)
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The Case of the Unpaid Parking TicketSlate: Undercover Economist, by Tim Harford
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Parking Tickets Illuminate International CorruptionGothamist
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Diplomats, Cops and CorruptionSmartMoney
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Pourquoi les riches s’autorisent-ils à frauder?Slate (France)
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Godot’yu beklerkenDünya
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Vi drukner i en skidtpøl af officiel korruptionMSN
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Social Scientists Develop Profile To Spot Likely Tax EvadersNational Public Radio
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Creation de la Compagnie Airmate Ltd.Le Mauricien
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Corruption and Revolt – Does tolerating graft undermine national security?The New Yorker
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Weltretter: Nicht alle Ökonomen sind Narren, manche sind sogar SuperheldenWirtschafts Woche Green
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Corrupcion: Fenomeno Cultural Pero Superable en el Corto PlazoEl Sol de Mexico
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El Agua, Elemento Para Combatir la PobrezaEl Heraldo Leon
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Poverty and Violence: An Overview of Recent Research and Implications for Foreign AidBook ChapterEnvironment and ClimatePolitical Economy and Conflict2007
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War and Institutions: New Evidence from Sierra LeonePublished PaperAfrican DevelopmentPolitical Economy and Conflict2006
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Worms at work: Long-run impacts of a child health investmentPublished PaperAfrican DevelopmentHealthEducation and Human CapitalResearch Methodology2016
Go to Worms at work: Long-run impacts of a child health investment
Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic productionPublished PaperAfrican DevelopmentEnvironment and Climate2015
Go to Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production
Corruption, Norms and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking TicketsPublished PaperOtherPolitical Economy and Conflict2007
Go to Corruption, Norms and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets
Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment ExternalitiesPublished PaperAfrican DevelopmentHealthEducation and Human CapitalResearch Methodology2004
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Poverty and Witch KillingPublished PaperAfrican DevelopmentEnvironment and ClimatePolitical Economy and Conflict2005
Go to Poverty and Witch Killing
Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables ApproachPublished PaperAfrican DevelopmentEnvironment and ClimatePolitical Economy and Conflict2004
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The Long-run Impact of Bombing VietnamPublished PaperOtherPolitical Economy and Conflict2011
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Tribe or Nation? Nation Building and Public Goods in Kenya Versus TanzaniaPublished PaperAfrican DevelopmentHealthEducation and Human CapitalPolitical Economy and Conflict2004
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Africa’s Turn?
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Do Conflicts Cause Poverty, or Vice VersaVox
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Corruption and CultureNational Post
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How to Prevent War and FamineForbes
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How Economics Can Defeat CorruptionForeign Policy
Go to How Economics Can Defeat Corruption
Stop Conflict Before It StartsBloomberg Businessweek
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Political Ties Boost Bottom LinesMarketplace
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TEDxBerkeley talk: Climate, Conflict, and African DevelopmentZellerbach Hall, UC BerkeleyFebruary 8, 2014
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Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations (Town Hall Seattle)Seattle, WA, USAOctober 23, 2008
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Why are Poor Countries Poor?Los Angeles, CA, USAOctober 28, 2008
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Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence and the Poverty of Nations (Microsoft)Mountain View, CA, USAOctober 23, 2008
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Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations (Google)Mountain View, CA, USAJanuary 30, 2009
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Climate, Conflict and DevelopmentColorado College, Colorado Springs, COMay 3, 2018
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Master of Development Practice (MDP) Special Lecture SeriesUC BerkeleyNovember 13, 2014
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Masters in Development Practice (MDP) ChatEvans Hall, U.C. BerkeleyNovember 21, 2014
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