In This Review

The Oxford Handbook of the Ethiopian Economy
The Oxford Handbook of the Ethiopian Economy
Edited by Fantu Cheru, Christopher Cramer, and Arkebe Oqubay
Oxford University Press, 2019, 1008 pp

Over the last two decades, Ethiopia has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. This has proved a boon for analysts, many of whom have seized on Ethiopia’s success as vindication of their particular philosophy of economic development. The editors of this massive volume on the Ethiopian economy have commendably sought to include as many viewpoints as possible while emphasizing empirical approaches. The book covers the major issues, including macroeconomic policy, the development of the social welfare system, agriculture, and industrial policy. Although the different theoretical explanations for Ethiopia’s successes and failures rarely confront one another in the book, the volume as a whole reveals a pragmatic and flexible government trying to solve developmental problems with the resources it has available. Ethiopia has made mistakes, but unlike many other African countries, it has generally avoided repeating them and has tended to eschew ideology in favor of what works on the ground. The state has taken an interventionist stance, but it usually pays attention to market signals and the welfare of its population.