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Review Essay

Poor Choices

Poverty From the Ground Level

In This Review

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty
Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty
By Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
PublicAffairs, 2011, 320 pp. $26.99 Purchase
More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics Is Helping to Solve Global Poverty
More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics Is Helping to Solve Global Poverty
By Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel
Dutton Adult, 2011, 320 pp. $26.95 Purchase
Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day
Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day
By Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, and Orla
Princeton University Press, 2010, 312 pp. $19.95 Purchase

Why are some countries rich and others poor? Differing accounts put more or less weight on the role of policies, geography, culture, history, and international interventions. Only by answering this question can one decide how best to reduce poverty in low-income countries. Yet few debates about public policy are more contentious. More than half a century of intensive efforts to improve the lot of the poor in the developing world has had mixed success. Although some countries, such as China, have made enormous progress in reducing poverty, many others have languished. Today, most estimates suggest that more than one billion people live on less than $1.25 per day.

Poverty presents both a moral and an intellectual challenge. No one can fail to be moved by seeing the slums that plague so many parts of the developing world. And the fact that one can travel a few hours by plane and find

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In This Review

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty
Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty
By Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
PublicAffairs, 2011, 320 pp. $26.99 Purchase
More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics Is Helping to Solve Global Poverty
More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics Is Helping to Solve Global Poverty
By Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel
Dutton Adult, 2011, 320 pp. $26.95 Purchase
Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day
Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day
By Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, and Orla
Princeton University Press, 2010, 312 pp. $19.95 Purchase

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