Which books have shaped the thinking of Marc F. Bellemare?

by on June 19, 2017 at 12:07 am in Books, Economics, Education | Permalink

Here is his long post, here is the opening entry:

Development

Pranab Bardhan, The Economic Theory of Agrarian Institutions. There was a time when development took theory seriously, and this book came out of that time. This book is a bit uneven (it’s an edited volume), but the introductory chapter by Joseph Stiglitz is probably the single, most important statement peasants in developing countries as rational human beings. In short: Whenever you find yourself thinking that some behavior you observe in a developing country is stupid, think again. People behave the way they do because they are rational. and If you think they are stupid, it’s because you have failed to recognize a fundamental feature of their economic environment.

In addition to its intrinsic interest, this post is a good meta-reflection of what actually influences the thinking of economists, or not.

1 Jonathan June 19, 2017 at 12:53 am

You did not link to his post. You linked to Google Books of “Rhetoric of the Chinese Cultural Revolution”. You meant to link to http://marcfbellemare.com/wordpress/11002

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2 claudio June 19, 2017 at 1:22 pm

The link seems not to be working.

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3 ChrisA June 19, 2017 at 1:20 am

Does this sentence make sense?;
“This book is a bit uneven (it’s an edited volume), but the introductory chapter by Joseph Stiglitz is probably the single, most important statement peasants in developing countries as rational human beings.”

Regardless peasants certainly do not have a full understanding of how to maximise the productivity of their land (we can see that when we see people still using animals to till their land in developing countries). Very often they are trapped at local optimums, rather than being able to explore wider solution space, most often because of lack of capital.

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4 edwardseco June 19, 2017 at 1:25 am

Anyone who has spent any period of time in the countryside would agree with Stiglitz. There is usually economic content behind apparently irrational behavior such as communal riots and placing the location of a well by the direction flowers fall off the head of a statue of a god. A Communist organizer said one time that given the uncertainties of agriculture in India it made as much sense to rely on a priest’s forecast as on anything else. .

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5 Occupy BorderWall Street June 19, 2017 at 5:29 am

“Governments behave the way they do because they are irrational. and If you think they are rational, it’s because you have failed to recognize a fundamental feature of the electoral process.”

So true. We often complain if laws aren’t sane and just, even though we know those who pass them are just trying to re-elected by a totalitarian-majority or keep the promises they gave for bribes.

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6 CM June 19, 2017 at 7:31 am

Just a language quibble . . . I don’t think “meta” does any work when it is explicitly stated that the author is writing about the author.

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7 Ricky Tylor June 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm

It’s really valuable reading through such books, as I believe in order to succeed, it is very important for us to be aware of things. I always love reading such theories and being a trader, I believe for me it’s necessary. Right now, I am doing Forex trading mainly under OctaFX who got excellent educational guides which are highly effective yet very straight forward, so that is seriously good for traders especially newbies, it has really helped me develop as a trader.

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