Arnold Kling

Characteristics of Failed Countries

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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This is an article from 1998, but I only saw a reference to it recently on More Than Zero.

Whether analyzing military capabilities, cultural viability, or economic potential, these seven factors offer a quick study of the likely performance of a state, region, or population group in the coming century.

...These key "failure factors" are:

  • Restrictions on the free flow of information.
  • The subjugation of women.
  • Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure.
  • The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization.
  • Domination by a restrictive religion.
  • A low valuation of education.
  • Low prestige assigned to work.

Discussion Question. Development economics tends to try to identify factors that enable a country to succeed, and this has proven difficult. Does it help to turn the question inside out and focus on factors that correlate with failure?

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