Introduction: Dani Rodrik Seminar

by Henry on November 13, 2007

Update 1: The second half of the seminar is now available below. Those who prefer to read the posts in hard copy (or in a nicely formatted PDF) can download it “here”: Those who want to remix the text using LaTeX or similar, can download the .tex file “here”: John Holbo will probably be doing a prettier remix of the PDF sometime over the next few days.

Update 2: “David Warsh”: supplements the post below with a very interesting analysis of what Rodrik’s arguments mean in the broader debates over economics and development.

Update 3: Kieran has done some LaTeX-fu on the PDF, providing a much nicer looking and more functional product – hence I’ve replaced the original file with his updated version.

Dani Rodrik’s new book, _One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions and Economic Growth_ ( “Powells”:, “Amazon”: ) is a major contribution to debates on globalization, economic development and free trade. It brings together much of his existing work bringing together an important critique of the Washington Consensus with positive suggestions about how best to encourage economic growth, and how to build a global system of rules that can accommodate diverse national choices. We’re pleased and happy that both Dani and several other guests have agreed to participate in a new Crooked Timber seminar. This seminar will be published in two parts – the first today (featuring Henry Farrell, John Quiggin, Mark Thoma and David Warsh), the second tomorrow (featuring Daniel Davies, Dan Drezner, Jack Knight, Adam Przeworski, and Dani’s reply post). As with previous Crooked Timber seminars, it is published under a Creative Commons license (see below). Tomorrow, I will post a PDF of the entire seminar (plus a LaTeX file for anyone who wants to play around with it). If you have specific comments about the contributions, please post them in the relevant comments section for the specific post. For general technical glitches etc, post comments here.

The (non-CT regular) participants in the seminar are, in alphabetical order:

(1) Dan Drezner blogs at “”: He is an Associate Professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, at Tufts University. He has written two academic books on international political economy (looking at sanctions and globalization), as well as a Council of Foreign Relations report and numerous articles. He possesses specific expertise on the intersection between celebrity culture and global politics.

(2) Jack Knight is Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government at Washington University in St. Louis. He is author of a widely cited book on institutional theory, _Institutions and Social Conflict_ as well as numerous articles. He has a new book co-authored with Jim Johnson on rational choice, pragmatism and deliberative democracy, which will be published next year.

(3) Adam Przeworski is Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of European Studies and Professor of Politics at New York University. He is the author of several monographs and numerous articles on topics including social democracy, democratic transitions and economic development. This “interview”: (previously discussed in “this”: CT post) gives a good overview of his life, politics, and academic work.

(4) Dani Rodrik blogs at “Dani Rodrik’s Weblog”: He is Professor of International Political Economy at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University, where he teaches on international development issues. He has written two books, copious numbers of academic articles and policy papers, and was recently awarded the inaugural Albert O. Hirschman Prize of the Social Science Research Council.

(5) Mark Thoma blogs at “Economist’s View”:, which has quickly become established as one of the key forums for debate of economics and politics on the Internet (with occasional interjections by Paul Krugman and others). He is professor of economics at University of Oregon, where he has published numerous articles on aspects of macroeconomics theory.

(6) David Warsh is the editor of “Economic Principals”: He previously covered economics issues for _The Boston Globe_ and _Forbes Magazine_ for 25 years, and is the author of a widely acclaimed (and rightly so) intellectual history of the new growth theory in economics, _Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations_

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robertdfeinman 11.12.07 at 5:09 pm

When policies don’t work over long periods of time one has to wonder whether the stated aims coincide with the unstated (but real) aims.

A perfect example can be seen with the drug “war”. This has been going on for so long that there would appear to be economic interests which depend on it not succeeding. The most obvious beneficiaries are drug smugglers, who get a higher price then would be the case if the drugs were either legal or regulated. Others include the drug enforcement and legal infrastructure which deals with the law breakers. Stable careers exist for judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys and the prison system.

It’s not clear (to me, at least) who are the principal beneficiaries from an apparently sub-optimal development effort. It would seem that those involved in corruption in receiving countries, NGO’s and international organization like the World Bank and IMF all gain from the status quo.

For an example of how doing good can affect the sponsor one has only to look at the March of Dimes. Once polio was licked the charity had no further reason to exist, but it still had an infrastructure. It took some time for them to find a new “cause”. The option of declaring victory and going home was, apparently, never considered.

So my question is who benefits from the status quo and how would you overcome their resistance to change?


dsquared 11.13.07 at 9:31 am

It’s not clear (to me, at least) who are the principal beneficiaries from an apparently sub-optimal development effort

I do have a post on this subject, but it turned into such a total unrelated rant that it didn’t seem fair to ask Dani to comment on it, so I’ll be posting it as a sort of “fringe meeting” of the seminar, probably tomorrow.


a very public sociologist 11.14.07 at 11:38 am

Well, I’m looking forward to reading the rest very soon!


lemuel pitkin 11.14.07 at 5:17 pm

Semi-OT, but I really, really, really wish you would spread these seminars out over a week or so. The current system means that:

(1) You have a dozen posts in a row on the same topic. Lots of people (including me) would love to read one or two good posts on Rodrik’s book but are unlikely to read a dozen at once.

(2) You don’t get good discussions in comments. people are discussing basically the same issues in a dozen different comments threads, so it’s much harder to engage with each other or get a critical mass of good commenters in any one thread.

(3) Everything else gets pushed off the front page, including posts that still might ahve had active comments threads or that could still be attracting new readers.

(4) The author isn’t able to fully respond to all the posts, but instead does a catch-all response devoting maybe a paragraph to each one. this means you don’t get potentially the biggest benefit of this kind of online seminar, a real engagement between writer and critics. If you did one or two posts a day, Rodrik (or whoever) could properly respond to each one.

Please, please, please: The next time you’re doing one of these, consider spreading it out over 3-5 days.

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