This is a book that deserves a wide readership – I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Some readers will come for the clever title and the cover’s provocative silhouette of a machine-gun wielding gangster. More, I hope, will be drawn to the book by reviews like this one and the authors’ important message. Economic Gangsters is topical and lively, as its cover suggests, but it is also deadly serious and deeply engrossing.
The book features the sort of clear thinking, crisp economic analysis and creative empirical detective work that fans of Freakonomics will recognize and appreciate. Six major case studies and many smaller examples provide evidence to support the case. The authors conclude with a discussion of how cleverly designed program evaluation techniques can help uncover policies to escape the violence-corruption poverty trap.
I liked Freadonomics but I complained in my review that it didn't really have a point. Creative economic analysis is fun, but so what? What good is it? Economic Gangsters answers this critique. Economics is fun and useful. Dismal science? Hah!
One word review: Bravo!