A leading economist and researcher report from the front lines of a revolution in solving the world's most persistent problem.
When it comes to global poverty, people are passionate and polarized. At one extreme: We just need to invest more resources. At the other: We've thrown billions down a sinkhole over the last fifty years and accomplished almost nothing.
Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel present an entirely new approach that blazes an optimistic and realistic trail between these two extremes.
In this pioneering book Karlan and Appel combine behavioral economics with worldwide field research. They take readers with them into villages across Africa, India, South America, and the Philippines, where economic theory collides with real life. They show how small changes in banking, insurance, health care, and other development initiatives that take into account human irrationality can drastically improve the well-being of poor people everywhere.
We in the developed world have found ways to make our own lives profoundly better. We use new tools to spend smarter, save more, eat better, and lead lives more like the ones we imagine. These tools can do the same for the impoverished. Karlan and Appel's research, and those of some close colleagues, show exactly how.
In America alone, individual donors contribute over two hundred billion to charity annually, three times as much as corporations, foundations, and bequests combined. This book provides a new way to understand what really works to reduce poverty; in so doing, it reveals how to better invest those billions and begin transforming the well-being of the world.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Karlan and Appel challenge those of us who like to think we're making a difference in the world to think more about our work. Whether you're writing a check, leading a nonprofit, or advocating for change, this book should be required reading before you leave the house Monday morning. The authors are at once both terrific storytellers and careful social scientists. This is a fascinating read, filled with surprises, and practical tools you can use to inform all of your efforts to make a difference in the world. I highly recommend it!
"More Than Good Intentions" focused on what programs (or parts of programs) actually achieved their objective of helping the poor. The authors talked about the studies they've done on this and explain their findings about what works, what doesn't, and how various programs might be improved. The authors acknowledge that people don't always act in their long-term best interest, so we need to understand why the poor act in certain ways, modify programs to take that into account, and test those programs to see if they're working.
The book was easy to read and very engaging. It contained interesting stories of real people that were impacted by these programs. I'd highly recommend this book to those who donate money to organizations that help the poor and to the people who run these programs.
The topics the authors covered were their studies on how to "sell" a program to poor people (as in, get them to use it), various types of microfinance programs (individual, group,...
The book had some wonderful descriptions of various people who participated in studies to ascertain the effect of microloans on small businesses. It showed the human side of what people need, rather than just cut and dried results of what the studies showed. As a layman with little knowledge of economics, I found this book well- written, informative, and entertaining. My horizons about how a great portion of people in the rest of the world live have certainly been broadened.
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