International Monetary Fund


IMF Book Discussion

Why Nations Fail: Origins of Power, Poverty, and Prosperity

Book Discussion

The Low-Income Countries (LIC) Strategy Unit in SPR held a LIC Seminar Series on Friday November 30, 2012.

Daron Acemoglu, Professor of Finance and Economics at MIT, discussed his book Why Nations Fail, Hugh Bredenkamp, Deputy Director (SPR), moderated the discussion.

Watch the video of the book discussion

Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

Based on fifteen years of original research, Acemoglu and Robinson marshal extraordinary historical evidence from the Roman Empire, the Mayan city-states, medieval Venice, the Soviet Union, Latin America, England, Europe, the United States, and Africa to build a new theory of political economy with great relevance for the big questions of today.

    "The main strength of this book is beyond the power of summary: it is packed, from beginning to end, with historical vignettes that are both erudite and fascinating. As Jared Diamond says on the cover: “It will make you a spellbinder at parties.” But it will also make you think."

    --Paul Collier in the Observer

About the Authors

Daron Acemoglu

Daron Acemoglu is the Killian Professor of Economics at MIT. In 2005 he received the John Bates Clark Medal awarded to economists under forty judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.

The book was co-authored with James A. Robinson, a political scientist and an economist at Harvard University.

The Book

This book is about the huge differences in incomes and standards of living that separate the rich countries of the world, such as the United States, Great Britain, and Germany, from the poor, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and South Asia.

Event Details

  • When- 11:30 a.m., Friday, November 30, 2012
  • Where- International Monetary Fund, HQ1
  • Address- 700 10th Street NW, Washington DC, 20431
  • Room- Red Level - 710

  • -For more information and how to participate to the book presentation, please email at
    For more information on directions and access to IMF Headquarters please click here.


Inclusiveness Essential to Growth

Daron Acemoglu, economist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology