Research Library

The Chessboard and the Web
Slaughter, Anne-Marie. 2017. The Chessboard and the Web. New Haven: Yale University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In 1961, Thomas Schelling’s The Strategy of Conflict used game theory to radically reenvision the U.S.-Soviet relationship and establish the basis of international relations for the rest of the Cold War. Now, Anne-Marie Slaughter—one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers from 2009 to 2012, and the first woman to serve as director of the State Department Office of Policy Planning—applies network theory to develop a new set of strategies for the post-Cold War world. While chessboard-style competitive relationships still exist—U.S.-Iranian relations, for example—many other situations demand that we look not at individual entities but at their links to one another. We must learn to understand, shape, and build on those connections.
Concise and accessible, based on real-world situations, on a lucid understanding of network science, and on a clear taxonomy of strategies, this will be a go-to resource for anyone looking for a new way to think about strategy in politics or business.
Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy
Ziblatt, Daniel. 2017. Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
How do democracies form and what makes them die? Daniel Ziblatt revisits this timely and classic question in a wide-ranging historical narrative that traces the evolution of modern political democracy in Europe from its modest beginnings in 1830s Britain to Adolf Hitler's 1933 seizure of power in Weimar Germany. Based on rich historical and quantitative evidence, the book offers a major reinterpretation of European history and the question of how stable political democracy is achieved. The barriers to inclusive political rule, Ziblatt finds, were not inevitably overcome by unstoppable tides of socioeconomic change, a simple triumph of a growing middle class, or even by working class collective action. Instead, political democracy's fate surprisingly hinged on how conservative political parties – the historical defenders of power, wealth, and privilege – recast themselves and coped with the rise of their own radical right. With striking modern parallels, the book has vital implications for today's new and old democracies under siege.
The Mediterranean Incarnate: Region Formation between Sicily and Tunisia since World War II
Ben-Yehoyada, Naor. 2017. The Mediterranean Incarnate: Region Formation between Sicily and Tunisia since World War II. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In The Mediterranean Incarnate, anthropologist Naor Ben-Yehoyada takes us aboard the Naumachos for a thirty-seven-day voyage in the fishing grounds between Sicily and Tunisia. He also takes us on a historical exploration of the past eighty years to show how the Mediterranean has reemerged as a modern transnational region. From Sicilian poaching in North African territory to the construction of the TransMediterranean gas pipeline, Ben-Yehoyada examines the transformation of political action, imaginaries, and relations in the central Mediterranean while detailing the remarkable bonds that have formed between the Sicilians and Tunisians who live on its waters.
The book centers on the town of Mazara del Vallo, located on the southwestern tip of Sicily some ninety nautical miles northeast of the African shore. Ben-Yehoyada intertwines the town’s recent turbulent history—which has been fraught with conflicts over fishing rights, development projects, and how the Mediterranean should figure in Italian politics at large—with deep accounts of life aboard the Naumacho, linking ethnography with historical anthropology and political-economic analysis. Through this sophisticated approach, he crafts a new viewpoint on the historical processes of transnational region formation, one offered by these moving ships as they weave together new social and political constellations.
The Cold War: A World History
Westad, Odd Arne. 2017. The Cold War: A World History. London: Penguin Random House. Publisher's VersionAbstract

As Germany and then Japan surrendered in 1945 there was a tremendous hope that a new and much better world could be created from the moral and physical ruins of the conflict. Instead, the combination of the huge power of the USA and USSR and the near-total collapse of most of their rivals created a unique, grim new environment: the Cold War.

For over forty years the demands of the Cold War shaped the life of almost all of us. There was no part of the world where East and West did not, ultimately, demand a blind and absolute allegiance, and nowhere into which the West and East did not reach. Countries as remote from each other as Korea, Angola and Cuba were defined by their allegiances. Almost all civil wars became proxy conflicts for the superpowers. Europe was seemingly split in two indefinitely.

Arne Westad's remarkable new book is the first to have the distance from these events and the ambition to create a convincing, powerful narrative of the Cold War. The book is genuinely global in its reach and captures the dramas and agonies of a period always overshadowed by the horror of nuclear war and which, for millions of people, was not 'cold' at all: a time of relentless violence, squandered opportunities and moral failure.

This is a book of extraordinary scope and daring. It is conventional to see the first half of the 20th century as a nightmare and the second half as a reprieve. Westad shows that for much of the world the second half was by most measures even worse.

The Art and Science of Social Research
Waters, Mary C., Elizabeth Heger Boyle, Deborah Carr, Benjamin Cornwell, Shelley Correll, Robert Crosnoe, and Jeremy Freese. 2017. The Art and Science of Social Research. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Written by a team of internationally renowned sociologists with experience in both the field and the classroom, The Art and Science of Social Research offers authoritative and balanced coverage of the full range of methods used to study the social world. The authors highlight the challenges of investigating the unpredictable topic of human lives while providing insights into what really happens in the field, the laboratory, and the survey call center.
Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century
Sikkink, Kathryn. 2017. Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Evidence for Hope makes the case that, yes, human rights work. Critics may counter that the movement is in serious jeopardy or even a questionable byproduct of Western imperialism. They point out that Guantánamo is still open, the Arab Spring protests have been crushed, and governments are cracking down on NGOs everywhere. But respected human rights expert Kathryn Sikkink draws on decades of research and fieldwork to provide a rigorous rebuttal to pessimistic doubts about human rights laws and institutions. She demonstrates that change comes slowly and as the result of struggle, but in the long term, human rights movements have been vastly effective.

Attacks on the human rights movement’s credibility are based on the faulty premise that human rights ideas emerged in North America and Europe and were imposed on developing southern nations. Starting in the 1940s, Latin American leaders and activists were actually early advocates for the international protection of human rights. Sikkink shows that activists and scholars disagree about the efficacy of human rights because they use different yardsticks to measure progress. Comparing the present to the past, she shows that genocide and violence against civilians have declined over time, while access to healthcare and education has increased dramatically. Cognitive and news biases contribute to pervasive cynicism, but Sikkink’s investigation into past and current trends indicates that human rights is not in its twilight. Instead, this is a period of vibrant activism that has made impressive improvements in human well-being.

Exploring the strategies that have led to real humanitarian gains since the middle of the twentieth century, Evidence for Hope looks at how these essential advances can be supported and sustained for decades to come.

Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy
Rodrik, Dani. 2017. Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Not so long ago the nation-state seemed to be on its deathbed, condemned to irrelevance by the forces of globalization and technology. Now it is back with a vengeance, propelled by a groundswell of populists around the world. In Straight Talk on Trade, Dani Rodrik, an early and outspoken critic of economic globalization taken too far, goes beyond the populist backlash and offers a more reasoned explanation for why our elites’ and technocrats’ obsession with hyper-globalization made it more difficult for nations to achieve legitimate economic and social objectives at home: economic prosperity, financial stability, and equity.

Rodrik takes globalization’s cheerleaders to task, not for emphasizing economics over other values, but for practicing bad economics and ignoring the discipline’s own nuances that should have called for caution. He makes a case for a pluralist world economy where nation-states retain sufficient autonomy to fashion their own social contracts and develop economic strategies tailored to their needs. Rather than calling for closed borders or defending protectionists, Rodrik shows how we can restore a sensible balance between national and global governance. Ranging over the recent experiences of advanced countries, the eurozone, and developing nations, Rodrik charts a way forward with new ideas about how to reconcile today’s inequitable economic and technological trends with liberal democracy and social inclusion.

Deftly navigating the tensions among globalization, national sovereignty, and democracy, Straight Talk on Trade presents an indispensable commentary on today’s world economy and its dilemmas, and offers a visionary framework at a critical time when we need it most.

One Student at a Time: Leading the Global Education Movement
Reimers, Fernando M. 2017. One Student at a Time: Leading the Global Education Movement. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This is a study of the challenges faced by education leaders who are working around the world to expand educational opportunities, with an analysis of the lessons they have learned in addressing these challenges.
Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation
Plokhy, Serhii. 2017. Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation. New York: Basic Books. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimea and attempted to seize a portion of Ukraine. While the world watched in outrage, this blatant violation of national sovereignty was only the latest iteration of a centuries-long effort to expand Russian boundaries and create a pan-Russian nation.

In Lost Kingdom, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues that we can only understand the confluence of Russian imperialism and nationalism today by delving into the nation’s history. Spanning over 500 years, from the end of the Mongol rule to the present day, Plokhy shows how leaders from Ivan the Terrible to Joseph Stalin to Vladimir Putin exploited existing forms of identity, warfare, and territorial expansion to achieve imperial supremacy.

An authoritative and masterful account of Russian nationalism, Lost Kingdom chronicles the story behind Russia’s belligerent empire-building quest.
Election Watchdogs: Transparency, Accountability and Integrity
Norris, Pippa, and Alessandro Nai, ed. 2017. Election Watchdogs: Transparency, Accountability and Integrity. New York: Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Recent decades have seen growing concern regarding problems of electoral integrity. The most overt malpractices used by rulers include imprisoning dissidents, harassing adversaries, coercing voters, vote-rigging counts, and even blatant disregard for the popular vote. Elsewhere minor irregularities are common, exemplified by inaccurate voter registers, maladministration of polling facilities, lack of security in absentee ballots, pro-government media bias, ballot miscounts, and gerrymandering. Serious violations of human rights that undermine electoral credibility are widely condemned by domestic observers and the international community. Recent protests about integrity have mobilized in countries as diverse as Russia, Mexico, and Egypt. However, long-standing democracies are far from immune to these ills; past problems include the notorious hanging chads in Florida in 2000 and more recent accusations of voter fraud and voter suppression during the Obama-Romney contest. When problems come to light, however, is anyone held to account and are effective remedies implemented?

In response to these developments, there have been growing attempts to analyze flaws in electoral integrity and transparency using systematic data from cross-national time-series, forensic analysis, field experiments, case studies, and new instruments monitoring mass and elite perceptions of malpractices. This volume collects essays from international experts who evaluate the robustness, conceptual validity, and reliability of the growing body of evidence. The essays compare alternative approaches and apply these methods to evaluate the quality of elections in several areas, including the United States, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. Election Watchdogs: Transparency, Accountability and Integrity presents new insights into the importance of diverse actors who promote electoral transparency, accountability, and ultimately the integrity of electoral governance.
Ethno-erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya
Meiu, George Paul. 2017. Ethno-erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Ethno-erotic Economies explores a fascinating case of tourism focused on sex and culture in coastal Kenya, where young men deploy stereotypes of African warriors to help them establish transactional sexual relationships with European women. In bars and on beaches, young men deliberately cultivate their images as sexually potent African men to attract women, sometimes for a night, in other cases for long-term relationships.
George Paul Meiu uses his deep familiarity with the communities these men come from to explore the long-term effects of markets of ethnic culture and sexuality on a wide range of aspects of life in rural Kenya, including kinship, ritual, gender, intimate affection, and conceptions of aging. What happens to these communities when young men return with such surprising wealth? And how do they use it to improve their social standing locally? By answering these questions, Ethno-erotic Economies offers a complex look at how intimacy and ethnicity come together to shape the pathways of global and local trade in the postcolonial world.
The Contentious Public Sphere: Law, Media, and Authoritarian Rule in China
Lei, Ya-Wen. 2017. The Contentious Public Sphere: Law, Media, and Authoritarian Rule in China. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Since the mid-2000s, public opinion and debate in China have become increasingly common and consequential, despite the ongoing censorship of speech and regulation of civil society. How did this happen? In The Contentious Public Sphere, Ya-Wen Lei shows how the Chinese state drew on law, the media, and the Internet to further an authoritarian project of modernization, but in so doing, inadvertently created a nationwide public sphere in China—one the state must now endeavor to control. Lei examines the influence this unruly sphere has had on Chinese politics and the ways that the state has responded.

Using interviews, newspaper articles, online texts, official documents, and national surveys, Lei shows that the development of the public sphere in China has provided an unprecedented forum for citizens to influence the public agenda, demand accountability from the government, and organize around the concepts of law and rights. She demonstrates how citizens came to understand themselves as legal subjects, how legal and media professionals began to collaborate in unexpected ways, and how existing conditions of political and economic fragmentation created unintended opportunities for political critique, particularly with the rise of the Internet. The emergence of this public sphere—and its uncertain future—is a pressing issue with important implications for the political prospects of the Chinese people.

Investigating how individuals learn to use public discourse to influence politics, The Contentious Public Sphere offers new possibilities for thinking about the transformation of state-society relations.

The First Serious Optimist: A. C. Pigou and the Birth of Welfare Economics
Kumekawa, Ian. 2017. The First Serious Optimist: A. C. Pigou and the Birth of Welfare Economics. Princeton: Penguin University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The First Serious Optimist is an intellectual biography of the British economist A. C. Pigou (1877–1959), a founder of welfare economics and one of the twentieth century's most important and original thinkers. Though long overshadowed by his intellectual rival John Maynard Keynes, Pigou was instrumental in focusing economics on the public welfare. And his reputation is experiencing a renaissance today, in part because his idea of "externalities" or spillover costs is the basis of carbon taxes. Drawing from a wealth of archival sources, Ian Kumekawa tells how Pigou reshaped the way the public thinks about the economic role of government and the way economists think about the public good.

Setting Pigou's ideas in their personal, political, social, and ethical context, the book follows him as he evolved from a liberal Edwardian bon vivant to a reserved but reform-minded economics professor. With World War I, Pigou entered government service, but soon became disenchanted with the state he encountered. As his ideas were challenged in the interwar period, he found himself increasingly alienated from his profession. But with the rise of the Labour Party following World War II, the elderly Pigou re-embraced a mind-set that inspired a colleague to describe him as "the first serious optimist."

The story not just of Pigou but also of twentieth-century economics, The First Serious Optimist explores the biographical and historical origins of some of the most important economic ideas of the past hundred years. It is a timely reminder of the ethical roots of economics and the discipline's long history as an active intermediary between the state and the market.

The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World
Jasanoff, Maya. 2017. The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World. New York: Penguin Random House. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Migration, terrorism, the tensions between global capitalism and nationalism, and a communications revolution: these forces shaped Joseph Conrad’s destiny at the dawn of the twentieth century. In this brilliant new interpretation of one of the great voices in modern literature, Maya Jasanoff reveals Conrad as a prophet of globalization. As an immigrant from Poland to England, and in travels from Malaya to Congo to the Caribbean, Conrad navigated an interconnected world, and captured it in a literary oeuvre of extraordinary depth. His life story delivers a history of globalization from the inside out, and reflects powerfully on the aspirations and challenges of the modern world.
Joseph Conrad was born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in 1857, to Polish parents in the Russian Empire. At sixteen he left the landlocked heart of Europe to become a sailor, and for the next twenty years travelled the world’s oceans before settling permanently in England as an author. He saw the surging, competitive “new imperialism” that planted a flag in almost every populated part of the globe. He got a close look, too, at the places “beyond the end of telegraph cables and mail-boat lines,” and the hypocrisy of the west’s most cherished ideals.
In a compelling blend of history, biography, and travelogue, Maya Jasanoff follows Conrad’s routes and the stories of his four greatest works—The Secret AgentLord JimHeart of Darkness, and Nostromo. Genre-bending, intellectually thrilling, and deeply humane, The Dawn Watch embarks on a spell-binding expedition into the dark heart of Conrad’s world—and through it to our own.

The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President
Feldman, Noah. 2017. The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President. New York: Penguin Random House. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Over the course of his life, James Madison changed the United States three times: First, he designed the Constitution, led the struggle for its adoption and ratification, then drafted the Bill of Rights. As an older, cannier politician he co-founded the original Republican party, setting the course of American political partisanship. Finally, having pioneered a foreign policy based on economic sanctions, he took the United States into a high-risk conflict, becoming the first wartime president and, despite the odds, winning.

Now Noah Feldman offers an intriguing portrait of this elusive genius and the constitutional republic he created—and how both evolved to meet unforeseen challenges. Madison hoped to eradicate partisanship yet found himself giving voice to, and institutionalizing, the political divide. Madison’s lifelong loyalty to Thomas Jefferson led to an irrevocable break with George Washington, hero of the American Revolution. Madison closely collaborated with Alexander Hamilton on the Federalist papers—yet their different visions for the United States left them enemies.

Alliances defined Madison, too. The vivacious Dolley Madison used her social and political talents to win her husband new supporters in Washington—and define the diplomatic customs of the capital’s society. Madison’s relationship with James Monroe, a mixture of friendship and rivalry, shaped his presidency and the outcome of the War of 1812.

We may be more familiar with other Founding Fathers, but the United States today is in many ways Madisonian in nature. Madison predicted that foreign threats would justify the curtailment of civil liberties. He feared economic inequality and the power of financial markets over politics, believing that government by the people demanded resistance to wealth. Madison was the first Founding Father to recognize the importance of public opinion, and the first to understand that the media could function as a safeguard to liberty.

The Three Lives of James Madison is an illuminating biography of the man whose creativity and tenacity gave us America’s distinctive form of government. His collaborations, struggles, and contradictions define the United States to this day.

The Space between Us: Social Geography and Politics
Enos, Ryan D. 2017. The Space between Us: Social Geography and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Space between Us brings the connection between geography, psychology, and politics to life. By going into the neighborhoods of real cities, Enos shows how our perceptions of racial, ethnic, and religious groups are intuitively shaped by where these groups live and interact daily. Through the lens of numerous examples across the globe and drawing on a compelling combination of research techniques including field and laboratory experiments, big data analysis, and small-scale interactions, this timely book provides a new understanding of how geography shapes politics and how members of groups think about each other. Enos' analysis is punctuated with personal accounts from the field. His rigorous research unfolds in accessible writing that will appeal to specialists and non-specialists alike, illuminating the profound effects of social geography on how we relate to, think about, and politically interact across groups in the fabric of our daily lives.
The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return
Desai, Mihir A. 2017. The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In 1688, essayist Josef de la Vega described finance as both “the fairest and most deceitful business . . . the noblest and the most infamous in the world, the finest and most vulgar on earth.” 

The characterization of finance as deceitful, infamous, and vulgar still rings true today – particularly in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. But, what happened to the fairest, noblest, and finest profession that de la Vega saw?  

De la Vega hit on an essential truth that has been forgotten: finance can be just as principled, life-affirming, and worthy as it can be fraught with questionable practices.  Today, finance is shrouded in mystery for outsiders, while many insiders are uneasy with the disrepute of their profession.  How can finance become more accessible and also recover its nobility? 

Harvard Business School professor Mihir Desai, in his “last lecture” to the graduating Harvard MBA class of 2015, took up the cause of restoring humanity to finance. With incisive wit and irony, his lecture drew upon a rich knowledge of literature, film, history, and philosophy to explain the inner workings of finance in a manner that has never been seen before. 

This book captures Desai’s lucid exploration of the ideas of finance as seen through the unusual prism of the humanities. Through this novel, creative approach, Desai shows that outsiders can access the underlying ideas easily and insiders can reacquaint themselves with the core humanity of their profession. 

The mix of finance and the humanities creates unusual pairings: Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope are guides to risk management; Jeff Koons becomes an advocate of leverage; and Mel Brooks’s The Producers teaches us about fiduciary responsibility. In Desai’s vision, the principles of finance also provide answers to critical questions in our lives. Among many surprising parallels, bankruptcy teaches us how to react to failure, the lessons of mergers apply to marriages, and the Capital Asset Pricing Model demonstrates the true value of relationships. 

THE WISDOM OF FINANCE is a wholly unique book, offering a refreshing new perspective on one of the world’s most complex and misunderstood professions.    

Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia
Colton, Timothy J., and Samuel Charap. 2017. Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia. London: Routledge. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Disorder erupted in Ukraine in 2014, involving the overthrow of a sitting government, the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and a violent insurrection, supported by Moscow, in the east of the country.

This Adelphi book argues that the crisis has yielded a ruinous outcome, in which all the parties are worse off and international security has deteriorated. This negative-sum scenario resulted from years of zero-sum behaviour on the part of Russia and the West in post-Soviet Eurasia, which the authors rigorously analyse. The rivalry was manageable in the early period after the Cold War, only to become entrenched and bitter a decade later. The upshot has been systematic losses for Russia, the West and the countries caught in between.

All the governments involved must recognise that long-standing policies aimed at achieving one-sided advantage have reached a dead end, Charap and Colton argue, and commit to finding mutually acceptable alternatives through patient negotiation.

The Nation as Mother And Other Visions of Nationhood
Bose, Sugata. 2017. The Nation as Mother And Other Visions of Nationhood. Penguin Random House. Publisher's VersionAbstract
'History matters in contemporary debates on nationalism,' Sugata Bose contends in The Nation as Mother. In this interconnected set of deeply researched and powerfully argued essays and speeches Bose explores the relationship between nation, reason, and religion in Indian political thought and practice. Offering a subtle interpretation of the ways of imagining the nation as mother, the book illuminates different visions of India as a free and flexible federal union that have acquired renewed salience today. Breaking out of the false dichotomy between secular nationalism and religious communalism, the author provides incisive analyses of the political legacies of Tagore and Gandhi, Nehru and Bose, Aurobindo and Jinnah, and a range of other thinkers and leaders of the anticolonial movement. The essays question assumptions about any necessary contradiction between cosmopolitanism and patriotism and the tendency among religious majoritarians and secularists alike to confuse uniformity with unity. The speeches in Parliament draw on a rich historical repertoire to offer valuable lessons in political ethics. In arguing against the dangers of an intolerant religious majoritarianism, this book makes a case for concepts of layered and shared sovereignty that might enable an overarching sense of Indian nationhood to coexist with multiple identities of the country's diverse populace. The Nation as Mother delves into history on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of freedom to evoke an alternative future of a new India based on cultural intimacy among its different communities.
The Development Dilemma: Security, Prosperity, and a Return to History
Bates, Robert H. 2017. The Development Dilemma: Security, Prosperity, and a Return to History. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Today’s developing nations emerged from the rubble of the Second World War. Only a handful of these countries have subsequently attained a level of prosperity and security comparable to that of the advanced industrial world. The implication is clear: those who study the developing world in order to learn how development can be achieved lack the data to do so.

In The Development Dilemma, Robert Bates responds to this challenge by turning to history, focusing on England and France. By the end of the eighteenth century, England stood poised to enter “the great transformation.” France by contrast verged on state failure, and life and property were insecure. Probing the histories of these countries, Bates uncovers a powerful tension between prosperity and security: both may be necessary for development, he argues, but efforts to achieve the one threaten the achievement of the other. A fundamental tension pervades the political economy of development.

Bates also argues that while the creation of a central hierarchy—a state—may be necessary to the achievement of development, it is not sufficient. What matters is how the power of the state is used. France and England teach us that in some settings the seizure and redistribution of wealth—not its safeguarding and fostering—is a winning political strategy. These countries also suggest the features that mark those settings—features that appear in nations throughout the developing world.

Returning to the present, Bates applies these insights to the world today. Drawing on fieldwork in Zambia and Kenya, and data from around the globe, he demonstrates how the past can help us to understand the performance of nations in today’s developing world.