Dani Rodrik

Professor, Institute for Advanced Study

A trailblazing expert on globalization and economic development.

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Biography

Dani Rodrik is one of the most important political economists of our time. His unconventional approach to globalization and economic development favors policies that are tailored to local conditions rather than to the dictates of the international globalization establishment.

Dani’s newest book is The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy. In this eloquent challenge to the reigning wisdom on globalization, Dani offers a new narrative, one that embraces an ineluctable tension: we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national self-determination, and economic globalization.

His previous book, One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth, is the definitive statement of his original and influential perspective and shows how successful countries craft their own unique growth strategies designed to overcome their own highly specific constraints.

Rodrik's alternative approach focuses on enhancing policy space rather than market space — devising the rules of the game to better manage the interaction between national regulation of the economy and the realities of a country's social and political cultures.

An award-winning economist, Professor Rodrik has published widely in the areas of economic development, international economics, and political economy. His 1997 book Has Globalization Gone Too Far? was hailed as "one of the most important economics books of the decade" by BusinessWeek.

He is widely sought after as a consultant to national governments and international organizations.

One Economics, Many Recipes
Appropriate growth policies are almost always context-specific. This is not because economics works differently in different settings, but because its principles come institution-free and filling them out requires local knowledge. Rule-of-thumb economics, which has long dominated thinking on growth policies, can be safely discarded.

The key is to growing developing economies is to first identify the most binding constraints on growth and then go for the reforms that alleviate them. This diagnostic approach has the advantage of providing country-specific solutions. It is inherently bottom-up: it empowers countries to do their own diagnostic analyses and it warns multilateral organizations against uniformity and excessive restrictions on "policy space."

"Policy space" means room for national deliberations and action on policies that meet the local needs, even if they do not accord with orthodox, open-market assumptions about globalization. Countries like China that have scored the most impressive gains are those that have developed their own version of the rulebook while taking advantage of world markets. Countries that have failed to locally adapt in this way, in slavish acceptance of the globalization establishment's terms, have experienced mixed to miserable results.

Yale economist Robert Shiller has called One Economics, Many Recipes "a deep and important book about the relative success of nations." Nobel laureate George Akerlof wrote this about the book: "One Economics, Many Recipes does for economic development what Julia Child did for French cooking. Child taught would-be cooks how to be excellent chefs. Dani Rodrik teaches economists and policy planners how to construct successful, sustainable development programs."

Credentials

  • Albert O. Hirschman Professor, Institute for Advanced Study
  • Formerly, Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Author, The Globalization Paradox, One Economics, Many Recipes, and Has Globalization Gone Too Far?
  • Author, Dani Rodrik's weblog
  • Monthly contributor to Project Syndicate
  • Winner, inaugural Albert O. Hirschman Prize, Social Science Research Council
  • Winner, Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought
  • Recipient, honorary doctorate, University of Antwerp
  • Profiled in The New York Times
  • Frequently cited in leading newspapers and periodicals

Books

The Globalization Paradox

Democracy and the Future of the World Economy

Dani Rodrik

Surveying three centuries of economic history, a Harvard professor argues for a leaner global system that puts national democracies front and center.

From the mercantile monopolies of seventeenth-century empires to the modern-day authority of the WTO, IMF, and World Bank, the nations of the world have struggled to effectively harness globalization's promise. The economic narratives that underpinned these eras —the gold standard, the Bretton Woods regime, the "Washington Consensus" — brought great success and great failure. In this eloquent challenge to the reigning wisdom on globalization, Dani Rodrik offers a new narrative, one that embraces an ineluctable tension: we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national self-determination, and economic globalization. When the social arrangements of democracies inevitably clash with the international demands of globalization, national priorities should take precedence. Combining history with insight, humor with good-natured critique, Rodrik's case for a customizable globalization supported by a light frame of international rules shows the way to a balanced prosperity as we confront today's global challenges in trade, finance, and labor markets.

WW. Norton & Co. (February 2011)

Review

Dani Rodrik's 'The Globalization Paradox'The Washington Post

One Economics, Many Recipes

Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth

Dani Rodrik

In One Economics, Many Recipes, leading economist Dani Rodrik argues that neither globalizers nor antiglobalizers have got it right. While economic globalization can be a boon for countries that are trying to dig out of poverty, success usually requires following policies that are tailored to local economic and political realities rather than obeying the dictates of the international globalization establishment. A definitive statement of Rodrik's original and influential perspective on economic growth and globalization, One Economics, Many Recipes shows how successful countries craft their own unique strategies--and what other countries can learn from them.

To most proglobalizers, globalization is a source of economic salvation for developing nations, and to fully benefit from it nations must follow a universal set of rules designed by organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization and enforced by international investors and capital markets. But to most antiglobalizers, such global rules spell nothing but trouble, and the more poor nations shield themselves from them, the better off they are. Rodrik rejects the simplifications of both sides, showing that poor countries get rich not by copying what Washington technocrats preach or what others have done, but by overcoming their own highly specific constraints. And, far from conflicting with economic science, this is exactly what good economics teaches.

Princeton University Press (October 2007)

Has Globalization Gone Too Far?

Dani Rodrik

Globalization is exposing social fissures between those with the education, skills, and mobility to flourish in an unfettered world market-the apparent "winners"-and those without. These apparent "losers" are increasingly anxious about their standards of living and their precarious place in an integrated world economy. The result is severe tension between the market and broad sectors of society, with governments caught in the middle. Compounding the very real problems that need to be addressed by all involved, the kneejerk rhetoric of both sides threatens to crowd out rational debate. From the United States to Europe to Asia, positions are hardening. Author Dani Rodrik brings a clear and reasoned voice to these questions. Has Globalization Gone Too Far? takes an unblinking and objective look at the benefits-and risks-of international economic integration, and criticizes mainstream economists for downplaying its dangers. It also makes a unique and persuasive case that the "winners" have as much at stake from the possible consequences of social instability as the "losers." As Rodrik points out, ". . . social disintegration is not a spectator sport-those on the sidelines also get splashed with mud from the field. Ultimately, the deepening of social fissures can harm all." President Clinton has read the book and it provided the conceptual basis for the trade/IMF portions of the State of the Union message in January 1998.

Peterson Institute for International Economics October 1997

Topics

Dani tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

The Globalization Paradox

Articles

— Project Syndicate
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