Economics in America: An Immigrant Economist Explores the Land of Inequality

Princeton Univ. Oct. 2023. 280p. ISBN 9780691247625. $24.94. ECON
When Nobel Prize–winning economist Deaton (Princeton Univ.; coauthor, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism) immigrated to the United States in the early l980s, he was shocked by the high level of crime unconstrained by any political or legal intervention. Many Americans were working for minimum wage, health care cost up to 20 percent of their income, and they had no retirement plans or secure futures. In this book, the author shows how U.S. economic policies contribute to growing despair and rising populism and promote a wider gap between the country’s wealthy and low-income earners. As the rich get richer, health and safety protections for impoverished people shrink, with even their small safety nets under threat. As a solution, Deaton proposes that members of Congress and other policymakers base their decisions on current and future empirical research that shows not only the causes of economic policies but also the effects that are devastating for too many.
VERDICT This brilliant economics study will likely engage general readers and hold their attention to the end. Purchase for behavioral and social sciences collections.
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