Deepak Lal, Poverty and Progress: Realities and Myths about Global Poverty

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  • 174 PDR 40 (1 ) B o o k R e v i e w s

    social-class differential in the US); and assisted reproduction and adoption. None of these chapters contains fresh empirical analysis, instead re-interpreting existing research within the TCA framework. Authorship of each of these three applied chap-ters is attributed to a sub-set of the volumes co-authors. A final chapter considers methodological challenges in applying the TCA framework, mainly measurement challenges. Bibliography, index.J.C.

    eriC kaufmann and W. Bradford WilCox (eds.)Whither the Child? Causes and Consequences of Low FertilityBoulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2012. xiii + 253 p. $39.95.

    This edited volume on low-fertility societies originated in a 2010 conference in Barcelona. The ten chapters are weighted toward consequences rather than causes of low fertility, and toward cultural and psychological rather than economic factors. An exception to the latter is the first chapter by Adser, which attempts to integrate materialist and cultural theories and then test them empirically. Values and religios-ity figure prominently in most chapters. All but two of the chapters are concerned with Western societies (Europe and North America): Short et al. is entirely on China, and Lutz et al. devote some attention to low fertility in China. Consequences of low fertility are examined in empirical analyses: consequences for social and civic engage-ment (Eggebeen), for individual happiness (Kohler), for marital happiness (Wilcox and Dew), and for societal religiosity (Kaufmann). In general, anticipated effects of childbearing emerge, but there are exceptionsEggebeen finds no effects on social and civic engagementand on the whole estimated effects are weaker than theory would lead one to expect. Evidently the characteristics of those who choose to be parents explain a considerable amount of the observed differences between those with and without children. Three chapters consider policy options, including a pro-vocative chapter by Hakim which argues that pronatalist policies in most low-fertility societies ought to invest more in women who have limited ambition to combine employment and childrearing. The concluding chapter by Lutz et al. contemplates the optimal level of fertility from a societal standpoint and concludes that the optimum is probably markedly below replacement level. Index.J.C.

    deepak lalPoverty and Progress: Realities and Myths about Global PovertyWashington, DC: Cato Institute, 2013. xi + 248 p. $11.95.

    A major landmark in comparative development studies was the 1996 volume The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity and Growth, by Deepak Lal and Hla Myint. The cul-mination of an elaborate multi-country World Bank project, it amounted to a ringing defense of classical liberalism as the most effective policy route out of povertya route then beginning to be pursued by China and India, with striking results. In Pov-erty and Progress, a short, lively, and provocative work, Deepak Lal undertakes what he terms a summing up and critique of the secondary literature on poverty alleviation

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    that has emerged since the 1990s. In a predominant tone of exasperation, he finds little to praise in the recent efforts of development economists. Their misdeeds are many: using discredited methods, following dubious fads, and committing outright errors. Hard-won insights from economic history and political economy are thrown back in the hopper, supplanted by a technocratic approach he terms distributionist egalitarianism, backed by mathematical models of poverty traps and by the statistical snake oil of cross-country regressions and instrumental variables. In effect, develop-ment economics has been revived as a subject distinct from economics proper, prof-fering the same dirigiste recipesbig push notions, for instancethat were found wanting decades ago. Lal is scornful of the claims to causal evidence of randomized controlled trials (the favored device of the MIT Poverty Action Lab) and dismissive of the promises of microfinance. Foreign assistance he sees as at best irrelevant; at worst, as in Africa, it is spreading malign Dutch-disease effects on the regions econo-mies and politics. The best thing the world can do for Africa is to keep its goods and capital markets open and let the continents entrepreneurial multitudes make their own future, beginning by learning how to hold their predatory rulers to account. By implication, Africas fertility transition can also be left to market forces. A final chapter, somewhat detached from the rest, challenges the consensus position on global warming. Lal is skeptical of the human element in climate change, but he is particularly offended by rich-world suggestions of any diversion of the development effort in the cause of controlling carbon emissions. Bibliography, index.G.McN.

    gerda neyer, gunnar andersson, hill kulu, laura Bernardi, and Christoph Bhler (eds.)The Demography of EuropeDordrecht: Springer, 2013. 227 p. $129.00.

    In recent decades trends in European fertility, mortality, migration, and family structure have often deviated substantially from conventional projections, leaving demographers with many unresolved puzzles. In the absence of widely accepted theories or consensus on the causes of these trends, there is considerable uncer-tainty about what lies ahead and policymakers are left without guidance. This book is a collection of papers on European demography by leading population research-ers. The contributions were first presented at symposium in 2007 in honor of Jan Hoem on his retirement as Director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. Aside from an introduction, eight essays cover various aspects of fertility, family dynamics, mortality, and migration aimed at addressing unresolved issues and pointing to promising research avenues. Peter McDonald reviews the major challenges to understanding the causes of low fertility and identifies several areas on which demographic research should focus to improve our ability to predict fertility trends. Gerda Neyer discusses the complex relationships between family policies and fertility and argues that research should take account of welfare state configurations and socioeconomic contexts. The two papers on mortality reach somewhat different conclusions: Rau, Muszyska, and Vaupel document rapid improvements in old-age mortality and expect continued progress, while Vallin is more pessimistic and proj-


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