An Analysis of Robert E. Lucas Jr.'s Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

An Analysis of Robert E. Lucas Jr.'s Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?

1st Edition

By Pádraig Belton

Macat Library

108 pages

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Robert Lucas is known among economists as one of the most influential macroeconomists of recent times – a reputation founded in no small part on the critical thinking skills displayed in his seminal 1990 paper ‘Why Doesn’t Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?’

Lucas’s paper tackles a puzzle in economic theory that has since come to be known as the ‘Lucas paradox,’ and it deploys the author’s brilliant problem solving skills to explain why such an apparent paradox in fact makes sense. Classical economic theory makes a simple prediction of how capital flows between countries: it should, it states, flow from rich to poor countries, because of the law of diminishing returns on capital. Since poor countries have so little capital invested in them, the returns on new investment should be proportionally far better than investment in rich countries.

This should mean that investors seeking new opportunities will invest in poorer countries, making capital consistently flow from rich nations to poorer ones. But, problematically, this is not in fact the case. Having defined the problem, Lucas did what any good problem solver would: he looked critically at the criteria involved, and offered a series of possible solutions. Indeed, in just six pages, he puts forward four hypotheses to explain the paradox’s existence. The popularity of his paper, and the influence it has had, are also greatly magnified by careful reasoning embodied in Lucas’s marshalling of evidence and his explanations of the judgements he has made.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the Text

Who was Robert E. Lucas Jr.?

What does Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries? Say?

Why does Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries? Matter?

Section 1: Influences

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context

Module 2: Academic Context

Module 3: The Problem

Module 4: The Author's Contribution

Section 2: Ideas

Module 5: Main Ideas

Module 6: Secondary Ideas

Module 7: Achievement

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work

Section 3: Impact

Module 9: The First Responses

Module 10: The Evolving Debate

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today

Module 12: Where Next?

Glossary of Terms

People Mentioned in the Text

Works Cited

About the Author

Pádraig Belton is completing his doctoral research in politics and international relations at the University of Oxford. A prolific financial, business and political journalist, his work has appeared in publications including the Irish Times, the Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, the Irish Independent, The Atlantic, the New Statesman, Prospect, the Times Literary Supplement, and Foreign Policy, as well as via the BBC.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General