Book review: Political economy and bad governance


The Political Economy of Bad Governance: Reflections on the Interaction of Elite Structures, Governance, and Public Policy Choices by Jamil Nasir is a collection of essays produced for various leading newspapers and journals.

Major themes

The book is divided into eight sub-themes: namely democracy, political economy, rural political economy, governance, corruption, education, trade and taxation. The book explores the connection between democracy and various socio-economic and political issues a country may face while sharing light on the interplay of politics and economics such as the relationship between rent-seeking activities. and conflicts of interest in governance.

The other important areas highlighted in this document, and most relevant to the current situation facing the country, are IMF conditionalities and this type of approach taken by global organizations such as the World Bank.

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The book also sheds light on agricultural and non-agricultural economies and their links to human development challenges. Considering the discussion on education, the author makes an excellent comparison on access to education between the haves and have-nots.

How two segments of society have access to different quality education which, in turn, paves the way for future development. The book suggests designing appropriate incentives so that there is economic value in ensuring children get an education.

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Nasir, a prestigious Columbia University alumnus and former Chevening Fellow served in the government bureaucracy as a customs collector for the Federal Board of Revenue.

In essence, Jamil Nasir has several years of experience not only as a civil servant in Pakistan, implementing the various policies and developing first-hand knowledge about the opportunities and pitfalls of such policies.

In the past he has also worked as a consultant to the World Bank and this book provides an overview of the vast reservoir of knowledge and experience he has accumulated over the past two decades.

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