Dani Rodrik

Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University

A trailblasing expert on globalisation and economic development.

Add to Shortlist Dani's Blog @rodrikdani

Biography

Dani Rodrik is one of the most important political economists of our time. His ideas on customised economic growth strategies tailored to local conditions have had a major influence on governments and multilateral institutions. He is known for having presciently warned about the globalisation’s downsides and a potential political backlash in his 1997 best-seller Has Globalization Gone Too Far? His “globalisation trilemma” has become today a key reference in discussions on the future of the world economy.

Dani's newest book is titled Economics Rules: Why Economics Works, When It Fails, and How To Tell The Difference. In this book, Dani shows how economists can contribute to solving public problems when they judiciously navigate among their profession’s models, but also how they can go badly wrong (as in the years before the global financial crisis) when they confuse a model for the model. The book was listed among the year’s best economics books by The Economist and The Financial Times in 2015.

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

Dani is also the author of One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth, 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. He is widely sought after as a consultant to national governments and international organisations.

For recent profiles of Professor Dani Rodrik, see “Rebel with a Cause,” “Dani Rodrik and Mr. Trump,” and “An Economist Turns Sleuth.”

Credentials

  • Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Vice President, International Economic Association
  • Formerly, Albert O. Hirschman Professor, Institute for Advanced Study
  • Formerly, Centennial Professor of Economics, London School of Economics (LSE)
  • Formerly, Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Author, Economics Rules, 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, several honorary doctorates from universities in Europe and Latin America
  • Profiled in The New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, IMF Finance & Development
  • Frequently cited in leading newspapers and periodicals

Books

Economics Rules

Why Economics Works, When It Fails, and How To Tell The Difference

Dani Rodrik

A leading economist trains a lens on his own discipline to uncover when it fails and when it works.

The economics profession has become a favourite punching bag in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Economists are widely reviled and their influence derided by the general public. Yet their services have never been in greater demand. To unravel the paradox, we need to understand both the strengths and weaknesses of economics.

Dani Rodrik argues that the multiplicity of theoretical frameworks - what economists call 'models' that exist side by side is economics' great strength. Economists are trained to hold diverse, possibly contradictory models of the world in their minds. This is what allows them, when they do their job right, to comprehend the world, make useful suggestions for improving it, and to advance their stock of knowledge over time. In short, it is what makes economics a 'science' a different kind of science from physics or some other natural sciences, but a science nonetheless.

But syncretism is not a comfortable state of mind, and economists often jettison it for misplaced confidence and arrogance, especially when they confront questions of public policy. Economists are prone to fads and fashions, and behave too often as if their discipline is about the search for the model that works always and everywhere, rather than a portfolio of models. Their training lets them down when it comes to navigating among diverse models and figuring out which one applies where. Ideology and political preferences frequently substitute for analysis in choosing among models.

So the book offers both a defence and critique of economics. Economists' way of thinking about social phenomena has great advantages. But the flexible, contextual nature of economics is also its Achilles' heel in the hands of clumsy practitioners.

OUP Oxford (8 Oct. 2015)

Reviews

'Chicagonamics' and 'Economic Rules'The New York Times Sunday Book Review
The value and limits of economic modelsThe Washington Post
Economic RulesFinancial Times

Praise

After the financial crisis, economics is in the doghouse. Rodrik, one of the world’s most perceptive policy analysts, wants it let out again, albeit on a leash. One should, he insists, regard economics as “a collection of models”, not as a single grand, overarching theory. The economist’s art lies in knowing which model is appropriate to the task at hand.
— Martin Wolf

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.

OUP Oxford (17 May 2012)

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 (29 Dec 2008)

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.

Institute for International Economics,U.S. (31 Mar 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 following are illustrative of Professor Rodrik’s recent talks:

The Future of Globalization and the World Economy

Will globalization recede? How far will the populist backlash go? Is it possible to reconcile an open world economy with aspirations of sovereignty?

Economic Growth Strategy

How can growth strategies tailored to local circumstances be formulated? What kind of tools are available for developing reform priorities and policy designs?

The Future of Economic Growth

After a good run, many emerging markets are facing severe headwinds. Is the era of growth miracles over?

The Challenges of Industrial Policy and Economic Diversification

Industrial policy is back, but how can governments and businesses avoid the mistakes of the past? What are the principles of sound productive development policies?

Articles

— Dani Rodrik's Weblog
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Rationally Speaking Podcast
— Project Syndicate
— White Paper (2014)
— Foreign Policy
— Dani Rodrik's weblog
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— The New York Times
— Project Syndicate
— Financial Times
— The New York Times
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Dani Rodri's weblog
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— The New York Times
— Prospect Magazine
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— White Paper
— Project Syndicate
— The World Post
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— World Economic Forum Blog
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— eln
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate
— Project Syndicate