Overview

Originally published in 1967, the modest and plainly descriptive title of Development Projects Observed is deceptive. Today, it is recognized as the ultimate volume of Hirschman's groundbreaking trilogy on development, and as the bridge to the broader social science themes of his subsequent writings. Though among his lesser-known works, this unassuming tome is one of his most influential.

It is in this book that Hirschman first shared his now famous "Principle of the Hiding ...

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Development Projects Observed

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This item will be available on November 10, 2014.
NOOK Book (eBook - with a new forward)
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Overview

Originally published in 1967, the modest and plainly descriptive title of Development Projects Observed is deceptive. Today, it is recognized as the ultimate volume of Hirschman's groundbreaking trilogy on development, and as the bridge to the broader social science themes of his subsequent writings. Though among his lesser-known works, this unassuming tome is one of his most influential.

It is in this book that Hirschman first shared his now famous "Principle of the Hiding Hand." In an April 2013 New Yorker issue, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an appreciation of the principle, described by Cass Sunstein in the book's new foreword as "a bit of a trick up history's sleeve." It can be summed up as a phenomenon in which people's inability to foresee obstacles leads to actions that succeed because people have far more problem-solving ability that they anticipate or appreciate.

And it is in Development Projects Observed that Hirschman laid the foundation for the core of his most important work, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, and later led to the concept of an "exit strategy."

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
First published in 1967, this first-hand study of eleven major development projects financed by the World Bank explores the reasons for each project's success or failure. Of special note are Hirschman's ideas on how decisionmaking is molded, activated, or hampered by the specific nature of each project, from a Pakistani paper mill to a Peruvian irrigation project. Includes a new preface by the author. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815726432
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 11/10/2014
  • Series: A Brookings Classic
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: with a new forward
  • Pages: 200

Meet the Author

Albert O. Hirschman (1915-2012) was an influential economist who is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century's most extraordinary intellectuals. His other books include Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States (Harvard University Press, 1970) and The Strategy of Economic Development (Yale University Press, 1958).

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Table of Contents

Author's Preface: A Hidden Ambition vii
Foreword xiii
Author's Acknowledgments xvii
Introduction 1
1 The Principle of the Hiding Hand 9
2 Uncertainties 35
Varieties of Uncertainties 37
Supply Uncertainties: Technology 39
Supply Uncertainties: Administration 45
Supply Uncertainties: Finance 56
Excess Demand 59
Inadequate Demand 65
Digression: The R&D Strategy 75
Mitigation of Uncertainties 81
3 Latitudes and Disciplines 86
Spatial or Locational Latitude 87
Temporal Discipline in Construction 95
Temporal Discipline from Construction to Operation 103
Latitude for Corruption 107
Latitude in Substituting Quantity for Quality 112
Latitude in Substituting Private for Public Outlays 119
4 Project Design: Trait-Taking and Trait-Making 128
The Dilemma of Design 130
Implicit Trait-Making: A Failure in Nigeria 139
Entrained Trait-Making 148
The Autonomous Agency as a Hybrid 153
5 Project Appraisal: The Centrality of Side-Effects 160
Side-Effects as Essential Requirements 161
Pure and Mixed Side-Effects 163
Smuggling in Change via Side-Effects 168
Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Offensive Against Side-Effects 174
Counteroffensives 180
Modesty and Ambition in Project Planning 185
Index 191
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