"This book is a must-read for any serious student of development economics and political economy. Besley and Persson provide a rich framework for understanding the evolution of economic, legal, and political institutions, and rightly place the state at its center. Their emphasis on fiscal and legal capacity and political violence is particularly apt. This work will inspire, motivate, and challenge many generations of researchers and students."

Daron Acemoglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Pillars of Prosperity is a landmark analysis of political economy. It provides the first rigorous foundations for the emergence of the effective states needed for development. In the process, this book opens many paths for new research."

Paul Collier, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford

"For much of the poor world, economic development is not about resources but about state capacity. Without an understanding of what makes an effective state, aid is as likely to harm as to help, and millions are doomed to cycles of poverty and violence. In Pillars of Prosperity, two of the world's leading political economists bring together the economics and politics of development. This book will fundamentally reshape debates about global poverty and foreign aid."

Angus Deaton, Princeton University

"Why are some countries rich and peaceful while others are poor and prone to political violence? This book is an ambitious attempt to cut theoretically into the Gordian knots of reciprocal causation that make progress on answering this question so hard won. Besley and Persson develop an original approach to examining state decisions to develop fiscal and legal capacity, along with decisions bearing on political repression and violence, within a single theoretical framework."

James Fearon, Stanford University

"With an elegant and sophisticated series of models, this book illuminates the processes that cause prosperity and political order to develop together. Offering powerful insights into the divergent paths countries have taken, it is a major contribution to the fields of political economy and development economics."

Daniel Treisman, University of California