Peter V Schaefer


The success or failure of economic actors depends on a variety of factors, which I sort into three groups: attitudes and values, endowments, and rules. Of these three, we only fully control for factors in the first group. Factors in the other two groups are determined by luck, though through individual effort we may enhance them, particularly endowments such as talent or inherited resources. As individuals, most of us have no or very little influence on rules. Rules depend on power, and most people exercise power only indirectly as members of a group or groups. In this address, I focus on the rules, which also means that I focus on power, a neglected topic in economic development, and in modern economics in general.