Many thinkers made attempts to explain differences in economic development between countries, and point out what should be done to foster development. We review briefly some spectacular theories focused on these fundamental problems. We use the tools of economic analysis and the methods characteristic especially for institutional economics and economic history. However, the paper’s central aim is to analyse and assess one of the newest voices in that still open discussion coming from Acemoglu and Robinson and presented in their “Why Nation Failed? The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty”. Their book is brimmed with compelling illustrations, which we acknowledge as its strongest point. While the accuracy and coherence of their generalisations leave much to be desired. The analysis of those examples let to infer that the most important element encouraging or hampering economic development is the common participation of the people in economic and political processes.
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