Left Behind

Left Behind

A New Economics for Neglected Places


Brought to you by Penguin.

The world-renowned economist offers a ground-breaking new vision for inclusive prosperity

Left behind places can be found in prosperous countries—from South Yorkshire, integral to the industrial revolution and now England’s poorest county, to Barranquilla, once Colombia’s portal to the Caribbean and now struggling. More alarmingly, the poorest countries in the world are diverging further from the rest of humanity. Why have these places fallen further behind? And what can we do about it?

World-renowned development economist Paul Collier has spent his life working in neglected communities. In this book he offers his candid diagnosis of why some regions and countries are falling further behind, and a new vision for how they can catch up. Collier lays the blame for widening inequality on stale economic orthodoxies that prioritize market forces and centralized bureaucracies like the UK Treasury. In contrast, a new wave of academic research has revealed the crucial role of collective learning, social capital and local agency in reversing decline and equalising life-chances.

Drawing on insights from social psychology, moral philosophy and behavioural economics, as well as a range of illuminating case studies, Collier shares a galvanizing vision for a more inclusive, prosperous world.

©2024 Paul Collier (P)2024 Penguin Audio


  • Paul Collier shows how centralized authority and economic orthodoxy have hollowed out communities and deepened the divide between prosperous and neglected places. Ranging across politics, economics, and moral philosophy, he offers a compelling vision for renewal. This tour de force book points the way to a political economy of shared prosperity and common purpose’
    Michael J. Sandel, author of THE TYRANNY OF MERIT

About the author

Paul Collier

Paul Collier is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government. He is the author of The Future of Capitalism (Handesblatt Prize) and The Bottom Billion (Arthur Ross Prize) both widely translated. He works with governments and communities around the world. A communitarian, he was awarded the Adam Smith Prize by Glasgow’s Philosophical Society (2023) and the Global Citizenship Award by Belgium’s cooperative movement (2018).
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