About the Author: Dr. Craig Richardson earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
and his B.A. with honors in economics from Kenyon College. Dr. Richardson is currently an Associate Professor of Economics at Salem College, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Dr. Richardson has worked for both The Urban Institute and The World Bank in Washington, D.C. and has published pieces in a variety of places, including The Wall Street Journal, Southern Economic Journal, Journal of Insurance Regulation, and Entrepreneur. His ongoing research interests include economic development, the economics of trust, and health care.2004 0-7734-6366-6
In the early years after its independence, Zimbabwe seemed poised to be an African success story, with its vast wealth of minerals and rich farmland, and its continued investment in education and health care. However, after the government seized wealthy commercial farmland in 2000, Zimbabwe quickly went from a place of hope to one of the grimmest places on Earth, with foreign investors fleeing, life expectancies dropping and hyperinflation looming. Despite the agricultural sector only commanding fifteen percent of the economy, this book argues that the perceived and actual lack of secure property rights caused a series of cascading and harmful economic effects throughout Zimbabwe.
Using primary data from official Zimbabwe government sources, The IMF, The World Bank and Zimbabwe’s Commercial Farmers’ Union, this book explains the mechanics of the collapse of one institution after another, including the central bank, foreign exchange markets, and the health and education sectors. It also dispels the widely held belief that a drought in 2001 led to collapsed agricultural yields, using data from Zimbabwe’s meteorological authorities to make the case. Lastly, the book uses the case study of Nicaragua, which underwent a similar collapse in the late 1980s, as a blueprint for how a country can once again prosper after paying attention to the importance of property rights. In its conclusion, the book suggests concrete policy proposals that can put Zimbabwe back on track.