Humans are plagued by shortsighted thinking, preferring to put off work on complex, deep-seated, or difficult problems in favor of quick-fix solutions to immediate needs. When short-term thinking is applied to economic development, especially in fragile nations, the results—corruption, waste, and faulty planning—are often disastrous. In Bringing in the Future, William Ascher draws on the latest research from psychology, economics, institutional design, and legal theory to suggest strategies to overcome powerful obstacles to long-term planning in developing countries.
Drawing on cases from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Ascher applies strategies such as the creation and scheduling of tangible and intangible rewards, cognitive exercises to increase the understanding of longer-term consequences, self-restraint mechanisms to protect long-term commitments and enhance credibility, and restructuring policy-making processes to permit greater influence of long-term considerations. Featuring theoretically informed research findings and sound policy examples, this volume will assist policy makers, activists, and scholars seeking to understand how the vagaries of human behavior affect international development.