This book provides a multidimensional analysis of Iran's struggle for development between 1970 and 2020, focusing on fundamentals, institutions, and socioeconomic trends. The past several decades in Iran have been a period of sluggish and noninclusive economic growth, ill-fated social engineering with an Islamic template, political repression, and extensive environmental degradation. The intellectual discourse surrounding the impediments of growth in Iran has been dominated by an exaggerated notion of the role of ideology, class struggles, imperialism, and historical contingencies, overlooking the profound impacts of institutions and fundamental socioeconomic trends.
This book aims to fill this gap using positive economics and data-driven analysis to cover a wide array of topics, such as governance, corruption, macroeconomy, population dynamics, labor, financial systems, energy, water scarcity, and food security. Illustrating clearly the complex interactions among different dimensions of Iran's development, this book will be essential for researchers, policy makers, and journalists.
About the authors
Pooya Azadi is Manager of the Stanford Iran 2040 Project.
Mohsen B. Mesgaran is Assistant Professor at University of California, Davis.
Matin Mirramezani is Co-Founder of Generation Lab and an economics student at Stanford University.
"The history of economic development in Iran, particularly in recent years, has been an enigma often wrapped in ideological fantasies of regime apologists or its determined foes. The Struggle for Development in Iran is a detailed multidisciplinary analysis of the many facets of this troubled history from the prism of data and reality, not illusion and ideological pieties. It is a must read for any student, scholar and policy maker interested in Iran's hitherto Sisyphean quest for economic development and political democracy."
—Abbas Milani, Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution
"The Struggle for Development in Iran provides a devastating account of the economic crisis the country faces today, as a result of the poor governance and weak institutions that have taken root since the 1979 Revolution. The wealth of empirical data contained in this volume is coupled with a dispassionate and informed analysis of the causes of present-day outcomes that will become a reference work for anyone interested in the future of Iran."
—Francis Fukuyama, author of Political Order and Political Decay
"A unique and superb contribution to the study of modern Iran that is rigorously researched, objectively written, and highly insightful. An invaluable resource for policymakers, scholars, and students of Iran."
—Karim Sadjadpour, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace