At the end of “The Bottom Billion” Paul Collier references the “political business cycle”, in which elected officials try to boost the economy right before elections, generally causing problems later on. He writes that voters eventually got wise and so politicians stopped using that tactic. I actually wasn’t aware of that last part. Most treatments I read talk as if it’s still going on. Collier didn’t provide a cite (there are no footnotes in the book), so I’m wondering what anyone else thinks.

He also mentions Lenin using the phrase “useful idiots”, and I also used to believe that but now I suspect the quote is fabricated. I’ve never heard anyone give a source for it.