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Why novels are best at explaining world problems

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Those of us who were lit majors have known it all along: The novel works better than academic literature to explain global problems. But now some economists are validating that notion.

"Despite the regular flow of academic studies, expert reports, and policy position papers, it is arguably novelists who do as good a job – if not a better one – of representing and communicating the realities of international development,"  says Dr. Dennis Rodgers from England's Manchester University's Brooks World Poverty Institute.

Rodgers was speaking for a team of academics from Manchester University and the London School of Economics as they presented a report called "The Fiction of Development: Literary Representation as a Source of Authoritative Knowledge."

The reason: Fiction "does not compromise on complexity, politics or readability in the way that academic literature sometimes does," argues Dr. Rodgers.

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