“Wealth and Poverty of African States” Seminar in Cambridge 30 Jan

I just started my position as Chair of Africa and International Development at Edinburgh University, and my first trip out of town will suitably be to Cambridge, where my former thesis supervisor, Gareth Austin, recently have been appointed professor of Economic History. I am giving the first seminar in the recently started seminar series in African Economic History. The seminar series is convened by Gareth Austin and Bronwen Everill. My presentation has the same title as my forthcoming book with the same title (to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2019).

cambridge jerven

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African Economic History Network Meetings

Just returned from the African Economic History Meetings in Network in Stellenbosch. You can see the full program here.  A lot of high quality papers and lots of promising work in progress from PhD Students. The African Economic History discipline continues to buzz with excitement. I made a presentation based on my forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press: The Wealth and Poverty of African States. Economic growth, living standards and taxation in African states since the late 19th Century. It was also decided that the next years meeting will be in Bologna, Italy – organized by Karin Pallaver.


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Global Health Seminar, Copenhagen 22 June 2017, 12:30-14:00

Speaking on statistics and health in Copenhagen 22 June 2017  12:30-14:00



Download the flyer here.

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Public talk: ‘What Economists Get Wrong about Africa’ @AU_SIS March 29

I am visiting the School of International Service at American University in Washington DC this week, and I give a public lecture hosted by the Global Environmental Politics program. It takes place on Wednesday, March 29 at 3:30 RVSP to gep@american.edu if you are interested in attending.

American talk

Get the book here, and read about it here, here and here.

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Guest Lecture ‘Why Economists Got Africa Wrong’ @LauderInstitute April 11

Looking forward to giving a guest lecture on why economists get Africa wrong at the Lauder Institute on April 11. The event is hosted and arranged by Ronald J. Granieri and Keren Weitzberg. See the full flyer here.


Get the book here, and read about it here, here and here.

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Ruling the World by Numbers: streaming lectures online

For those who want to follow the lectures in my course “Ruling the world by numbers” online, the lectures will stream live here from 12:15 till 14:00. The lectures run every monday from 12:15 to 14:00 as per the schedule below. I will also post the lecture slides online. You can ask questions and provide comments to the lecture mentioning my twitter handle or by using #worldbynumbers in your tweet.

The live stream will be available here. Tune in at 12:15 CET. Or use the same link to access the recorded lecture.

06.02.2017 1. Ruling the world by numbers: introduction
13.02.2017 2. States and statistics: Why do states count?
20.02.2017 3. Auditing the world: The IMF
27.02.2017 4. Counting the poor: The World Bank
06.03.2017 5. A world that counts: from millennium development goals (MDGs) to sustainable development goals (SDGs)
13.03.2017 6. Poor Numbers? Statistical capacity in low income countries
20.03.2017 7. Governance matters: democracy by numbers
27.03.2017 8. Correlates of war: Studying war and peace by numbers
03.04.2017 9. Evidence based policy : Knowledge and governance requirements
11.04.2017 Easter BREAK
18.04.2017 Easter BREAK
25.04.2017 10. Contesting poor numbers: qualitative and quantitative research.
08.05.2017 11. Conclusion

Lecture slides from lecture 1 here.

Lecture slides from lecture 2 here.

Lecture slides from lecture 3 here.

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Ruling the World by Numbers: Preliminary Syllabus – Comments Welcome

Here’s the preliminary version of the syllabus. Comments welcome. We also have the facilities to stream the lectures live if there are people who wants to audit the course. Let me know.lectures

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Ruling the world by numbers: knowledge and politics in international development

I am teaching a new course next spring – I call it ‘Ruling the world by numbers’. The subtitle is ‘Knowledge and politics in international development’. Here’s the syllabus.

The idea is that I will be writing a book on the same title while teaching the course. Gaute Simensen, who just joined our department, and who is writing a PhD on a similar theme will be helping me with the course.

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Discussing ‘Poor Numbers’ with Bill Easterly


You can follow the facebook chat here. The chat formally launches the paper: ‘Development By Numbers: A primer‘ (short version here) and we will of course also touch upon issues discussed in my books on the subject.

See you in the FB chat, and you can also catch up on my research in the podcasts with Owen Barder at Development Drums or Russel Roberts on Econtalk.

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How the IMF does (or doesn’t) check the quality of statistics from low income countries

Do you want to know how the IMF collects statistics from Low Income Countries? Do you wonder what kind of quality checks there are, cure and what rules determine what data gets published and what does not?

Well, so did the IMF Board. They requested the IMF Independent Evaluation Office to conduct an evaluation. Because they did not know the answers to those questions. The Evaluation Office asked me to write a background paper. The short answer is that the system they have in place is not working. Read my full paper here – and the whole evaluation here: Behind the Scenes with Data at the IMF.  Pleased to see that Lagarde supported the recommendations that the papers put forward. A bit puzzled to read the statement from the same director that seems to indicate that the evaluation emphasized the excellence of the IMF, when she in the same letter recognizes that the incentives of IMF staff in the system of data management is currently misaligned.  IMF director recommendations


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