Morten Jerven Morten Jerven
Morten Jerven

Morten Jerven

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Visiting Professor in Economic History at Lund University


B.Sc. (Budapest),
M.Sc.,Ph.D. (LSE)

Areas of Interest

  • Africa
  • Economic History
  • Economic Growth and Development

I have published widely on African economic development, and particularly on patterns of economic growth and on economic development statistics. My books are based on research in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana. I am an economic historian, with a PhD from the London School of Economics. Since 2009 I worked at the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. In 2015 I was appointed at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and I am a professor in development studies there since 2016. My doctoral research involved in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia and his work on the post-colonial economic performance of these countries has been published in a range of journal papers. The work is particularly innovative in investigating the construction of African growth data and showing how data quality issues are critical for the evaluation of economic performance. In Spring 2010, I visited Ghana and Nigeria and in the fall of the same year, I went to Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia. There I followed up on my doctoral research and conducted interviews at the statistical offices.In 2013 I published my first book Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It, which is published by Cornell University Press. My second book, Economic Growth and Measurement Reconsidered in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia, 1965-1995, was published by Oxford University Press, and is a revised version of my doctoral thesis. My third book – Africa. Why Economists Get it Wrong – was published in 2015.I currently work on linking studies on post-colonial economic development with the economic history of colonial Africa. The research projects is focusing on the African growth data where the two related aims are to assess its quality and to construct a reliable basis to evaluate and interpret long term economic change in African economies. The project is called: ‘African states and development: a historical perspective on state legitimacy and development capacity, 1890-2010’ and it is supported by a SSHRC Standard grant.

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