Morten Jerven Morten Jerven

Towards a new history of economic growth in Africa

Is it only me who thinks it is a bit strange that the most  read book on African economic growth, the Bottom Billion, focuses on explaining why African economies are stuck in chronic failure of growth – while African economies on average has been growing for the past two decades?

Similarly, the most widely read book on the economic history of growth, Why Nations Fail?, does not take into growth trajectories at all, but just presumes growth failure and focuses on explaining why African economies have been trapped in history.

None of these conceptual frameworks are good tools for understanding the patterns and trajectories of growth experienced by African economies.

This is one the points I make in my latest book, Economic Growth Reconsidered. I also just learned that Economic History of Developing Regions has made two of my journal articles free to access.

In, African Growth Recurring, I propose an alternative view on economic growth in Africa, and in Clash of Disciplines, I show why Economists and Historians approach the African economic past so differently.


One thought on Towards a new history of economic growth in Africa

  1. In the case of Collier, it’s just mediocrity passing as scholarship. Acemoglu and Robinson are more baffling. What matters for a continent with 50 plus countries is accounting for variation both spatially and temporally and discontinuity! Even Dani Rodrik recent presentation at CGD failed somewhat at this endeavor. However, the presentation was still very good!

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