Morten Jerven Morten Jerven

Want to do a PhD in African Economic History?

We just announced two fully funded PhD positions at the Economic History Department at Lund University. You can click to read the full announcement and apply here.

Two research projects are recruiting one PhD candidate each. Both projects deal with long-term processes of economic change in Africa. The projects are:

African Elites: Wealth Accumulation and Persistence

The primary focus is the analysis of the development of African elites in the informal (agrarian) sector. It is building on a previous project where we estimated income levels and groups size for income classes. Now we move forward explaining drivers of long-term trends of wealth accumulation, specifically the nexus between elites, colonial policies and commercialization. We also pursue the issue of how the elites fared after independence and the extent to which they have continued to shape African economies.

Is Africa growing out of poverty? A comparative historical inquiry

Are current high economic growth rates in several African countries a sign that parts of Africa is growing out of poverty? Economic historians have shown that the current economic boom is not unique. Africa has experienced several longer periods of economic growth in the 20th century. These booms were followed by longer periods of economic stagnation. Why were previous booms not sustained? There are important historical lessons to learn from past failures. We hypothesis that the failed booms were due to weak intra- and inter-sectoral linkages between the export and the domestic sectors. We move on and compare the historical studies with current cases to identify similarities and differences in terms of linkages. The comparison will enable us to contribute to the debate on Africa’s economic future.

These are projects funded by the Swedish Research Council and the Wallenberg Foundation. I am co-investigator on the projects. Ellen Hillbom is the project leader, and Erik Green and Jutta Bolt are also co-investigators. We already have a vibrant group of PhD and Post Doc students working on these and other topics in African Economic History.

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