In April, I had the pleasure of speaking at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) seminar series. I drew on both my research on dependency theory as a research programme and my work on finance in imperialism in Senegal and Ghana (with Kai Koddenbrock and Ndongo Samba Sylla). The talk was chaired by Antonio Andreoni (IIPP), and Sophie Van Huellen (SOAS) was the discussant.
I summarize my recent research with Jacob Assa on how changes to how GDP is measured has uneven impacts on developing vs. developed countries for The Conversation.
I have a new paper out with Surbhi Kesar in the New School Department of Economics’ Working Paper series: Standing in the Way of Rigor? Economics’ Meeting with the Decolonizing Agenda.
This paper critically engages with various aspects of the decolonization movement in economics and its implications for the discipline. We operationalize the insights from this engagement using a survey of 498 economists that explores how faculty across different kinds of departments, disciplines, geographies, and identities perceive the problems of economics teaching, how they think economics pedagogy should be reformed, if at all, and how they relate to decolonial critiques of economics pedagogy. Based on the survey findings, we conclude that the mainstream of the field’s emphasis on technical training and rigor, within a narrow theoretical and methodological framework, likely stands in the way of the very possibility for decolonizing economics, given its strong contrast to key ideas associated with the decolonization agenda, such as positionality, centering power relations, exposing underlying politics of defining theoretical categories, and unpacking the politics of knowledge production. Nonetheless, the survey responses clearly chart out the challenges that the field faces in terms of decolonizing pedagogy, which is a first step towards debate and change.
I wrote an essay on global debt inequalities with Jayati Ghosh for Progressive International. Read the full essay here. The essay is part of the series “A Vision of Debt Justice” of Progressive International’s Debt Justice Blueprint.
I wrote a blog post for Developing Economics with Carolina Alves and Daniela Gabor on some of the revisionist takes on the consequences of the Washington Consensus. Check it out.
Along with Maria Dyveke Styve and Ushehwedu Kufakurinani, I edited a special issue in Review of African Political Economy on Samir Amin’s work and its relevance for contemporary problems.
You can read our introductory editorial here: Samir Amin and beyond: the enduring relevance of Amin’s approach to political economy. We also wrote a blog post about the issue that you can find here.
Happy to contribute to the interesting initiative The Economics Observatory with the blog post “#economicsfest: Does economics need to be ‘decolonised’?” In it, Carolina Alves and I reflect on the two roundtable discussions that D-Econ curated at the Bristol Festival of Economics last year (see here). We discuss historical efforts to decolonise economics, what we mean by the ‘colonisation’ of economics, the impact of colonisation on the discipline, and decolonisation of both teaching and research.
Jacob Assa and I recently published our work on the implications of changes in measurement standards of GDP for global convergence debates – and the political economy implications of recent reforms. In short, we find that how we measure GDP is largely determined by Western institutions and the economic structures of Western economies, thus underestimating the growth of non-Western economies that have different economic structures. The recent increase in the proportion of imputations in GDP has also had the effect of boosting the GDP of the West relative to the rest of the world, which is the inspiration for the paper title: Imputing Away the Ladder.
What are the implications of changes in measurement standards of GDP for global convergence debates? What are the political economy implications? To answer the former question, we examine the changes in national accounting standards from the early 1990s. Revisions to the System of National Accounts (SNA) – the international standard for constructing GDP – include several major changes to how production is measured, including the reclassification of financial intermediation services, R&D, and weapons systems as productive activities – all areas in which countries in the West has had an advantage in recent decades. In addition, there has been an increase in the proportion of imputations in the 1993 and 2008 revisions, which privileges the economic structures of the West. Overall, we find that these changes have had the effect of boosting the GDP of the West relative to the rest of the world and thus to an underestimation of global convergence compared to previous measures of GDP. To answer the second question, the paper unpacks the political economy implications of national accounting standards favouring Western economies along several axes, including the impacts on voting shares in international institutions, domestic policy incentives and epistemological debates about sustainable development.
In November 2020, I attended a really interesting panel on decolonising Economics at the Bristol Festival of Ideas, curated by Carolina Alves of D-Econ and chaired by Romesh Vaitilingam of the Economics Observatory. Along with Fadekemi Abiru, Surbhi Kesar, and Farwa Sia, I discussed Decolonising Economics: What does it mean and how is it done? You can view the recording here.
D-Econ also hosted another panel on decolonising economics, with Carolina Alves, Keston Perry, Imran Rasul, and Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe. Watch it here:Why Diversifying and Decolonising Economics Matters to Everyone.
Key Questions on Global Inequality is an interview series that forces academics to consider how our own upbringings and positionalities affect how we see the world. Here is the interview they did with me, where I dig into how my own childhood led me to see and challenge global inequality in particular ways, and how this in turn eventually led me to heterodox economics and debt justice work.