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.
I just published a new article in the Review of Political Economy, “Nobel Rebels in Disguise — Assessing the Rise and Rule of the Randomistas,” which assesses the theoretical and empirical foundations of the use of randomised control trials in Economics, and its impact on policy debates in development economics and in the aid industry.
It was great fun to discuss the big questions in development economics with Prof. Dan Banik on his podcast In Pursuit of Development. Listen to it and read more about it here.
“The pandemic has revealed the poverty of our economic theory. Rupture with the old paradigm is the only route to recovery.”
I wrote a blog post with Surbhi Kesar for the Institute for New Economic Thinking on the Economics discipline’s lack of capacity to understand racial inequalities, based on survey data.
I wrote an article on how COVID-19 exposes weaknesses in the dominant Economics narrative, and how heterodox economics offer important alternatives, with Carolina Alves for the Review of Agrarian Studies. Here’s the abstract:
In this article, we argue that societies’ unpreparedness and inadequate responses to the Covid-19 pandemic expose weaknesses in the foundations of the dominant economic paradigm. We document how economics came to disembed itself from broader societal analysis and how this has influenced public policy in problematic ways, leading to privileging of efficiency over resilience. We then go a step further to consider the role of economic evidence in public policy more generally. Furthermore, we demonstrate how heterodox economics can enrich our understandings of our economies’ weaknesses and of how to build a more resilient and just economy. We conclude that we need an explanation of the crisis that is capable of seeing the economy as more than just markets and as embedded in society; one that is capable of linking the causes and consequences of the pandemic to our systems of production and distribution.
Read the full paper.
I recently wrote a review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Ideology for Nature. Read the full review.
I wrote an essay for the World Development Symposium on Development and Poverty Alleviation. Here is the abstract:
This article situates the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in the history of thought on development, tracing how the focus, theory and methods have shifted in the field. The article evaluates theoretical and methodological critiques of the way randomized control trials (RCTs) are employed by the laureates, as well as attempts to overcome these challenges. In terms of theory, the article demonstrates what gets lost when experiments are guided by methodological individualism and assumptions of individual utility-maximizing behavior. In terms of methodology, the article unpacks the limits of RCTs related to their causal model, and their lack of attention to human agency and wider socio-economic context. Finally, the article discusses the experimental approach’s relevance for research and policy-making and cautions against any approach becoming a “gold standard,” due to the importance of pluralism for maintaining an open debate about development.
I speak with Lev Moscow about the Nobel Prize in Economics (and what it says about the state of the economics profession). A Correction is a podcast that is directed towards high school teachers and students, based in New York City. Listen to the podcast here.
This week I had the pleasure of appearing on Doug Henwood’s political economy radio show, the LBO news. He picked my brain about the recent developments in the field of development economics and the work of Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer, in particular. This is a one-hour episode, with René Rojas being interviewed by the political demonstrations in Chile in the first half, and me being interviewed in the second half. You can download the podcast here or listen to it by pressing the play button below.