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Blog post: Does economics need to be ‘decolonised’?

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.

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New article: Imputing Away the Ladder

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.

The abstract:

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.

Read the full paper here. If you don’t have access to New Political Economy, you can request a PDF from Jacob or me through ResearchGate.

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Video: Decolonising Economics: What does it mean and how is it done?

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.

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Why Do Economists Have Trouble Understanding Racialized Inequalities? (Blog post)

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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.

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Decolonize your pandemic reading list (openDemocracy)

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A diverse reading list on pandemics compiled with Devika Dutt, Surbhi Kesar and Farwa Sial.

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Summer Academy for Pluralist Economics 2020


Along with D-Econ, I’ll be hosing a workshop at Exploring Economics’ Summer Academy August 10-16th 2020 on Critical Development Economics/Decolonizing Economics. Register for the workshop here.

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New Podcast: On Diversifying and Decolonising Economics

podcast photo 2On February 27th 2020, the “Women in Science” project invited me to talk about diversifying and decolonising economics. This was a part of the Great Speaker Series campaign in Portugal in partnership with the British-born co-working space Second Home Lisbon. In the podcast, I outline how D-Econ came to be, how I came to be interested in heterodox economics, and why and how the missions of diversifying and decolonising economics are so essential. Listen to the podcast here.

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The Syllabus Cyberflâneur: Health Inequities, Financialization and Imperialism

With debate raging around the implications of COVID-19 for the “developing world”, Ingrid Kvangraven’s turn to guest curate the Cyberflâneur has come at the right time.[…] Ingrid has “chosen a selection of articles that can help us better understand how COVID-19 will impact developing countries and the underlying structures that lead to inequitable and underfunded health systems, with a focus on financialization and imperialism.” You’ll find some real gems, including on the “coloniality in knowledge production about public health”, why blended finance might not be as good as it sounds or how the IMF and World Bank have fed an audit culture “serving to obscure the destructive effects of NGO proliferation on public health systems”.

See the selection of articles with my comments here.

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Diversify and decolonise your holiday reading list (openDemocracy)

Along with Devika Dutt and Surbhi Kesar, I put together an alternative winter reading list on behalf of D-Econ. It was published in openDemocracy’s ‘Decolonising the economy’ series. Check it out.

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