I have a new working paper in the Greenwich Papers in Political Economy series with the fabulous and rich co-author team: Ilias Alami, Carolina Alves, Bruno Bonizzi, Annina Kaltenbrunner, Kai Kodddenbrock and Jeff Powell. Together we’ve been working on systematizing and defining a critical research agenda on international financial subordination for a while now. We welcome feedback.
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.
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.
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.
I recently published a new article in Community Development, along with Kai Koddenbrock and Ndongo Samba Sylla. In the article, Financial subordination and uneven financialisation in 21st century Africa, we ask how the global process of financialization has unfolded across the continent and what it means for relations of dependence. The empirical analysis of aggregate country data shows that financialization is, at best, an uneven and patchy process in the region, not a general structural shift in the way capital accumulation is organized.
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.
Along with Kai Koddenbrock and Ndongo Samba Sylla, I recently published the pre-print Beyond Financialisation – The Need for a Longue Durée Understanding of Finance in Imperialism on OSF Preprints. This is part of an ongoing research project we are working on and we welcome any comments on the paper!
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 published “Beyond the Stereotype: Restating the Relevance of the Dependency Research Programme” in Development and Change. Here is the abstract:
This article evaluates the relevance of dependency theory for understanding contemporary development challenges, especially in the light of changes in the global economy over the past 50 years. In order to do so, the article rectifies previous misunderstandings of the scholarship and offers a new definition of dependency theory as a research programme, rather than a singular theory. Four core tenets of this research programme are identified: a global historical approach; theorizing of the polarizing tendencies of global capitalism; a focus on structures of production; and a focus on the specific constraints faced by peripheral economies. While each of these elements can be found in many contemporary theories, what makes dependency theory unique — and a particularly strong research programme — is the combination of these elements. The article demonstrates how this approach provides a deep and broad understanding that is necessary to appreciate the persistence of uneven development with reference to two case studies, namely successful industrialization in South Korea, and how the fragmentation of global value chains has impacted industrialization in Indonesia. Finally, the article argues that approaching these kinds of cases through a dependency research programme can contribute to a fruitful renewal of development studies.