Event Date: April 9, 2014 - 12:00 pm
Location: FSS4007, 120 University Private, , Ottawa
MORTEN JERVEN, Simon Fraser University
Presented by CIPS and the School of International Development and Global Studies.
Free. In English. Registration is not required. Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
Reliable statistics, including estimates of economic growth rates and per-capita income, are basic to the operation of governments in developing countries and are vital to non-governmental organizations and other entities that provide financial aid to them. Rich countries and international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, allocate their development resources on the basis of such data. Hence a paucity of accurate statistics is not merely a technical problem, but has a massive impact on the welfare of citizens in developing countries. Morten Jerven’s research shows how the statistical capacities of Sub-Saharan African economies have fallen into disarray. Because numbers substantially misstate the actual state of affairs, scarce resources are being misapplied, development is not delivering the benefits expected and donors have no accurate sense of the impact of the aid they supply. Jerven notes that the current catchphrase in the development community is ‘evidence-based policy’ and scholars are applying increasingly sophisticated econometric methods − but no statistical techniques can be a substitute for partial and unreliable data. One of the most urgent challenges in African economic development is therefore to improve statistical capacity.
Morten Jerven is the author of Poor Numbers. How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It, published by Cornell University Press in 2013. He has written and published widely on African economic development, particularly on patterns of economic growth and on economic development statistics. An economic historian with a PhD from the London School of Economics, Jerven is Associate Professor at the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.