Does economics have an ‘Africa Problem’? Some data and preliminary thoughts

Monday, 12 June, 2017 - 15:00

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There has been increasing interest (particularly on online forums) on the apparent underrepresentation of African-based scholars in economics scholarship on Africa. Much of this debate, however, proceeds with little by way of evidence in demonstrating whether such an underrepresentation actually exists in the first place. In this essay, I look at the patterns of authorship over the period 2005 to 2015 in "leading" economics journals that publish regularly on Africa. I find that, on average, only 25% of the 1,518 journal articles published on Africa had at-least one African-based author over this period. Further, I find that whereas the journals I consider dedicate about 30% of their content on Africa, only 3% of their editorial boards are based on the continent. I conclude the essay by discussing implications for economics scholarship and economic policy of the patterns of underrepresentation uncovered in the essay.

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