Morten Jerven

Professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

[email protected]

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Research interests: African economic growth and statistics

I have published widely on African economic development, and particularly on patterns of economic growth and on economic development statistics. My books are based on research in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana. I am an economic historian, with a PhD from the London School of Economics. I currently work on linking studies on post-colonial economic development with the economic history of colonial Africa. The research project is focusing on the African growth data where the two related aims are to assess its quality and to construct a reliable basis to evaluate and interpret long term economic change in African economies.

Case Study


Morten Jerven

Since the discovery of oil in 1956 and independence 1960, Nigeria has been seen as a clear example of a natural resource curse, growth without poverty reduction and increasing inequality. Does current inequality have colonial roots or is it an outcome of the oil-dependent economy? Differently from the era of petroleum, growth in during the colonial period was based on the export of agricultural products. We study the inequality trends over time and the roles played by the primary and the extractive sectors respectively. In this large, populous and heterogeneous territory, data challenges are many. In assessing trends in inequality, the discrepancy between the census taking in the colonial and post-colonial period is particularly problematic.