Does economics have an ‘Africa problem’?

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There has been increasing interest 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 paper, I look at the patterns of authorship over the period 2005–2015 in ‘leading’ economics journals that publish regularly on Africa. I find that, on average, only 25 per cent of the 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 per cent of their content on Africa, only 3 per cent of their editorial boards are based on the continent. These patterns likely account for the dismal state of the discipline’s knowledge about the continent.




Chelwa, G. (2021). Does economics have an ‘Africa problem’? Economy and Society, 50(1), 78–99.

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