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Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It (Cornell Studies in Political Economy (Paperback)) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 24. Januar 2013

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"Increasingly, scientists turn to the large statistical databases of international bodies when testing favoured hypotheses to control for growth and economic development. They might hesitate after reading Poor Numbers. . . . This book offers fascinating, disturbing insights for anyone interested in the role of numbers in the social sciences. For those using global economic databases, it should be required reading." Nature (11 July 2013)"

"This important book attempts to systematize what most quantitative practitioners in Africa generally understand: African macroeconomic data are poor. . . . Using a variety of sources that include current surveys of in-country statistical collection agencies and firsthand historical accounts, Jerven outlines several root causes of the data problem, which include Africa's colonial heritage and the more recent, structural adjustment policies. He continues his analysis by exploring how data are consciously shaped by both local and international politics and international aid agencies. Specifically, Jerven is critical of World Bank transparency and its unwillingness to provide him with quantitative methodologies of its official data compilation. . . . This volume opens up a venue for a research paradigm that could lead to much-needed improvements in the collection of African data. Summing Up: Highly recommended." Choice (August 2013)"

"I found Poor Numbers illuminating and disturbing at the same time I think that is exactly what Morten Jerven intended. It is well written, even elegant in some places. Jerven's recommendation that more funding be put into statistical services to do baseline surveys and field-based data collection makes a lot of sense." Carol Lancaster, Dean of the School of Foreign Service and Professor of Politics, Georgetown University, author of Aid to Africa: So Little Done, So Much to Do"

"In Poor Numbers, Morten Jerven takes on the issue of inaccurate macroeconomic data in Sub-Saharan Africa. First, by describing collection methods, he shows quite convincingly that the data are pretty dreadful, and perhaps more damning, that they may include systematic and predictable flaws linked to the way in which they are collected and aggregated. Jerven demonstrates that basic national accounts data are too poor to assess very basic characteristics of African economic performance since independence. This short elegant book is fascinating and strikes me as a must-read for any social scientist interested in African political economy and policy." Nicolas van de Walle, Cornell University, author of African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, 1979 1999"

"Poor Numbers is a powerful little book, highlighting the risks of making political inferences solely based on statistical analysis Although an economist by training, Jerven's clear prose without jargon helps make Poor Numbers reach a wider readership. It is imperative to note that his is not a simple criticism of quantitative methodology, but of the confidence one has in the findings of quantitative analysis without due attention to the quality of the data. In this sense, even those who have no scholarly interest in African development economics would find the findings and conclusions pertinent to the foundational debates on the role of methodology and theory in political science." Jan Erk, European Political Science (November 2014)"

"[Poor Numbers]is a useful reminder of the dubious information content of economic indicators generated by national accounting systems of sub-Saharan African states. I recommend the book to all scholars and researchers who contemplate the use of data generated by national accounting systems of sub-Saharan African countries." Rolf A.E. Mueller, Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture(2015)"

"Increasingly, scientists turn to the large statistical databases of international bodies when testing favoured hypotheses to control for growth and economic development. They might hesitate after reading Poor Numbers. . . . This book offers fascinating, disturbing insights for anyone interested in the role of numbers in the social sciences. For those using global economic databases, it should be required reading." Nature (11 July 2013)"

"This important book attempts to systematize what most quantitative practitioners in Africa generally understand: African macroeconomic data are poor. . . . Using a variety of sources that include current surveys of in-country statistical collection agencies and firsthand historical accounts, Jerven outlines several root causes of the data problem, which include Africa's colonial heritage and the more recent, structural adjustment policies. He continues his analysis by exploring how data are consciously shaped by both local and international politics and international aid agencies. Specifically, Jerven is critical of World Bank transparency and its unwillingness to provide him with quantitative methodologies of its official data compilation. . . . This volume opens up a venue for a research paradigm that could lead to much-needed improvements in the collection of African data. Summing Up: Highly recommended." Choice (August 2013)"

"I found Poor Numbers illuminating and disturbing at the same time I think that is exactly what Morten Jerven intended. It is well written, even elegant in some places. Jerven's recommendation that more funding be put into statistical services to do baseline surveys and field-based data collection makes a lot of sense." Carol Lancaster, Dean of the School of Foreign Service and Professor of Politics, Georgetown University, author of Aid to Africa: So Little Done, So Much to Do"

"In Poor Numbers, Morten Jerven takes on the issue of inaccurate macroeconomic data in Sub-Saharan Africa. First, by describing collection methods, he shows quite convincingly that the data are pretty dreadful, and perhaps more damning, that they may include systematic and predictable flaws linked to the way in which they are collected and aggregated. Jerven demonstrates that basic national accounts data are too poor to assess very basic characteristics of African economic performance since independence. This short elegant book is fascinating and strikes me as a must-read for any social scientist interested in African political economy and policy." Nicolas van de Walle, Cornell University, author of African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, 1979 1999"

"Increasingly, scientists turn to the large statistical databases of international bodies when testing favoured hypotheses to control for growth and economic development. They might hesitate after reading Poor Numbers. . . . This book offers fascinating, disturbing insights for anyone interested in the role of numbers in the social sciences. For those using global economic databases, it should be required reading." Nature (11 July 2013)

"

"This important book attempts to systematize what most quantitative practitioners in Africa generally understand: African macroeconomic data are poor. . . . Using a variety of sources that include current surveys of in-country statistical collection agencies and firsthand historical accounts, Jerven outlines several root causes of the data problem, which include Africa's colonial heritage and the more recent, structural adjustment policies. He continues his analysis by exploring how data are consciously shaped by both local and international politics and international aid agencies. Specifically, Jerven is critical of World Bank transparency and its unwillingness to provide him with quantitative methodologies of its official data compilation. . . . This volume opens up a venue for a research paradigm that could lead to much-needed improvements in the collection of African data. Summing Up: Highly recommended." Choice (August 2013)

"

"Poor Numbers is a powerful little book, highlighting the risks of making political inferences solely based on statistical analysis Although an economist by training, Jerven's clear prose without jargon helps make Poor Numbers reach a wider readership. It is imperative to note that his is not a simple criticism of quantitative methodology, but of the confidence one has in the findings of quantitative analysis without due attention to the quality of the data. In this sense, even those who have no scholarly interest in African development economics would find the findings and conclusions pertinent to the foundational debates on the role of methodology and theory in political science." Jan Erk, European Political Science (November 2014)

"

"[Poor Numbers]is a useful reminder of the dubious information content of economic indicators generated by national accounting systems of sub-Saharan African states. I recommend the book to all scholars and researchers who contemplate the use of data generated by national accounting systems of sub-Saharan African countries." Rolf A.E. Mueller, Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture(2015)

"

"I found Poor Numbers illuminating and disturbing at the same time I think that is exactly what Morten Jerven intended. It is well written, even elegant in some places. Jerven's recommendation that more funding be put into statistical services to do baseline surveys and field-based data collection makes a lot of sense." Carol Lancaster, Dean of the School of Foreign Service and Professor of Politics, Georgetown University, author of Aid to Africa: So Little Done, So Much to Do

"

"In Poor Numbers, Morten Jerven takes on the issue of inaccurate macroeconomic data in Sub-Saharan Africa. First, by describing collection methods, he shows quite convincingly that the data are pretty dreadful, and perhaps more damning, that they may include systematic and predictable flaws linked to the way in which they are collected and aggregated. Jerven demonstrates that basic national accounts data are too poor to assess very basic characteristics of African economic performance since independence. This short elegant book is fascinating and strikes me as a must-read for any social scientist interested in African political economy and policy." Nicolas van de Walle, Cornell University, author of African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, 1979 1999

"

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Morten Jerven is Assistant Professor in the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University.


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Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Compared with affluent countries the collection of economically relevant data has to surmount many difficulties in African countries, e.g., the larger informal sector and the bigger part of subsistence economy, the lack of funds for data collection ....
Despite the many obstacles economic statistics relating to African countries are presented also by renowned western institutions without any hint about the poor data quality. The World Bank is even "inventing" statistics where data from the concerned countries are no yet available. To dispose of reliable data is imperative for designing and evaluating economic policies.
It is the great merit of this book to arouse awareness of the shortcomings of national African statistics and its causes(it is not the incompetence or bad will of the competent staff !).
Interesting also that while the involved African authorities were in general willing to provide information to the author there was a severe shortcoming of cooperation on the part of the World Bank and IMF.
The book is - provided the reader has some basic knowledge in economics - comprehensibly written.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 von 5 Sternen 17 Rezensionen
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Be careful with those aggregated data sets! 6. Januar 2014
Von David Last - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Morten Jerven is an economic historian from the LSE, with a good track record of publication and some World Bank and UNDP consultancies to his name. This book got the nod from Bill Gates and several good reviews. It makes a strong and succinct case for NOT relying on African GDP statistics as indicators of growth. The data from most sub-saharan countries are unreliable and misleading. One reason is that the aims of those who produce the figures and those who use them are in conflict. Jerven points out that scholars in the 1960s-1980s relied on national accounts, but by the 1990-2000s, Penn World Tables and World Bank data dominated footnotes; their ‘brand’ was better, although the ingredients were the same tainted data. Development studies, Jerven says, are now dominated by economists who prefer econometric analysis using global datasets in cross-country regressions; they are more interested in economics than economies, so they don’t notice the poor source data for the big data sets. The heart of Jerven’s argument rests (Ch 3) on case studies in which he dissects contradictory data on basic variables: population, agricultural production, and change in national income. The process of counting population in Nigeria is fraught with practical and ideological problems. Agricultural production figures have not adequately accounted for subsistence production--a major component (see sources on the informal economy, which dwarfs the formal economy). GDP and rates of change show huge variation from different sources. The reason for these basic data problems can be found in the bureaucracies of national capitals - civil servants without the tools to do what is expected, lack of investment in basic surveys and data collection, and poor institutions. “It requires a massive exercise of social power to establish valid numbers.” (Porter, 1995).

This book changed the way I think about aggregate data; it might NOT be getting better all the time. Canada’s experience with the long-form census, and the general retreat from big government science may mean that the world’s data are becoming less reliable rather than the reverse.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Very good book; African economic indicators have no face value 20. April 2014
Von ncooty - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
If you work in or are interested in international development--in Africa or elsewhere--read this book.

By (i) assessing the techniques and influences related to the generation of economic data for Africa and (ii) placing that information in a cultural and historical context, Jerven has provided an exceptionally useful and cautionary view of the tragically poor state of economic data from most of the African continent. Most readers will likely be astonished at the arbitrariness of economic indicators from these countries and the extent to which enormous levels of measurement error are ignored by public institutions, academics, and other users. The book predominantly comprises reviews of economic history (mostly from 1950s to present) and insights from his interviews and surveys involving international financial institutions (e.g., World Bank and IMF) and officials/ civil servants from statistical agencies and central banks in 20-something African countries over about 4.5 years.

He advocates (i) strengthened and consistent support (funding, facilities, staff, technical assistance, etc.) to autonomous or semi-autonomous national statistical agencies--both for collection and reporting, (ii) more locally appropriate measures of economic indicators, with a greater focus on data quality (e.g. regular, accurate surveys) than comprehensiveness (e.g., complete decadal censuses), (iii) strengthened methodological transparency--largely via improved meta-data--so that users are informed of the methods and assumptions that produced each component of the statistics and can estimate their validity for decision-making, (iv) closer attention from users to the methods, assumptions, and influences that underpin the production of data, and (v) greater reliance on qualitative methods and local expertise to verify data and check for misinterpretations and omissions (blind spots).

I've given it 5 stars for the sheer value of this book and Jerven's recommendations. I was tempted to deduct a star, because (i) Jerven at times seems to lose sight of the point he's making, (ii) there are redundancies (despite its mere 120 pages of text), and (iii) there are numerous typographical and grammatical errors. His perspective also seemed at times surprisingly narrowly focused on the work of economists. (E.g., citing Esther Duflo regarding fertilizer efficacy seemed absurd, given that surely even an economist will concede that other fields have done more and better research on agricultural productivity.) Lastly, I think Jerven could have done a better job of considering and presenting the legitimate concerns of civil servants at the World Bank and IMF. At times, he seems to use them as an all-too-easy patsy for some issues. Granted, he levels some very fair criticisms of those institutions, but skates past a couple of opportunities to interrogate underlying influences (e.g., when an IMF technical advisor noted that sharing confidential country information with third parties compromises trust with country representatives).
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Bad data 1. Februar 2013
Von Dascholar - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Bravo to Morten Jervens on a fine and informative book. May the stats get better!!!!

I just finished reading this book. Since I had read other things by author, I did not discover anything that I did not already know. For those who are not aware of his work, this book will come as quite informative and for some hopefully a wake up call. My only quibble with the book is that it too nice. Probably, this is a question of personality and style. He references epistemological and methodological problems that arise from using bad data (bad plus noisy data is, in my view, a priori junk); however, he does not, borrowing from a Seinfeld episode, bother to name names as much as I think he should have. In my view, there is no justification for someone who is methodologically sophisticated using bad data to draw inferences about whether institutions/regime types impact economic development and public goods distribution. There is no basis for claiming that there is a positive and robust relationship between post-structural adjustment, democratization and an uptick in economic growth in Africa based on national income data. As Jerven shows clearly, the problems with the data is just too much to rest such an inferential oomph onto. Even with pristine data, this proposition is problematic. It is down right silly with bad data! In a nutshell, I like the book a lot and see it as having a major impact but I would have liked it to have been more forceful in its criticism of those who have used bad data and should have known better
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Necessary work on data quality and its implications 9. September 2013
Von Leo - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Since Morgenstern, few works have examined extensively the accuracy of economic observations. This book do it for Africa, but only for national accounting. It deals with the (extreme) deficiencies of african GDP estimations, and how these (should) affect the (in)conclusions about development. If you plan to use african data, this is a mandatory reading. If you do not plan to use african data, but you do work with cross section macro variables from FMI, WB or Penn Tables, you still should read this to get a real feel of how unreliable these datasets can be.
4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Compelling overview of a pressing yet overlooked global issue 4. Februar 2013
Von T. Russo - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
I've done a masters in Economic History and International Development and I found Jerven's book Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It (Cornell Studies in Political Economy) to be a well-written overview of a pressing issue that no one has ever talked about before. The subject matter is weighty and data-centric. But the author's clear and compelling writing style, as well as entertaining anecdotes from his research trips throughout sub Saharan Africa, make this a first-rate read both for experts and novices curious about international development, aid and global inequality. Jerven does an excellent job of answering the subtitle's question: "How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It." Hope he writes more soon. Kudos!
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