Is it possible that what we though we knew about Africa’s stagnant economy is wrong? Do we need a more stylized economic history? If so, Morten Jerven may be the one to provide it.


1. What were your top takeaways from this week’s conversation?

2. Why is it hard to grow a prairie from scratch? What is the lesson for economic development?

3. Jerven advocates “studying economies, not just economics.” What is the practical difference between this approach and the approaches typically taken in development economics?

4. Jerven suggests that a plow may not always add to improved productivity. How does this idea relate to Hayek’s insights about local knowledge? What can outside experts provide in the absence of local knowledge?