Publications

2021: ‘How accurate are the prices in the British colonial Blue Books?’, Economic History of Developing Regions. Accepted manuscript version here.

Working papers

(2021) Historical incomes on the cheap: a rough and ready shortcut to global GDP comparisons.

(2021) “The fruits of the boom: real wages and housing costs in colonial Dakar, Senegal (1914-1960)” AEHN Working Paper no 60.

(2021) with Isabella Weber, Gregor Semieniuk and Junshang Liang: “What you exported matters: persistence in productive capabilities across two eras of globalization”, Rebuilding Macroeconomics Working Paper Series, no. 41.

Edited volumes

(ed. with Shiro Armstrong) Asian Economic Integration in an Era of Global Uncertainty, ANU Press, Canberra. 2018.

Some work in progress (please contact me if interested!)

The growth of the monetary economy in French West Africa, c.1901-1960

I gather new data on the composition of the money supply in French West Africa from the establishment of the Banque de l’Afrique occidentale française until political independence in 1960. I analyse the seasonality of the money supply and the role of expatriate banks in the developing structure of the monetary economy of French West Africa

‘Real incomes in the French African Empire, c.1900-1960’

In this paper I draw on newly collected data on prices and nominal wages from across France’s African empire to show the evolution in urban living standards in the first half of the twentieth century. Living standards grew more strongly in West African than in Equatorial Africa, and only in the post-World War II period were gains strongly evident for most colonies.

The profitability of urban slavery: a quantitative assessment from West Africa

In this paper, I draw on newly collected slave price data from colonial Senegal as well as information on slave hire rates, interest rates, and subsistence consumption costs to estimate the profitability of urban slavery in French colonial Senegal prior to abolition in 1848.

‘Food prices and the Little Divergence in the tropics’

In this paper I compare the evolution of food prices in Southeast Asia and West Africa to help explain the reason for comparatively high nominal wages in Africa and comparatively less structural change in the 20th century.

Classic African industrial policy: an analytical history

African industrial policy has a long history, but not a well-documented one. This paper offers new quantitative data on industrial policy and industrial structure, focussing on sectoral targeting in African economies between 1960 and the onset of structural adjustment, c.1980. Drawing on newly digitised data from national accounts, input-output tables, reports on state-owned enterprises, and financial and trade data from the period of ‘classic’ West African industrial policy, this article analyses sector-specific policy measures from the 1960s and 1970s in the light of new theoretical advances in the study of industrial policy and its effects.

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