Boost the voices of Southern researchers, say PEP experts at the IEA World Congress

December 13, 2023 | Medellin, Colombia

PEP’s Executive Director and two Research Fellows shared insights into what is needed for greater Southern leadership in development economics at the 2023 IEA World Congress.

Medellin, Colombia - PEP hosted a thought-provoking session that delved into the nuances of Global South participation in development economics research during the 2023 International Economic Association World Congress.

The Invited Academic Session entitled “Research on Development Economics from the South: Facts, Experiences, and Challenges” attracted a large audience eager to gain insights into the subject.

PEP’s Executive Director, Prof. Jane Mariara, chaired the session and also took the opportunity to speak on PEP's Southern Leadership Initiative, emphasizing the organisation's commitment to fostering leadership and research capacity in the Global South.

“Most people instinctively agree that Southern participation is vital for advancing development economics, but is currently too low. The audience appreciated seeing the evidence that both of these are true. The evidence also points to ways to address this imbalance," said Prof. Mariara after the session.

Two PEP Research Fellows made the other presentations in the session. Prof. Ana Lucia Kassouf,discussed the issue of Demand-Side Obstacles to Publishing Economics Research: A View from the South. The presentation sparked a lively discussion among attendees. A number of academic journal editors in the room provided insights into the reasons for desk rejections. They also shared suggestions for how to reduce the likelihood of this happening.

Prof. Veronica Amarante provided valuable insights during her presentation of Research on Development Issues from the Southern World. She shared empirical evidence on how Northern-based researchers dominate the development research arena, despite most development research focusing on Southern economies. "We need to think about innovative ideas on how to create a more inclusive environment for researchers working on Development Economics in the South,” she said.

Feedback from the audience suggested that some of the researchers in the Northern institutions could have Southern origins and could be collaborating with researchers based in the South. They recommended that looking at the origins of researchers—by analysing researchers’ names and surnames—as well as their current geographical location would enrich the work.

Prof. Kassouf summarised the key takeaways from the session saying: "Economics is a social science whose aim is the overall improvement of human welfare. We believe that economics researchers living and working in developing countries should have a greater voice in academic knowledge production."

This successful session not only highlighted the challenges faced by Global South researchers but also showcased the potential for impactful change and innovation in the field of development economics.

Find out more about PEP research on Increasing Global South Participation in Development Economics.

Support PEP's call to action to include Southern researchers in economic development research debates.

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