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Document type: article
In 2008, economist Paul Collier visited the Netherlands and talked about the policy recommendations spelled out in his best-selling book The Bottom Billion. He flew in from Africa, spent a few hours in the Netherlands, and then was on his way to rescue the Middle East. Recently Jeffrey Sachs and William Easterly – equally high-powered economists – also honoured the Netherlands with a visit, preaching their own version of the economic gospel. They disagree on many economic issues. But they have in common the fact that their academic careers and reputations as policy advisors are to some extent based on the econometric approach of cross-country regressions. The risk of this approach lies in Benjamin Disraeli’s warning about ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’: one cannot be too careful when weighing the ‘evidence’ that is produced.
© 2008 IDP. This article has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported license.
Economic Development and Trade