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Data Challenges, Poverty Dynamics and Economic Growth. Insights from Assets in Rural Africa

Wednesday 24 May 2017, 16:00 - 17:15
School of Earth and Environment Seminar Rooms 8.119
Dan Brocklington, Director of the Sheffield Institute for International Development
Sustainability Seminar hosted by SRI, CCCEP, Priestley & water@leeds


Recent economic growth in many African countries is widely welcomed, but it is not clear how inclusive that growth is, particularly of rural populations. In a general context of poor data, household consumption data appear to suggest that poverty rates have not declined much with growth, suggesting that growth is not inclusive. But this finding may depend on the measure of poverty used. We argue that existing measures of poverty in debates about the inclusivity of economic growth use indices of consumption, not assets, and are therefore incomplete. We present new data based on recent re-surveys of Tanzanian households first visited in the early 1990s. These demonstrate a marked increase in prosperity from high levels of poverty. We consider the implications of this research for further explorations of the relationship of economic growth and agricultural policy in rural areas, and for attempts to cope with Africa’s ‘statistical tragedy’.


Dan is Director of Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID), previously Professor of Conservation and Development at the University of Manchester. He trained as an anthropologist at UCL, where he wrote his PhD under Kathy Homewood’s supervision, and then worked at the Geography Departments of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford before moving to Manchester and Sheffield respectively.

Most of Dan’s research has been in Tanzania, where he has worked on livelihood change, natural resource governance, microfinance and institutional performance, however he has also worked in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India. His broader interests include work on global overviews of the social impacts of protected areas, media and conservation and continental-wide examinations of the work of conservation NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa. Most recently he has worked on celebrity and development, based largely on work in the UK. He is happiest conducting long term field research in remote areas of East Africa but also learns much from studying organisations and the occasional plush fundraising event.

His books are: Fortress Conservation (2002), Nature Unbound (With Rosaleen Duffy and Jim Igoe, 2008),  Celebrity and the Environment (2009) and Celebrity Advocacy and International Development (2014).

You can find out more about Dan and his research interests, over on his blog.