Prof Joseph Stiglitz’s Work at IDS Recalled at His UoN Public Lecture

Date and time: 
Fri, 2018-05-11 14:39

Prof Joseph Stiglitz, the recipient of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, delivered a well attended public lecture at the Chandaria Auditorium ,University of Nairobi on May 9, 2018. Prof.  Stiglitz, was also a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi, under a Rockefeller Foundation Grant during the period 1969-1971.

The renowned American Economist’s lecture was titled ‘The Stockholm Statement: New Strategies for Inclusive Development.’ The Nobel laureate observed that the Stockholm Statement provides guidance on how to ensure strong and inclusive growth and represents a rethinking of development strategies.

 “The Stockholm Statement calls for us to recognize the limitations and the failures of the Washington Consensus, a broader range of objectives and instruments and a more balanced view on the participation of different participants in the development process,” said Prof Stiglitz at the University of Nairobi Towers, Chandaria Auditorium.

Noting the scholar’s stint at IDS in the 1969-1971 period, University of Nairobi’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Prof. Henry Mutoro, remarked that the Nobel laureate had come back home. Prof Mutoro made the observation in his welcoming remarks on behalf of the Vice Chancellor Prof Peter Mbithi.

Professor Rosemary Atieno of IDS, who was the Master of Ceremonies during the occasion, represented IDS in coordinating the event, which was organized by the University of Nairobi in collaboration with the Africa Economic Research Consortium (AERC). AERC was represented by its Executive Director Prof Lemma W. Senbet and the Director of Research Dr. Witness Simbanegavi

During his public lecture, Prof Stiglitz noted GDP is not an end in itself since development should be inclusive. “Indeed, environmental sustainability is a requirement, not an option. There is need to balance market, state and community,” he said.

Prof Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University, USA, and author of numerous bestsellers. His most recent titles are Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited, The Euro, Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy and The Great Divide.

According to, Stiglitz’s concerns about the ‘competitive equilibrium model’ were enormously deepened by a period he spent in Kenya. In particular, the developing world exposed the severe limitations of the array of assumptions upon which the competitive model rested. Stiglitz saw that in Kenya the idiosyncrasies of market institutions and inequalities in the distribution of wealth mattered in ways that conventional economics appeared unwilling to acknowledge. Insight and critical reflection of this form were to become hallmarks of his career as a professional economist.

“The time I spent in Kenya (at IDS) was pivotal in the development of my ideas on the economics of information. I think in part the reason is that seeing an economy that is, in many ways, quite different from the one grows up in, helps crystallize issues: in one's own environment, one takes too much for granted, without asking why things are the way they are. As I studied development, I was forced to think everything through from first principles. Had I grown up in a world in which everyone was a sharecropper, I probably would have accepted this as the way things are,” Stiglitz observed during his Nobel Lecture in 2001.


 Prof Joseph Stiglitz (centre) with Prof Rosemary Atieno of IDS and Prof Lema Senbet, Executive Director of African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) moments before the public lecture. Prof Atieno was master of ceremonies during the occasion at University of Nairobi on May 9, 2018.

Expiry Date: 
Fri, 2019-05-10 14:39

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