In which Justin Sandefur takes Chris Blattman and Bill Gates to school.... he argues that African governments don't need GDP data or internationally comparable micro survey data, they need good quality administrative data.
This, rather than the need for more duplicative household surveys, is the big challenge facing African statistics. Right now governments face a trade-off between high quality survey data of limited relevance, and low quality administrative data that actually fits their needs. It doesn’t have to be this way. But to overcome the trade-offs donors are going to have to back off with their pet survey projects, and stats bureaus across Africa will need to exert some renewed independence, and stop serving as research consultancies for donors.Zing!