The New Bazaar
The life and work of Leonard Wantchekon
As a young man in his native Benin, Leonard Wantchekon was arrested for leading a student uprising against the repressive government, tortured in prison, and 18 months later escaped from prison into Nigeria.
Nearly four decades later, he is now a Princeton economist and the founder of the African School of Economics. But the experiences and observations from his astonishing early life embedded themselves into his work in economics—not just his research, but his mission to educate a new generation of African economists.
Leonard speaks with Cardiff about those formative events, and then they discuss the following research papers published by Leonard:
— “Education and Human Capital Externalities: Evidence from Colonial Benin” [Co-authored with Marko Klasˇnja and Natalija Novta]
— “The Curse of Good Soil? Land Fertility, Roads, and Rural Poverty in Africa” [Co-authored with Piero Stanig]
— “The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa” [Co-authored with Nathan Nunn]
And they also discuss Leonard's goals as founder of The African School of Economics, and why it's so important for African students economists to be taken more seriously inside the economics profession.