Inspired by the last post, I thought about complementing the “Social Science Soccer Reading List” with some of my favorite economic works on South Africa – realizing that it was difficult to decide given the large number of very interesting articles on South Africa: me becoming interested in how many articles have been published on South Africa in comparison to other African and other low and middle income countries in general.
A quick study of the number of development country specific publications within the last ten years in two of the major development economics journals (Journal of Development Economics and World Development), revealed two first insights: Development economists like to work (or can better publish) on more developed (middle-income) countries than on the least developed countries, which could largely explain why there are so many more articles on South Africa than on any other African country. Second, several countries have been totally “neglected” by those two development journals within the last 10 years, whereas others are “extensively” studied.
Determining the underlying factors and dynamics over time would require some deeper analysis, but I already found an interesting article (Robinson et al., 2006) trying to understand the pattern of economic publications across all countries with several linear regressions. In addition to GDP per capita, population size and data availability, the authors find that tourism receipts and English as the official language are also significantly correlated with the number of articles published about a specific country.
If anyone knows about other articles looking at country preferences of researchers in social sciences, I would be most interested.