Prof. Christopher Udry Delivers Vice-Chancellor’s Occasional Lecture

Prof. Christopher Udry

Prof. Christopher Udry, Professor of Economics at Yale University, USA, has delivered a lecture on the topic, “Transforming Research in the Social Sciences: Visualization, Interpretation and Experimentation”. The lecture which was delivered under the Vice-Chancellor’s Occasional Lecture series platform was held at the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana.

Prof. Udry expressed satisfaction at the rise of African research interests across diverse disciplines, which have as well been featured in high impact scholarly journals, as a result of data revolution, made possible through technology. He also drew connections across disparate realms of life.

He acknowledged the joint panel survey between Yale University and ISSER in achieving the reorganization of economic activities, institutional change, and environmental transformation across many communities in Ghana. He noted that although such research collaborations occur over multiple years, researchers at the University have immensely contributed their expertise and support.

Prof. Udry typified a comprehensive research as one which necessitates the use of flexible modular designs that are compatible with experimental interventions. He noted for instance, that coverage of a study group could number 5000 households and span a period interval of 3 – 4 years, or in a long-run commitment, 15 or more years. He observed that the controlled study of a community is an effective way of changing lifestyles, building wealth, and ensuring successful replications of any research program.

He was hopeful that the Yale-ISSER partnership would continue to provide insight into broad based research programs in rural economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa to support examination of largely unanticipated questions. This he noted requires theory to motivate design, experimentation to generate knowledge and feedback to direct policy and necessary investment.

Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, who chaired the lecture noted that the purpose of social science research, is to bring change around the world. He noted that as a panacea to societal challenges, social scientists across the world employ appropriate methodologies to gather field data to communicate effectively and implement findings more successfully. He observed that the impetus for social science programmes, especially its problem-solving potency, has not brought the desired change in Africa.

Prof. Aryeetey emphasized the University’s strong commitment to satisfy the educational, social, economic and industrial needs of Ghanaians and foreign nationals. He said the University introduced research-intensive programmes to enhance the study of social sciences at both undergraduate, masters and PhD levels. He called on graduates and researchers at the University to work rigorously and collaborate more with other international researchers to feature their works in high impact journal publications and also assured them of the needed support and research grants through the Office of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID).

Prof. Felix Asante, Director of ISSER

Earlier, Prof. Felix Asante, Director of ISSER in welcoming participants indicated that the lecture is expected to provide an invaluable understanding about how social scientists impact livelihoods as well as the socioeconomic development of a country.  He thanked Prof. Christopher Udry for honouring the University’s invitation to deliver the lecture.

Prof. Udry, who was recently awarded a Doctor of Letters Honorary Degree by the University at the recent Special Congregation, is internationally recognised for outstanding research and publications in the area of Development Microeconomics.  He has supported research at University of Ghana and enhanced capacity building for several Ghanaian and African development economists for many years.

An attentive audience at the lecture