Paul Collier

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Sir Paul Collier

Paul Collier World Economic Forum 2013.jpg
Collier at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in 2013
Born (1949-04-23) 23 April 1949 (age 70)[1]
InstitutionBlavatnik School of Government, International Growth Centre, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford
FieldDevelopment economics
Alma materUniversity of Oxford

Sir Paul Collier, CBE, FBA (born 23 April 1949) is a British development economist who serves as the Professor of Economics and Public Policy in the Blavatnik School of Government and the director of the International Growth Centre. He is also the director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies and a Professorial Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford.[2] He has also served as a senior advisor to the Blair Commission for Africa and was the Director of the Development Research Group at the World Bank between 1998 to 2003.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Collier was born on 23 April 1949.[1] He was brought up in Sheffield where he attended King Edward VII School and studied at the University of Oxford.[4]

Academic career[edit]

From 1998 until 2003 he was the director of the Development Research Group of the World Bank. In 2010 and 2011, he was named by Foreign Policy magazine on its list of top global thinkers.[5][6] Collier currently serves on the advisory board of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP).

Collier is a specialist in the political, economic and developmental predicaments of low-income countries[7] He holds a Distinction Award from the University of Oxford, and in 1988 he was awarded the Edgar Graham Book Prize for the co-written Labour and poverty in rural Tanzania: Ujamaa and rural development in the United Republic of Tanzania.[8]

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (ISBN 0-19-531145-0), has been compared[7] to Jeffrey Sachs's The End of Poverty and William Easterly's The White Man's Burden, two influential books, which like Collier's book, discuss the pros and cons of development aid to developing countries.

His 2010 book The Plundered Planet[9][10][11][12][13] is encapsulated in his formulas:

Nature – Technology + Regulation = Starvation
Nature + Technology – Regulation = Plunder
Nature + Technology + Regulation (Good governance) = Prosperity

The book describes itself as an attempt at a middle way between the extremism of "Ostriches" (denialism, particularly climate change denial) and "Environmental Romanticism" (for example, anti-genetically modified organisms movements in Europe). The book is about sustainable management in relation with the geo-politics of global warming, with an attempt to avoid a global tragedy of the commons, with the prime example of overfishing. In it he builds upon a legacy of the economic psychology of greed and fear, from early Utilitarianism (Jeremy Bentham) to more recently the Stern Review.

He is a patron of the Media Legal Defence Initiative.

Currently he is working on a book called State of War, in which he "sets out why [he thinks] democracy has gone wrong in the bottom billion and what would be needed to put it on track."[14]

Research topics[edit]


Collier was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours[15] and knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to promoting research and policy change in Africa.[16]

In November 2014, Collier was awarded the President's Medal by the British Academy, for "his pioneering contribution in bringing ideas from research in to policy within the field of African economics."[17] In July 2017, Collier was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.[18]



Selected articles[edit]

  • (with Anke Hoeffler) 'On economic causes of civil war' Oxford Economic Papers, vol 50 issue 4, 1998, pp. 563–573.
  • (with V. L. Elliott, Håvard Hegre, Anke Hoeffler, Marta Reynal-Querol, Nicholas Sambanis) 'Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy' "World Bank Policy Research Report," 2003.
  • (with Anke Hoeffler) 'Greed and grievance in civil war' Oxford Economic Papers, vol 56 issue 4, 2004, pp. 563–595.
  • (with Lisa Chauvet and Haavard Hegre) 'The Security Challenge in Conflict-Prone Countries', Copenhagen Consensus 2008 Challenge Paper, 2008.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Birthdays", The Guardian, p. 33, 23 April 2014 |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. ^ "Paul Collier". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Paul Collier". IGC. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  4. ^ Ward, Nick. "It's hats off to a master of art!". The Sheffield Star. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  5. ^,39#thinker56 December 2011 Foreign Policy
  6. ^,28
  7. ^ a b "How to help the poorest: Springing the traps". The Economist. 2 August 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2007.
  8. ^ "IUB Libraries: Edgar Graham Book Prize (African Studies)".
  9. ^ Quadir, Iqbal (1 June 2010). "Empowerment is key". Nature. 465 (7298): 550–551. doi:10.1038/465550a.
  10. ^ Alex Renton. "The Plundered Planet: How to Reconcile Prosperity with Nature by Paul Collier". the Guardian.
  11. ^ Vidal, John (8 May 2010). "The Plundered Planet: How to Reconcile Prosperity with Nature by Paul Collier". The Guardian. London.
  12. ^ "The Plundered Planet". Financial Times.
  13. ^ "SUSTAINABILITY AND SOURCES OF WEALTH". Science. 329 (5994): 904. 20 August 2010. doi:10.1126/science.1193025.
  14. ^ Miguel, Edward (2009). Africa's Turn?. Cambridge, MA: MIT. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-262-01289-8.
  15. ^ "No. 58729". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2008. p. 7.
  16. ^ "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 1.
  17. ^ "British Academy President's Medal awarded to Paul Collier". Social Sciences Division. University of Oxford. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Elections to the British Academy celebrate the diversity of UK research". British Academy. 2 July 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.

External links[edit]