Paul Collier

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This article is about the economist. For the snooker referee, see Paul Collier (snooker referee). For the disability advocate, see Paul Collier (activist).
Sir Paul Collier
Paul Collier World Economic Forum 2013.jpg
Collier at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in 2013
Born (1949-04-25) 25 April 1949 (age 67)[1]
Nationality British
Institution International Growth Centre, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford
Field Development economics
Alma mater University of Oxford

Sir Paul Collier, CBE (born 23 April 1949)[1] is professor of economics and public policy in the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford.

He is also a director of the International Growth Centre, the director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies, and a fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford.

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 to its list of top global thinkers.[2][3] 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 poor countries.[4] He was brought up in Sheffield where he attended King Edward VII School.[5] 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.[6]

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (ISBN 0-19-531145-0), has been compared[4] 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[7][8][9][10][11] 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.

Collier was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours[12] and knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to promoting research and policy change in Africa.[13]

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.”

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]


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