Paul Collier

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Paul Collier

Collier at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in 2013
Paul Collier

(1949-04-23) 23 April 1949 (age 74)[1]
Academic career
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.[2]

He currently is a Professeur invité at Sciences Po and a Professorial Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford.[3] He has 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 and 2003.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Collier was born on 23 April 1949.[1] Collier’s great-grandfather, Karl Hellenschmidt, was a German immigrant to the UK. During World War I, Collier’s grandfather, Karl Hellenschmidt Jr, changed his surname from Hellenschmidt to Collier.[5][6]

Collier was brought up in Sheffield where he attended King Edward VII School. He studied Philosophy, politics, and economics at the University of Oxford.[7]

In 2010 and 2011, he was named by Foreign Policy magazine on its list of top global thinkers.[8][9]

Academic career[edit]

He was a founder of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford and remained its director from 1989 until 2014. From 1998 until 2003 he was the director of the Development Research Group of the World Bank.

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.[10] His research covers the causes and consequences of civil war; the effects of aid and the problems of democracy in low-income and natural resources rich societies; urbanization in low-income countries; private investment in African infrastructure and changing organizational cultures.

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.[11]

Collier's The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, has been compared 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.[10]

His 2010 book The Plundered Planet[12][13][14][15][16] 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.

In 2020 he published Greed is Dead: Politics After Individualism, coauthored with John Kay.


Collier was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours[17] and knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to promoting research and policy change in Africa.[18]

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."[19] 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.[20]



  • Labour and Poverty in Rural Tanzania: Ujamaa and Rural Development in the United Republic of Tanzania, Oxford University Press, New York, 1991 ISBN 978-0198283157.
  • The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, Oxford University Press, 2007 ISBN 9780195311457.[21]
  • Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places, Harper, March 2009 ISBN 978-0061479649.[22]
  • The Plundered Planet: Why We Must, and How We Can, Manage Nature for Global Prosperity, Oxford University Press, 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-539525-9.[23]
  • Plundered Nations?: Successes and Failures in Natural Resource Extraction co-edited with Anthony J. Venables, Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2011 ISBN 978-0-230-29022-8.[24]
  • Exodus: How Migration is Changing Our World, Oxford University Press, October 2013 ISBN 978-0195398656.[25]
  • Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World with Alexander Betts, Oxford University Press, September 2017 ISBN 978-0190659158.[26]
  • The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties, Allen Lane, April 2018 ISBN 978-0241333884.[27]
  • Greed Is Dead: Politics After Individualism with John Kay, July 2020 978-0241467954 [28]

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
  2. ^ "Paul Collier". Retrieved 11 May 2023.
  3. ^ "Paul Collier". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Paul Collier". IGC. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Exodus, by Paul Collier". Financial Times. 27 October 2014.
  6. ^ Paul Collier (14 April 2015). Exodus: How Migration is Changing Our World. Oxford University Press. p. 273. ISBN 978-0-19-023148-4.
  7. ^ Ward, Nick. "It's hats off to a master of art!". The Sheffield Star. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  8. ^,39#thinker56 December 2011 Foreign Policy
  9. ^ "Foreign Policy's Second Annual List of the 100 Top Global Thinkers | Foreign Policy". Archived from the original on 1 December 2010.
  10. ^ a b "How to help the poorest: Springing the traps". The Economist. 2 August 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2007.
  11. ^ "IUB Libraries: Edgar Graham Book Prize (African Studies)".
  12. ^ Quadir, Iqbal (1 June 2010). "Empowerment is key". Nature. 465 (7298): 550–551. Bibcode:2010Natur.465..550Q. doi:10.1038/465550a.
  13. ^ Alex Renton (15 May 2010). "The Plundered Planet: How to Reconcile Prosperity with Nature by Paul Collier". the Guardian.
  14. ^ Vidal, John (8 May 2010). "The Plundered Planet: How to Reconcile Prosperity with Nature by Paul Collier". The Guardian. London.
  15. ^ "The Plundered Planet". Financial Times. 21 June 2010.
  16. ^ Low, B. S. (20 August 2010). "Sustainability and Sources of Wealth". Science. 329 (5994): 904. Bibcode:2010Sci...329..904L. doi:10.1126/science.1193025. S2CID 154893918.
  17. ^ "No. 58729". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2008. p. 7.
  18. ^ "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 1.
  19. ^ "British Academy President's Medal awarded to Paul Collier". Social Sciences Division. University of Oxford. 28 November 2014. Archived from the original on 15 September 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Elections to the British Academy celebrate the diversity of UK research". British Academy. 2 July 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  21. ^ The Bottom Billion - Hardcover - Paul Collier - Oxford University Press. 25 May 2007. ISBN 978-0-19-531145-7. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  22. ^ "Wars, Guns, and Votes – HarperCollins".
  23. ^ The Plundered Planet - Hardcover - Paul Collier - Oxford University Press. 11 May 2010. ISBN 978-0-19-539525-9. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  24. ^ "Plundered Nations? - Successes and Failures in Natural Resource Extraction | Paul Collier | Palgrave Macmillan". Archived from the original on 8 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Exodus: How migration is changing our world. By Paul Collier. | Migration Studies | Oxford Academic". 28 October 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  26. ^ Refuge - Paul Collier; Alexander Betts - Oxford University Press. 6 September 2017. ISBN 978-0-19-065915-8. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  27. ^ "The Future of Capitalism". Archived from the original on 20 February 2020.
  28. ^ "Greed Is Dead". Archived from the original on 6 August 2020.

External links[edit]