Tim Harford

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Tim Harford

Tim Harford in 2012.jpg
Born (1973-09-27) 27 September 1973 (age 49)[1][2]
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
EducationAylesbury Grammar School
Alma materBrasenose College, Oxford[3]
Financial Times
International Finance Corporation
Known for"The Undercover Economist"[4]
More or Less
AwardsBastiat Prize

Timothy Douglas Harford OBE (born 27 September 1973) is an English economic journalist who lives in Oxford.[5]

Harford is the author of four economics books[4][6][7][8] and writes his long-running Financial Times column, "The Undercover Economist", syndicated in Slate magazine, which explores the economic ideas behind everyday experiences. His column in the Financial Times, "Since You Asked", ran between 2011 and 2014 and offered a sceptical look at the news of the week.[9]

Since October 2007 Harford has presented the BBC Radio 4 programme More or Less. The series segments are also available as podcasts. Subsequently Harford launched his own podcast on the podcast production network Pushkin Industries, called Cautionary Tales.[10][11]


Harford was educated at Aylesbury Grammar School and then at Brasenose College, Oxford. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics[3] and then a Master of Philosophy in Economics, in 1998.[1] Harford said that he originally planned to drop economics when studying towards his undergraduate degree but that his Economics tutor Peter J. N. Sinclair convinced him otherwise.[12]

Personal life[edit]

He lives in Oxford with his wife Fran Monks, a photographer, and their three children.[13]


Harford joined the Financial Times in 2003 on a fellowship in commemoration of business columnist Peter Martin. He continued to write his financial column after joining International Finance Corporation in 2004, and he rejoined the Financial Times as economics lead writer in April 2006. He is also a member of the newspaper's editorial board.

Tim has spoken at TED, PopTech and the Sydney Opera House. He is a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford and an honorary fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.[14][15]

In August 2007, he presented a television series on the BBC, Trust Me, I'm an Economist.[16] In October 2007, Harford replaced Andrew Dilnot on the BBC Radio 4 series More or Less. From November 2016, he presented an economic history documentary radio and podcast series 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy. Since November 2019, he has been presenting the podcast series Cautionary Tales. On 13 November 2020 he started a new podcast series on COVID-19 Vaccination called How to Vaccinate the World.[17]

Harford is managed by the agency Knight Ayton.[13]


  • More or Less won the Royal Statistical Society's 2010 award for statistical excellence in broadcast journalism.[18] In 2017 Harford was made an Honorary Fellow of the society.[19]
  • More or Less won Mensa's award for promoting intelligence in public life.[20]
  • Harford was awarded the Bastiat Prize for economic journalism in 2007 (shared with Jamie Whyte).[21] In 2010 he again drew with Whyte, in second place.
  • He was awarded the OBE in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to Improving Economic Understanding [22]


  • The Market for Aid (2005) with Michael Klein, ISBN 978-0-8213-6229-7
  • The Undercover Economist (2005), ISBN 978-0-345-49401-6
  • The Logic of Life (2008), ISBN 978-0-8129-7787-5
  • Dear Undercover Economist: Priceless Advice on Money, Work, Sex, Kids, and Life's Other Challenges (2009). New York, Random House. 2009. ISBN 978-0-8129-8010-3
  • Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure (2011). New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-10096-4
  • The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run – or Ruin – an Economy (2014). Penguin Riverhead Books (US). ISBN 978-1594631405
  • Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives (2016). Riverhead Books. ISBN 978-1594634796
  • Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy (2017). Little, Brown. ISBN 978-1408709115
  • The Next Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy (2020). The Bridge Street Press. ISBN 978-1408712665
  • How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers (2020). Little, Brown. ISBN 978-1408712245
    • Published in North America as: The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics (2021). Riverhead Books. ISBN 978-0593084595


  1. ^ a b Harford, Tim (1998). Sequential auctions with financially constrained bidders (MPhil thesis). University of Oxford.
  2. ^ on 27th of September 1973.
  3. ^ a b Sale, Jonathan (3 August 2006). "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Tim Harford, writer and economist". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022.
  4. ^ a b Tim Harford (2007). The Undercover Economist. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 0-349-11985-6.
  5. ^ "Tim Harford - The Undercover Economist - Biography". Tim Harford - The Undercover Economist. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  6. ^ Tim Harford (2012). Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure. Abacus Software. ISBN 0-349-12151-6.
  7. ^ Tim Harford; Michael Klein (2005). The market for aid. Washington, D.C.: International Finance Corp. ISBN 0-8213-6228-3.
  8. ^ Tim Harford (2009). The Logic of Life: The Undercover Economist. London: Abacus. ISBN 0-349-12041-2.
  9. ^ "Since You Asked". Tim Harford. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  10. ^ "iHeartMedia and Pushkin Industries Announce Major New Sales and Production Partnership". iHeartMedia. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Cautionary Tales". Tim Harford - Podcasts. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  12. ^ Bowers, John (16 February 2021). "Principal's Blog: 16th February 2021". Brasenose College, Oxford. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Tim Harford OBE - Knight Ayton". knightayton.co.uk.
  14. ^ "Mr Tim Harford, Visiting Fellow, Nuffield College, Oxford". Archived from the original on 29 January 2015.
  15. ^ Chiappella, Wolf (17 November 2007). "Biography". Tim Harford. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Trust Me, I'm an Economist". Tim Harford. 5 August 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  17. ^ "How to vaccinate the world". Archived from the original on 25 November 2020.
  18. ^ Royal Statistical Society awards Archived 21 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 5 June 2010
  19. ^ "RSS announces honours for 2017". Royal Statistical Society. 21 February 2017. Archived from the original on 4 August 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  20. ^ More or Less Honoured Archived 29 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 5 June 2010
  21. ^ Fifth Annual Bastiat Prize awarded jointly to Tim Harford and Jamie Whyte Archived 27 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 5 June 2010
  22. ^ "New Year Honours list 2019" (PDF). UK Government. 31 December 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.

External links[edit]