Ravi Kanbur

T. H. Lee Professor of World Affairs, International Professor of Applied Economics and Management, and Professor of Economics

Ravi Kanbur holds an appointment tenured both in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and in the Department of Economics in the College of Arts and Sciences. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Cambridge and a doctorate in economics from the University of Oxford. He has taught at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Essex, Warwick, Princeton and Columbia. Ravi Kanbur has also served on the staff of the World Bank, as Economic Adviser, Senior Economic Adviser, Resident Representative in Ghana, Chief Economist of the African Region of the World Bank, and Principal Adviser to the Chief Economist of the World Bank. He has also served as Director of the World Bank’s World Development Report. The honors he has received include the Quality of Research Discovery Award of the American Agricultural Economics Association and an Honorary Professorship at the University of Warwick.


  • Public economics;
  • development economics;
  • conceptual, empirical, and policy analysis;
  • risk taking;
  • inequality;
  • poverty;
  • structural adjustment;
  • political economy

Current Research Interests

Professor Kanbur’s main areas of interest are public economics and development economics. His work spans conceptual, empirical, and policy analysis. He is particularly interested in bridging the worlds of rigorous analysis and practical policy making.

Selected Publications & Presentations

  • “Conceptual Ferment in Poverty and Inequality Measurement: The View from Economics and Sociology” (with David Grusky) August, 2004.
  • “And Never the Twain Shall Meet? An Exchange on the Strengths and Weaknesses of Anthropology and Economics in Analyzing the Commons” (with Annelise Riles), August, 2004.
  • “Reality and Analysis: Personal and Technical Reflections on the Working Lives of Six Women” (with Martha Chen, Renana Jhabvala, Nidhi Mirani and Karl Osner, editors), April, 2004.
  • “Moral Hazard, Income Taxation, and Prospect Theory” (with Jukka Pirttila and Matti Tuomala), March 2004.
  • “Public Finance and Development: Editorial Introduction to a Special Issue of the Journal of Public Economics” (with Michael Keen), March 2004.
  • “Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Some Hard Questions”, January, 2004.
citation engraving
“Economic action is ‘social’ insofar as its subjective meaning takes account of the behavior of others and is thereby oriented in its course.”— Max Weber