Stefan Dercon

Professor of Economic Policy

Stefan Dercon is Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and the Economics Department, and a Fellow of Jesus College. He is also Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies.

Between 2011 and 2017, he was Chief Economist of the Department of International Development (DFID), the government department in charge with the UK’s aid policy and spending. In this position, he provided strategic advice, and was responsible for ensuring the use of evidence in decision making.

Before joining the University of Oxford, he held positions at the University of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), the Catholic University of Leuven, and WIDER (Helsinki), part of the United Nations University. 

His research interests concern what keeps some people and countries poor: the failures of markets, governments and politics, mainly in Africa, and how to achieve change. Current research work focuses on the psychological challenges of poverty, the political economy of development, the challenges of industrialisation in Africa, the challenges and opportunities of new technologies, and how to organise and finance responses to natural disasters and protracted humanitarian crises.

His latest book, “Dull Disasters? How Planning Ahead Will Make A Difference” was published in 2016, and provides a blueprint for renewed application of science, improved decision making, better preparedness, and pre-arranged finance in the face of natural disasters.

He is a Fellow of BREAD, a Research Fellow of CEPR and of IZA, and an Affiliate of J-PAL He studied economics and philosophy at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and holds an MPhil and DPhil in Economics from the University of Oxford.

A personal website with more details on his research can be found here: Website Stefan Dercon .

For diary, meeting and other general enquiries email:

Blog by Professor Stefan Dercon about the consequences of ideological preferences bias in public servants
Vox Dev - Tuesday, 16 January, 2018
Stefan Dercon in a panel discussion about how we are going to pay the price that comes with extreme weather events
Newshour Extra - Saturday, 16 September, 2017
Article on Hurricane Irma carries comment from Professor Stefan Dercon
The Economist - Thursday, 14 September, 2017
Stefan Dercon co-authors a piece about the exploitation of cheap work
New York Times - Thursday, 27 April, 2017
Piece on potential solutions to the Syrian refugee crisis mentions Professors Dercon and Collier
The Times - Saturday, 30 January, 2016