Skip to main content
Cornell University

Ravi Kanbur

Ravi Kanbur researches and teaches in development economics, public economics and economic theory. He is well known for his role in policy analysis and engagement in international development. He has served on the senior staff of the World Bank including as Chief Economist for Africa. He is also ranked in the top 0.5% of academic economists in the world.

He is President-Elect of the Human Development and Capabilities Association, Past-President of the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, Chair of the Board of UNU-WIDER, Co-Chair of the Scientific Council of the International Panel on Social Progress, member of the High Level Advisory Council of the Climate Justice Dialogue, member of the OECD High Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance, and a member of the Core Group of the Commission on Global Poverty.

His bio and full vitae are available on this website.



Public and Policy Activities

Call for Papers: Informality and Development: Cornell-Indiana Conference in Honor of Elinor Ostrom, October 22-23, 2016.

Cornell/Oxford Conference on Climate Justice: Economics and Philosophy, Ithaca, May 24-25, 2016.

Secondary Towns and Poverty Reduction: Introduction to World Bank/Cornell Conference, Luc Christiaensensen and Ravi Kanbur, Washington DC, May 18, 2016.

Cornell-World Bank Conference: Secondary Towns, Jobs and Poverty Reduction: Refocusing the Urbanization Agenda, Washington DC, May 18-19, 2016

OECD High Level Expert Group: Conference on Measurement of Well Being and Development in Africa, Durban, South Africa, November 12-14, 2015.

World Bank/Cornell Conference Call: Secondary Towns Jobs and Poverty Reduction, Submission Deadline December 1, 2015.

Intra-household Inequality and Overall Inequality, Presentation at Conference on The Welfare State and The Fight Against Inequality, Columbia University, November, 2015

Equality of Opportunity and Equality of Outcome: Parents, Children, and Luck, Presentation at A Just Society: A Conference in Honor of Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia Business School, October 16-17, 2015.

Restarting the Global Economy, Vox EU column, by Nobel Laureate Michael Spence, Former World Bank Vice President Danny Leipziger, Director of McKinsey Global Institute James Manyika, and Cornell Professor of World Affairs Ravi Kanbur, October, 2015.

Inter-American Development Bank and CornellUniversity; Conference on Size and Type Dependent Regulations, Cornell University, October 1-2, 2015.

Position Paper on Secondary Towns and Poverty Reduction In Tanzania, Presented to Planning Commission, President's Office, Tanzania, September 29, 2015.

International Panel on Social Progress: Lead Authors' Meeting, Istanbul, August 27-29, 2015.

Kanbur-Stiglitz Vox Column on Inequality, August 18, 2015

Labour and Unemployment in South Africa: Notes Towards a 'Grand Bargain', Presentation to South African National Treasury, August, 2015.

Lectures to Senior South African Officials on Poverty and Inequality, August, 2015

Keynote at Canadian Economic Association Annual Economic Conference, Development Economics Study Group, May 29, 2015.

Northeast Environmental Economics, Yale University, May 2015

Climate Justice Dialogue, Berlin, April, 2015.

Types of Informality: Causes, Consequences and Policy Responses, LIC Lecture, International Monetary Fund, March 11, 2015.

OECD/Gulbenkian Foundation Workshop on Inequality of Opportunity, Paris, January 14, 2015

Columbia-Cornell-DFID-World Bank Conference on Markets, Labor and Regulation, New Delhi, December 17-18, 2014.

Debate: Be it resolved that the economics of growth is a more urgent priority than the politics of equity, Economic Research Forum, Cairo, December 10, 2014.

One Hundredth Anniversary of Official Statistics in Egypt, Cairo, December 8, 2014.

Fiscal Affairs: Past and Future, International Monetary Fund, December 5, 2014.

Nov. 25-28, 2014
Understanding and Engaging With Poverty and inequality in South Africa Lectures to senior policy makers from the Presidency and key government departments, Republic of South Africa, Cape Town.

Nov. 24, 2014
Achieving Inclusive Growth-What Can Zambia Build On?

Oct. 18-19, 2014
Conference on Reforming Minimum Wage and Labor Regulation Policy, Beijing.

Oct. 9, 2014
Meeting with African Finance Ministers, Washington, DC.

March 26, 2014
Columbia-Cornell Workshop to Comment on Zero'th Draft of the World Bank's World Development Report 2015, Mind and Culture, New York City.



Kanbur   Kanbur   Kanbur   economy of Ghana

International Development: Ideas, Experience, and Prospects


Bridging Perspectives: The Cornell-SEWA-WIEGO Exposure Dialogue Programme on Labour, Informal Employment and Poverty


Inequality in Asia and the Pacific: Trends, drivers, and policy implications


The Oxford Companion to the Economics of Africa


Recent Writings and Presentations

The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China, Oxford University Press, 2014
The Oxford Companion to the Economics of South Africa, Oxford University Press, 2014
International Development: Ideas, Experience and Prospects, Oxford University Press, 2014.

"Amartya Sen: A Personal Appreciation"
"Is Inequality of Opportunity a Useful Policy Construct?"
"Thresholds, Informality and Partitions of Tax Compliance"
"Globalization and Inequality"
"A Typical Scene: Five Exposures to Poverty"