Paul Collier

Professor Sir Paul Collier is a Director of the IGC.

Paul is a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford; Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies; a CEPR Research Fellow; and Professorial Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford. He was formerly the senior advisor to Tony Blair’s Commission on Africa, and was Director of the Development Research group at the World Bank for five years. He researches the causes and consequences of civil war; the effects of aid; and the problems of democracy in low-income and natural-resource-rich societies.

Content by Paul Collier
  • Blog post

    World Habitat Day 2017

    To mark 2017’s World Habitat Day, the theme of which is Housing Policies: Affordable Homes, we asked researchers working on housing to provide their thoughts on the future of urban housing policy: Could you give an example of an interesting policy that could help to tackle some of the housing challenges faced in developing cities? Simon Franklin: large scale low cost...

    2 Oct 2017 | Simon Franklin, Paul Collier, Julia Bird, Michael Blake, Nina Harari, Mila Friere, Priya Manwaring

  • Publication - Synthesis paper

    Secure, legally enforceable and marketable land rights for urban development

    This Cities that Work paper first outlines why secure, legally enforceable and marketable land rights play such a pivotal role in urban development. Section 2 discusses the trade-offs associated with different tenure systems, both formal and informal. Whilst there can be strong benefits in formalising land rights, processes of formalisation need to be underpinned by...

    31 Aug 2017 | Paul Collier, Edward Glaeser, Tony Venables, Michael Blake, Priya Manwaring

  • Publication - Synthesis paper

    Land and property taxes for municipal finance

    This Cities that Work paper explores why land and physical properties represent the largest source of untapped municipal revenue. Alongside their potential to raise significant public revenues, land and property taxes are also fairer and more efficient than other forms of tax. They have limited effects on urban investment, and allow governments to capture increases in land...

    31 Aug 2017 | Paul Collier, Edward Glaeser, Tony Venables, Michael Blake, Priya Manwaring

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Land and property taxes: Exploiting untapped municipal revenues

    Part of our Cities that Work publications, this brief outlines the importance of annual land and property tax as a source of municipal finance and explores trade-offs that policymakers face in implementing reform. It also identifies examples of best practice for reform from cities across the developing world.

    31 Aug 2017 | Paul Collier, Edward Glaeser, Tony Venables, Priya Manwaring, Michael Blake

  • Publication - Growth Brief

    Financing fast-growing cities

    Many developing country cities are growing at an unprecedented rate. To respond to this unplanned, rapid expansion, it will be beneficial for city authorities both to expand existing revenue sources and explore new financing options to match higher demand for public services. Cities like Kampala, Uganda, will triple in size by the year 2050, according to estimates...

    27 Jun 2017 | Astrid Haas, Paul Collier

  • Publications Reader Item

    Financing fast-growing cities

    27 Jun 2017

  • Blog post

    Post-Brexit trade and development policy

    Regardless of what one may think of the decision, the British people have voted to leave the EU – a result that throws up historic challenges as well as historic opportunities. This blog introduces the IGC's latest Policy Brief on Post-Brexit Trade & Development Policy, and why Brexit should be viewed as an important opportunity for fresh thinking. The decision to...

    3 Apr 2017 | Richard Baldwin, Paul Collier, Tony Venables

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Refuge: Transforming a broken refugee system (Video)

    30 Mar 2017

  • Multimedia Item - Audio

    Refuge: Transforming a broken refugee system (Audio)

    30 Mar 2017

  • Publication - Policy note

    Post-Brexit trade and development policy

    In a short thought-piece, the authors suggest that the time is ripe for the UK government to embrace a new trade and development agenda that demonstrates that post-Brexit Britain is a confident, outward-looking country ready to play a key role on the world stage. Their proposal walks on two legs: New, pro-development trade and investment policies focused initially on...

    29 Mar 2017 | Richard Baldwin, Paul Collier, Tony Venables

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Paul Collier & Tony Venables: Why cities matter

    Paul Collier and Tony Venables explain how cities unlock the 'miracle of productivity', why they are key to economic growth in developing countries, and discuss the IGC's new Cities that Work initiative.

    14 Mar 2017

  • Publication - Miscellaneous

    Tanzania: The Path to Prosperity

    The book, published by Oxford University Press, is available for purchase here. This book, the third in the Africa: Policies for Prosperity series, is concerned with the challenges of securing economic prosperity in Tanzania over the coming decades. Building on widespread economic reforms in the early 1990s, Tanzania has recorded steady economic growth over the...

    26 Jan 2017 | Christopher Adam, Paul Collier, Benno Ndulu

  • Publications Reader Item

    Harnessing natural resources for inclusive growth

    26 Sep 2016

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Growth Challenges in Fragile States

    In this short talk, Paul Collier discusses power, authority, and the pitfalls of establishing legitimacy in fragile states.

    6 Jul 2016

  • Multimedia Item - Audio

    Growth Challenges in Fragile States

    3 Jun 2016

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    African urbanisation: An analytic policy guide

    Africa is rapidly urbanising: it is the most important structural transformation underway in the region. By 2050, almost regardless of government policies, its urban population will have tripled. But the consequences are critically dependent upon policy choices: successful urbanisation requires active and far-sighted government. At its best, urbanisation can be the...

    23 May 2016 | Paul Collier

  • Blog post

    Why Kampala holds single biggest growth opportunity for Uganda

    Uganda’s economy has been growing steadily over the past decade. Like many other developing countries, its growth has benefited from a confluence of external events, including a sustained increase in commodity prices and partial debt relief. This blog by the IGC's Paul Collier & Astrid Haas details the challenges that lie ahead for sustaining urban development and...

    24 Dec 2015 | Paul Collier, Astrid Haas

  • Blog post

    Post 2015: Growth and the new sustainable development agenda

    As we look forward at new development agendas, much of the discussion now falls on how developing and fragile states can move forward in achieving progress on the new UN Global Goals. This piece argues that the goals will require governments to refocus policy agendas on growth. The challenge is not simply to create more jobs, but to also develop market structures, public...

    21 Sep 2015 | Paul Collier, Upaasna Kaul

  • Blog post

    Natural resources do not need to be a curse (Part 2 – Avoiding the resource curse)

    The resource curse is both real and harmful. With the wrong policies in place, natural resources have in many places turned into a curse instead of a blessing. In our previous blog post, we explained the origins of the resource curse and claimed that countries could avoid it by implementing the right policies. In this post, we present the very policies that governments need...

    8 Jun 2015 | Paul Collier, Caroline Laroche

  • Blog post

    Natural resources do not need to be a curse (Part 1 – Explaining the resource curse)

    Looking at the fate of several resource-rich sub-Saharan African nations, it’s easy to see that an abundance of natural resources can be a real curse, and many blame natural resources for the poor economic outcomes of many sub-Saharan African countries. We, on the other hand, think natural resources can and should act as the backbone of growth on the continent. Below, we...

    26 May 2015 | Paul Collier, Caroline Laroche

  • Publication - Growth Brief

    Growth brief: Harnessing natural resources for inclusive growth

    Natural resources can support sustainable and inclusive growth in sub-Saharan Africa if key policy areas in the natural resource management chain are tackled and strong institutions are put in place. In this brief, we present a framework for natural resource management. This brief can be useful for policy-makers looking to strengthen and better diagnose the weaknesses in...

    24 Mar 2015 | Paul Collier, Caroline Laroche

  • Blog post

    Why housing is key to Africa's development

    Housing policy is the single most important factor in Africa's economic development. It needs to be elevated to the highest political level

    16 Dec 2014 | Paul Collier

  • Project

    Incentivising service delivery in Sierra Leone

    Recent evidence has highlighted the power of ‘non-financial incentives’ – i.e., rewarding and punishing behavior through social rather than monetary means – to improve the performance of individuals performing public service. Such incentive schemes are cheap, target individuals’ intrinsic motivation (i.e. desire to do good), and avoid a host of problems associated...

    4 Sep 2014 | Paul Collier, Oeindrila Dube, Vivek Maru, Bilal Siddiqi

  • Project

    Law without lawyers: Improving access to justice in Liberia and Sierra Leone

    Since the advent of peace, democratically elected governments in both Liberia and Sierra Leone, with support from international donors, have strengthened the rule of law by expanding the reach of the formal legal system and promulgating progressive new legislation, oftentimes at odds with local norms and customs. These measures have met with little success, in part because...

    4 Sep 2014 | Paul Collier, Justin Sandefur, Bilal Siddiqi

  • Blog post

    If we want the full benefit from resources; this is what we need

    A previous blog post wrote about how natural resource revenues should be managed for Africa's future. In this post, we want to take a step back and address another aspect of the natural resource challenge in Africa: institution-building. The natural resource discovery currently taking place in Africa represents a formidable opportunity, albeit one that carries big risks....

    5 Mar 2014 | Paul Collier, Caroline Laroche

  • Blog post

    One budget number every African citizen will need to know

    The past decade of high resource prices triggered discoveries in most African countries, including Uganda. As these newly discovered resources are extracted, governments that are accustomed to managing acute revenue scarcity are finding themselves with large but unsustainable revenues. The revenues are unsustainable partly because the existing discoveries will be...

    10 Dec 2013 | Paul Collier

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Video: Financing Infrastructure Investment in Africa

    27 Sep 2013

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Video: Cities - Places to Live, Places to Work

    28 Sep 2012

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Video: Building Effective States

    28 Sep 2011

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Is Information Power? (Policy Brief)

    1 Mar 2011 | Jenny Aker, Paul Collier, Pedro Vicente

  • Project

    Counteracting Illicit Behaviour During Elections: The Role of Observers and Cell Phones in a Field Experiment

    Democracy requires elections that are free and fair, in order to bring legitimacy to governments and therefore give them the mandate to pursue their policies. But in many developing countries, and especially Africa, elections are marred by intimidation, fraud, and even civil conflict. This project seeks to develop our understanding of how electoral conduct can be improved...

    1 Jul 2009 | Paul Collier, Jenny Aker, Pedro Vicente