Robin Burgess

Robin Burgess is a Director of the IGC.

Burgess is also a Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, and Director of the Economic Organisation and Public Policy Programme at the London School of Economics.  He was brought up in Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, the US, the Philippines and Italy where his father worked as a doctor and his mother as a child nutritionist. He received a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from Edinburgh University, a M.Sc. in Economics from the LSE and a D.Phil. in Economics from Oxford University. His areas of research interest include development economics, public economics, political economy, labor economics and environmental economics. He has published on a variety of topics – natural disasters, mass media, rural banks, land reform, labor regulation, industrial policy, taxation, poverty and growth. He has been a Visiting Assistant and Associate Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the National Bureau of Economic Research, Ecole Polytechnique, University College London and the University of California at Berkeley. He is Co-Director of the Development Economics Program at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), a Senior Fellow of the Bureau for Research in the Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau for Economic Research (NBER), a Fellow of the European Development Research Development Network (EUDN), a member of the Institute for Policy Dialogue (IPR), an Associate Editor of the Economic Journal and is the founder and director of the Microeconomics of Growth Research Network. Before joining academia he served as a consultant economist with the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Government of India.

Content by Robin Burgess
  • Project

    Infrastructure development in Myanmar

    Infrastructure is critical for economic growth. It facilitates trade, connects markets, enhances mobility, and boosts productivity. Yet, the current state of infrastructure development in Myanmar remains weak, acting as a key constraint on growth. While there has been significant growth in the country’s paved road network, the vast majority of the network – around 60% -...

    4 Dec 2019 | Robin Burgess

  • Project

    Electrification and economic growth in Myanmar

    After decades of economic isolation, Myanmar now sees electrification as a national priority for growth. However, Myanmar is starting from energy poverty, as per capita levels are one-fourth of India’s, one-tenth of Vietnam’s or about one-two hundredth of America’s. The government of Myanmar initiated a National Electrification Plan (NEP) to bring electricity to...

    10 Oct 2019 | Robin Burgess, Michael Greenstone, Tim Dobermann, Niclas Moneke, Nicholas Ryan

  • Project

    Supporting Pakistan’s power sector reforms

    Pakistan's power sector is in deep need of reform. It suffers from chronic shortages, not due to a lack of supply, but because of the financial woes of the public distribution companies operating throughout Pakistan. Only 71% of the electricity sold for use across the country is recovered through bills. The total ‘circular debt’ of the electricity sector amounts to...

    10 Oct 2019 | Robin Burgess, Michael Greenstone, Tim Dobermann, Faraz Hayat, Usman Naeem

  • Project

    The long-term impact of vocational training and job search assistance for unemployed youth: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda

    Youth unemployment and underemployment are key policy challenges in developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where 60% of the population is below the age of 25 and where it is expected to generate one million new unemployed in 2018 alone. This project seeks to provide new evidence on the effectiveness of active labour market policies in improving youth...

    20 Sep 2019 | Oriana Bandiera, Vittorio Bassi, Robin Burgess, Imran Rasul, Munshi Sulaiman, Anna Vitali

  • Publication - Working Paper

    Electricity is not a right (paper)

    Electricity courses through our lives. Yet, there are still more than a billion people worldwide who are not connected to the grid, and many more get abysmal supply, unlike the 24/7/365 flow that rich countries take for granted. We argue that these shortfalls are due to a sad irony: treating electricity as a right for the poor has limited electricity access.

    9 Sep 2019 | Robin Burgess, Michael Greenstone, Nicholas Ryan, Anant Sudarshan

  • Project

    Rapid response to Pakistan’s Task Force on Energy Reforms

    Pakistan’s power sector is in deep need of reform. The sector suffers from chronic shortages not because of a lack of supply but due to the financial woes of the distribution companies operating throughout Pakistan. Of the electricity sold for use across the country, only 71% is recovered through bills. Such large losses risk collapsing the sector if left...

    17 Apr 2019 | Robin Burgess, Tim Dobermann, Michael Greenstone, Faraz Hayat, Usman Naeem

  • Project

    Monitoring Myanmar's electrification plan: Welfare effects and access issues

    Myanmar is in energy poverty. Venture outside Yangon or Mandalay at night and one will be mostly faced with darkness. The Government of Myanmar rightly sees electrification as a national priority for growth. The National Electrification Plan (NEP) is an ambitious plan by the government to provide access to electricity for all by 2030, up from 34% today. It aims to achieve...

    13 Sep 2017 | Nicholas Ryan, Michael Greenstone, Robin Burgess

  • Publications Reader Item

    Transforming the economic lives of the ultra-poor

    1 Sep 2016

  • Blog post

    Let them buy light in rural Bihar

    Access to electricity is critical to encouraging growth and reducing poverty. Around the world, 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity, including 300 million Indian citizens, most of whom live in rural areas. Micro-grid products could provide an innovative solution, bridging the gaps in access to electricity with potentially large economic and welfare gains...

    8 Aug 2016 | Michael Greenstone, Robin Burgess, Nicholas Ryan, Anant Sudarshan

  • Blog post

    Tackling extreme poverty: In conversation with Robin Burgess

    Who are the ultra-poor and how can development policy address their particular needs? In today's blog, Professor Robin Burgess discusses the results of a research project with the Bangladesh-based development NGO BRAC. The World Bank defines the poor as those who live on less than $1.90 (USD) day, but millions of people in the developing world survive on even less. Trapped...

    9 Dec 2015 | Robin Burgess

  • Publication - Growth Brief

    Growth brief: Transforming the economic lives of the ultra-poor

    Despite considerable progress in recent decades, nearly 1 billion people worldwide live below the international extreme poverty line of $1.90 per day. A group that has been particularly hard to reach with anti-poverty programmes are the ‘ultra-poor’. With low assets and few skills, the ultra-poor work largely in insecure wage labour, do not participate in...

    9 Dec 2015 | Oriana Bandiera, Robin Burgess, Upaasna Kaul

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    The global energy and growth challenge

    28 Jul 2015

  • Publication - Project Memo

    Basic Entrepreneurship: A Big New Idea in Development (Project Memo)

    17 Nov 2014 | Oriana Bandiera, Robin Burgess, Narayan Das, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul, Munshi Sulaiman

  • Project

    Mapping Informal and Formal Providers on the Supply Side of the Livestock Market: Evidence from the Punjab Economic Opportunities Programme (PEOP), Pakistan

    The Punjab Economic Opportunities Program (PEOP) is the flagship poverty alleviation initiative taken by the Government of Punjab to address the very high incidence of poverty in the districts of Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Lodhran and Muzaffargarh in Southern Punjab, Pakistan. In the rural areas, the livelihood of most of the households in this region is dependent upon...

    10 Oct 2014 | Imran Rasul, Robin Burgess, Adnan Khan

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Energy and Growth: Facts and Consequences

    26 Sep 2014

  • Project

    The value of democracy: Evidence from road building in Kenya

    Just how significant is ethnic favouritism in Africa? It’s a common aspect of Africa’s perception and many of the continents ills have been blamed on it. Yet, it has been quite difficult to find concrete evidence of this behaviour. So how much does it actually exist and what are the effects? We look at the case of Kenya and find strong empirical evidence of ethnic...

    4 Sep 2014 | Robin Burgess, Remi Jedwab, Edward Miguel, Ameet Morjaria, Gerard Padró i Miquel

  • Publication - Working Paper

    Women’s Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomised Control Trial in Africa (Working Paper)

    4 Sep 2014 | Oriana Bandiera, Niklas Buehren, Robin Burgess, Markus Goldstein, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul, Munshi Sulaiman

  • Project

    Women’s Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomised Control Trial in Africa

    Women in developing countries are disempowered relative to their contemporaries in developed countries. High youth unemployment and early marriage and childbearing interact to limit human capital investment and enforce dependence on men. In this paper, we evaluate an attempt to jump-start adolescent women’s empowerment in the world’s second youngest country: Uganda....

    4 Sep 2014 | Oriana Bandiera, Niklas Buehren, Robin Burgess, Markus Goldstein, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul, Munshi Sulaiman

  • Publication - Working Paper

    Can basic entrepreneurship transform the economic lives of the poor? (Working Paper)

    4 Sep 2014 | Oriana Bandiera, Robin Burgess, Narayan Das, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul, Munshi Sulaiman

  • Project

    Basic entrepreneurship: A big new idea in development

    Evaluation of the BRAC ultra-poor programme in Bangladesh. Targeting households of ultra-poor women, BRAC's programme has reached 1.6 million households. Project led to a 37% average increase in annual earnings. The world’s poorest people lack both capital and skills. They tend to engage in low-skilled wage labour activities that are insecure...

    4 Sep 2014 | Oriana Bandiera, Robin Burgess, Narayan Das, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul, Munshi Sulaiman

  • Blog post

    Creating Entrepreneurs: A Big New Idea in Development

    Can the world’s poorest people become entrepreneurs? This column outlines results from an evaluation of the Ultra Poor programme in Bangladesh, a scheme that the NGO behind it claims is a staggering success. From an economist’s point of view, the world’s poorest people typically lack two things: capital and skills. They tend to work for others in jobs that are...

    7 Jan 2014 | Oriana Bandiera, Robin Burgess, Imran Rasul

  • Project

    Lighting up Bihar

    The power sector is widely viewed as one of the biggest constraints on India’s economic growth, the main problem being that almost half of power drawn from the grid is not paid for and in unmetered, unbilled or pilfered. In the state of Bihar, 45% of power consumed falls in this category. The Government of Bihar is trying to address this problem and expand access to...

    1 Nov 2013 | Michael Greenstone, Robin Burgess, Nicholas Ryan, Anant Sudarshan

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Basic Entrepreneurship: A Big New Idea in Development (Policy Brief)

    1 Dec 2012 | Oriana Bandiera, Robin Burgess, Narayan Das, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul, Munshi Sulaiman