Sebastian Kriticos

Sebastian Kriticos is a Cities Economist for the International Growth Centre, based at the London School of Economics. He works on the IGC’s Cities that Work initiative, developing the IGC’s network of economists, practitioners, and policymakers to translate economic research into clear urban policy guidance.

Sebastian holds an M.A. in International and Development Economics from Yale University and a bachelor’s in Economics from Durham University. Before joining at the London School of Economics, Sebastian has worked on issues pertaining to agricultural value chain enhancement and microfinance for the United Nations Development Program in Peru, and in the digital infrastructure sector with Ernst and Young LLP in London. His research interests span many themes in urban economics, including structural transformation and employment in African cities, land and property rights, and municipal financing.

Content by Sebastian Kriticos
  • Publication - Growth Brief

    The prospects for manufacturing-led growth in Africa’s cities

    Many African countries are urbanising rapidly despite limited growth in manufacturing. Although other sectors could spur job creation and development, much like manufacturing, they need active public policy to support urban connectivity and business scale. Although the growth of cities in Africa has been closely linked to rising incomes across the continent, many...

    1 Nov 2019 | Sebastian Kriticos, Vernon Henderson

  • Blog post

    Urbanisation and structural transformation in Africa

    Urbanisation is central to Africa’s development, yet the basic facts of the process remain a puzzle to social scientists and policymakers alike. Economists typically explain urbanisation through the combination of two forces: agricultural push and industrial pull. Agricultural gains provide the initial impetus to urbanisation because they allow food requirements to be...

    1 Nov 2019 | Sebastian Kriticos

  • Blog post

    The costs of urban giants in sub-Saharan Africa

    Several African cities have become veritable urban giants. Lagos and Cairo are each home to more than 20 million people, while others like Kinshasa, Luanda, and Dar es Salaam continue to grow at breakneck speed. The way these major cities grow will have tremendous impacts on future development in Africa. Cities can be inherently productive spaces because they bring people...

    30 Oct 2019 | Sebastian Kriticos

  • Publication - Project Report

    Considerations for land value capture reform in the Greater Amman Municipality

    This report discusses several policy options for improving the calculation and collection of specific land value capture instruments. Namely: Land Value Increment Taxes; Betterment Levies; Development Impact Fees and Exactions. The report focuses on the city of Amman, however, several of the policy challenges and solutions that emerge are common to many developing...

    28 Oct 2019 | Astrid Haas, Sebastian Kriticos

  • Publication - Case study

    The BRT and the danfo: A case study of Lagos’ transport reforms from 1999-2019

    Over the last 20 years, Lagos has had to make large-scale investments in transport infrastructure to keep up with its growing population. Most notably, in 2008, Lagos opened the first ever Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system on the African continent. Today, the system boasts two different lines which cover over 35.5 km of track and transport over 350,000 commuters on a daily...

    28 Oct 2019 | Biodun Otunola, Sebastian Kriticos, Oliver Harman

  • Publication - Policy paper

    Can Africa learn from the Chinese urbanisation story?

    This paper provides a framework to understand the similarities and differences between Africa’s current urbanisation pathway and the path China has taken over the last 30 years. A major difference is that Africa’s urbanisation to date has not been associated with anywhere near the same gains in productivity and poverty reduction that have been seen in China. Instead,...

    28 Oct 2019 | Stefan Dercon, Astrid Haas, Sebastian Kriticos, Nicolas Lippolis

  • Blog post

    Keep it clean: Can blockchain change the nature of land registry in developing countries?

    The global economy is constantly exposed to disruptive technologies. Take the example of telecommunications: it was not long ago that everything revolved around landlines. Households would go to huge lengths to ensure they were well-serviced with fixed-line infrastructure, while those left out endured long travel times for everyday activities like managing a business or...

    5 Aug 2019 | Sebastian Kriticos

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Enhancing property tax compliance in Mandalay

    This brief discusses several policy options that could improve tax compliance and tax administration in Mandalay – helping the city to escape its low-tax and underfunded services trap. Increasing the perceived benefits of paying tax – by communicating the link between tax and infrastructure – would likely encourage compliance, so long as the government can...

    29 Mar 2019 | Michael Blake, Sebastian Kriticos

  • Blog post

    Data for decision-making: How spatial data is shaping the African urbanisation story

    Ahead of the 17th Urban Age Conference and the first to be held in Africa, Sebastian Kriticos and Astrid Haas discuss the need for better data to tackle some of Africa’s biggest urbanisation challenges. On a daily basis, city policymakers need to take decisions: where and how to deliver services, what rates to apply to taxes and where to make investments, amongst others....

    26 Nov 2018 | Astrid Haas, Sebastian Kriticos

  • Blog post

    Making room for Africa’s urban billion

    By 2050, more than a billion people will be living in African cities and towns. As more and more of the continent’s population – 60% of whom live in the countryside – move to urban areas, pressures on land can only intensify. How should we make room for this massive urban expansion? How will city structures have to change to accommodate Africa’s urban billion? And...

    22 Nov 2018 | Sebastian Kriticos