Shahrukh Wani

Shahrukh “Shah” Wani is an Economist at the International Growth Centre (IGC)’s Cities that Work Initiative based at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. Here, Shahrukh works to translate research into urban policy guidance. His research and practice focuses on municipal finances and urban governance, with a particular interest in urban institutional arrangements, decentralisation, public-private partnerships, and taxation of land and property.

Before his current role, Shahrukh worked on IGC’s partnership with UN-Habitat to implement the strategic phase of British Foreign Office’s £80 million Global Future Cities Programme. During this, he conducted institutional analysis of 19 cities in 10 middle-income countries which shaped the subsequent 42 projects on urban planning, transport, and resilience. Prior to IGC, Shahrukh worked as a consultant to ActionAid UK on taxation in Pakistan, and as an intern on poverty measurement at the Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and the Grameen Foundation.

Shahrukh is also a frequent writer on public policy, particularly on his native Pakistan. He tweets @ShahrukWani.

Content by Shahrukh Wani
  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Urban property taxes in Pakistan’s Punjab

    Property tax is a significantly under-utilised tax instrument in Punjab, accounting for only 6% of the total provincial tax. With a population of over 100 million, all of Punjab collects less urban property tax than the city of Chennai in India, home to about 10 million people. Punjab's cities have significant service delivery deficits. For example, only 35% of urban...

    2 Nov 2020 | Shahrukh Wani, Hina Shaikh, Oliver Harman

  • Blog post

    Devolve more power to cities: they will need it more than ever

    Cities with devolved powers can react more quickly to the pandemic. But many don’t have the control they need to respond to shocks. Astrid R.N. Haas and Shahrukh Wani (International Growth Centre) argue that a reluctance by central governments to devolve power is holding them back. COVID-19, like every single pandemic in the last 30 years, started in a city and...

    28 Oct 2020 | Astrid Haas, Shahrukh Wani

  • Publication - Miscellaneous

    Presentation: Taxing urban land and property

    8 Oct 2020 | Shahrukh Wani

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Why we need to tax urban land and property?

    Shahrukh Wani, Economist at IGC’s Cities that Work initiative, presented at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi on the importance of land and property taxation in Pakistan.

    8 Oct 2020

  • Publication - Policy paper

    Designed to succeed: Building authorising environments for fast-growing cities

    Cities are where prosperity is won or lost. They can either be the engines of economic growth, or dysfunctional sites of congestion, crowding, and discontent. One of the main differences is due to the quality and effectiveness of policy decisions: some city governments can take effective, timely decisions that support the productivity-enhancing features of cities, while...

    6 Oct 2020 | Paul Collier, Edward Glaeser, Tony Venables, Astrid Haas, Shahrukh Wani

  • Blog post

    Ideas Matter: What is stopping developing countries from taxing more?

    Public finance – government revenue and expenditure – is crucial for redistribution and inclusive growth. The information scarce environment and a large informal sector make it difficult for developing countries to raise revenue through taxation. Virtually every country in the world taxes their populations. But, some do so more successfully than others. Most developing...

    12 Aug 2020 | Shahrukh Wani

  • Blog post

    In defence of density

    At their core, cities are absences of space between people. You can call it density, closeness, or proximity; it is the opposite of distance. The on-going COVID-19 pandemic has brought this core feature of cities under question. But this criticism paints with a broad brush: what matters are the type of density and the way it is managed. The type of density Density alone...

    3 Jul 2020 | Shlomo Angel, Patrick Lamson-Hall, Oliver Harman, Shahrukh Wani

  • Blog post

    Making policy decisions under uncertainty

    The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed policymakers to high levels of uncertainty: governments simply do not have enough information to know what to do. The result is changing policy decisions mid-course: Britain reversed its strategy of building herd immunity when a new estimate put the likely death toll from this strategy at 250,000 people; America’s Centres for Disease...

    23 Jun 2020 | Paul Collier, Victoria Delbridge, Shahrukh Wani

  • Blog post

    Urbanisation in fragile societies: Thinking about Kabul

    As part of the Blavatnik School of Government’s “Challenges of Government” Conference, the International Growth Centre’s Cities that Work team put together a panel on identity and legitimacy in Kabul. The discussion highlighted the importance of building legitimacy in fragile contexts, particularly given the emergence of fragmented identities and new networks of...

    13 Feb 2020 | Oliver Harman, Freshta Karim, Shoaib Rahim, Shahrukh Wani

  • Blog post

    Navigating the urban age

    Whatever we might say is right or wrong with cities of the 21st century, they are indisputably a defining feature of our age. As much as we are post-modern, post-gender or post-colonial, we are also post-rural. Our existence, for an increasing majority, is urban. Even more than that, our aspirations are urban. This is visible almost everywhere. In the US, people with...

    11 Feb 2020 | Oliver Harman, Shahrukh Wani

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    The potential of cities in Pakistan

    Shahrukh Wani, Cities Economist, speaks with Dr. Ali Hasanain, Assistant Professor of Economics at LUMS, on the potential of cities in Pakistan and how increasing their efficiency can boost the economy exponentially for Pakistan@100's first skype podcast. Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and the World Bank Pakistan have partnered on a series of outputs and...

    21 Nov 2019

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Kabul: Identity, legitimacy and governance

    What roles do cities, with their youthful populations, play in developing a sense of identity and legitimacy in fragile contexts? This panel takes Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan and the fifth fastest-growing city in the world, as a case study to examine how urban contexts and actors can support, or undermine, national stability by providing a dense spatial context...

    4 Nov 2019

  • Blog post

    Getting the right institutions in place to run Africa’s cities efficiently

    Over the next 16 years, all of the world’s 10 fastest growing cities are going to be in Africa. If this growth is a process of people voting with their feet, as last year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics Paul Romer once put it, these cities are winning. Yet urbanisation in many developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, is not delivering the...

    22 May 2019 | Astrid Haas, Shahrukh Wani

  • Publication - Policy paper

    Urban governance institutions: Policy options for fast growing cities

    Developing countries today are home to all of the world’s thirty fastest-growing major cities — with sub-Saharan Africa home to twenty-one of these thirty. This rapid growth has made these cities the epicentre for the battle for national prosperity, a struggle whose outcome depends on the policy choices made by city leaders. Policy options which target the...

    30 Apr 2019 | Astrid Haas, Shahrukh Wani

  • Blog post

    Reforming Pakistan’s tax system: Evidence-based suggestions

    As Pakistan fails to collect a decent proportion of own-source revenue, it has little choice than to take on debt or depend on more creative means, such as a recent crowdfunding campaign, to fund public projects.  Where does Pakistan stand? Pakistan tax-to-GDP ratio is about 12% . In comparison, OECD countries raise taxes equivalent to about 34% of their GDP. This limits...

    3 Dec 2018 | Shahrukh Wani