Tim Besley

Sir Professor Tim Besley is an Academic Lead for IGC’s State Fragility initiative.

Sir Prof. Tim Besley is Professor of Economics and Political Science at the London School of Economics. He has served on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee since September 2006. He is also an Associate of STICERD’s Economic Organisation and Public Policy programme. He previously taught at Princeton University and is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Centre for Economic Policy Research. His work focuses mainly on issues in development economics, public economics and political economy. He has been a co-Editor of the American Economic Review and Editor of the Economic Journal. He currently serves on the editorial boards of numerous other professional journals.

His professional honours include being a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Econometric Society and a British Academy Research Reader. In 2005, he won the prestigious biannual Yrjö Jahnsson Award for his research. He has a DPhil from Oxford University. From 2017 to 2018, Besley served as academic co-director for the Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development.

Content by Tim Besley
  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Terror and tourism: How bad news can harm economic development

    Reporting on violence often draws attention to countries which are typically not covered by international news outlets, leading to a bad news bias which can affect the view that people hold on these countries and have serious economic consequences. Tourism offers a unique chance to study the effect of news because tourists from different countries evaluate the same...

    27 Aug 2020 | Tim Besley, Thiemo Fetzer, Hannes Mueller

  • Data Item

    Data: The economic costs of piracy

    This paper estimates the effect of piracy attacks on shipping costs using a unique data set on shipping contracts in the dry bulk market. We look at shipping routes whose shortest path exposes them to piracy attacks and Önd that the increase in attacks in 2008 lead to around a ten percent increase in shipping costs. We use this estimate to get a sense of the welfare loss...

    1 Mar 2019

  • Publication - Miscellaneous

    Sortir du piège de la fragilité

    Les Objectifs de développement durable (ODD) ciblent l’éradication de l’extrême pauvreté d’ici à 2030. Pour autant, alors que les deux tiers du chemin restent à parcourir, près de 900 millions de personnes vivent encore avec moins de deux dollars par jour et, dans les pays les plus pauvres du monde, les progrès sont au point mort.  On appelle...

    23 Aug 2018 | Paul Collier, Tim Besley, Adnan Khan

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Event: A new approach to state fragility

    CIFAR, IGC, and the British Academy host a panel discussion with Sir Tim Besley (LSE), Rachel Glennerster (DFID), Adnan Khan (IGC), and Roger Myerson (University of Chicago) to discuss the findings of the LSE-Oxford Fragility Commission's report 'Escaping the Fragility Trap'.

    20 Jul 2018

  • Publication - Miscellaneous

    Escaping the fragility trap

    Cutting extreme poverty in half is one of the greatest achievements of the last three decades. However, there is much more to do. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set the mission to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. Yet nearly a third of the way towards that deadline, almost 900 million people are still living on less than two dollars a day and, in too many of the...

    18 Apr 2018 | Paul Collier, Tim Besley, Adnan Khan

  • Blog post

    Understanding how political violence impacts spending patterns

    Using spending pattern insights and media reports of violence, we can see how fear can heavily influence consumers. Politically motivated violence has important economic effects. Apart from the direct impact of terrorism on its victims, it deters investment in education and businesses. The fear of violence has driven millions of people away from their homes every year,...

    12 Mar 2018 | Tim Besley, Thiemo Fetzer, Hannes Mueller

  • Blog post

    Sacrificing consumption to mitigate catastrophic risks

    Many scientists agree that the probability of a rare environmental disaster increases as the stock of greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere. This column asks how much consumption current generations should be willing to sacrifice to reduce the risk of such a future catastrophe. If there were a way of immediately eliminating the risk of all future catastrophes,...

    29 May 2017 | Avinash Dixit, Tim Besley

  • Project

    Tourism and terrorism: Evidence from North Africa

    Tourism is a potentially vital source of income in many low income economies, but it can be affected by political instability. These issues are brought into sharp relief by studying the situation in the Middle East and North Africa where since 2010, a number of countries have destabilised politically with bouts of rioting, armed conflict, and terror attacks. The economies...

    23 Aug 2016 | Hannes Mueller, Tim Besley, Thiemo Fetzer

  • Multimedia Item - Audio

    Growth Challenges in Fragile States

    3 Jun 2016

  • Blog post

    The welfare cost of Somali Piracy

    Somalia has topped Foreign Policy’s list of failed states for the past five consecutive years. And this has fuelled an industry which reputedly generates around $120 million per year in net profits. But at what cost to the world? Unlike organised extraction by the state in the form of taxation, piracy is disorganised predation. In the language of Olson (1993), pirates...

    10 Dec 2013 | Tim Besley

  • Blog post

    Are economic conditions historically determined? Evidence from violence in Africa

    An emerging body of research has dealt with tracing the historical roots of contemporary economic and political outcomes. In Besley and Reynal-Querol (2012), we investigate persistent effects of African history and investigate whether much of what we see now is historically determined and hence not easily amenable to manipulation. We focus specifically on the extent to...

    6 Dec 2013 | Tim Besley

  • Project

    Investigating the economic cost of conflict

    Recent years have seen a surge in the literature on armed confl‡ict and terrorism. This report aims to answer …five (sets of) questions with a recently emerging part of this literature. What evidence is there that upstream confl‡ict prevention (in the form of capacity building etc) has materially/economically bene…fitted either the donor or receiving country? What are...

    1 Jan 2013 | Hannes Mueller, Tim Besley

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    The Economic Costs of Piracy (Policy Brief)

    20 Apr 2012 | Tim Besley, Thiemo Fetzer, Hannes Mueller

  • Publication - Working Paper

    Piracy in Somalia costs billions (Working Paper)

    20 Apr 2012 | Tim Besley, Thiemo Fetzer, Hannes Mueller

  • Project

    The Economic Costs of Piracy

    For every $120 million seized by pirates in Somalia, the cost to the shipping industry and the end consumer is between $0.9 and $3.3 billion, according to research by Tim Besley (LSE and the IGC Steering Group), Thiemo Fetzer (LSE) and Hannes Mueller (Barcelona GSE). This money is enough to employ well over a million Somalis for a whole year. The study examines the...

    1 Oct 2011 | Tim Besley, Thiemo Fetzer, Hannes Mueller

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Video: Building Effective States

    28 Sep 2011