Paul Collier

Nobel Conference 52

Professor of Economics and Public Policy in the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, UK, and Professorial Fellow of St. Antony’s College

Lecture: Africa’s Prospects in a Difficult Decade

Sir Paul Collier studies the way that governance operates in low-income countries. The questions that interest him concern the political economy of democracy, economic growth in Africa, the economics of civil war, aid, globalisation and poverty. In his book Wars, Guns and Votes, he argues that the international community has placed unwarranted faith in the power of elections alone to bring security and accountability to the nations in the “bottom billion”--the countries that are home to the poorest people on the planet. The developed world should be prepared to intervene more often, he argues, because “in all of these societies there are internal struggles between brave people trying to effect change and powerful vested interests opposing them. We should be supporting the strugglers for change.”

In 1998, Collier took a five year Public Service leave from the university in order to to serve as Director of the Research Development Department of the World Bank; he continues to serve as advisor to the Africa Region of the World Bank, as well as Advisor to the Strategy and Policy Department of the IMF.

Collier received a DPhil from Oxford. He is the author of six books, including The Bottom Billion. Among the awards that book received was the Lionel Gelber prize - "the world's most important award for non-fiction", according to the Economist.  Collier is Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford. His work to promote research and policy change in Africa was recognized with knighthood in 2014.

Check out Dr. Collier’s Ted talk on the bottom billion.