Development Economics

Our research embraces a wide range of development issues.  Members of the cluster conduct mainly applied research using a wide range of data including survey data, big data and archival data. We have published and supervised research students mainly in the following areas:

  1. Labour: We work on a range of labour market issues including gendered labour markets, wellbeing at work, migration, sex work, discrimination and child labour.
  2. Political Economy: We have a strong focus on the political economy of development including electoral politics, impact of media on political opinions, institutions and ethnic fragmentation.
  3. Big data: We conduct research on development planning using big data analytics to help with urban planning and resource allocation. We also use online prices to Data driven decision making.
  4. Environment: We are interested in a broad range of environmental issues in developing countries, from natural resources exploitation, including deforestation, to the impact of environmental policy, climate change and pollution on a variety of development outcomes.
  5. Intrahousehold allocation of resources. We look at the intrahousehold allocation of resources in relation to child health, schooling and labour. We explore the role of women within households and their bargaining power, wellbeing, and vulnerability to domestic violence.
  6. Firms. We analyse the performance of financial and non-financial firms in relation to environmental policy, infrastructure, political economy factors, competition and trade.

Members of the cluster have particular expertise in the economies of South and South-East Asia as well as Sub-Saharan Africa.

The cluster has strong research links with the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development and the Department of Geography and Environmental Science as well as the Walker Institute as part of a wider, cross-cutting, interdisciplinary Global Development Research Division within the University of Reading. Externally, we have links with the DSA, the World Bank, the International Association for Feminist Economics and UN-Wider, amongst others.

Our research has received funding from the British Academy, UN-Wider, Newton Fund and our PhD students have been supported by Commonwealth PhD Scholarships and government scholarships.


  • Doctoral Researchers:
    • Salman Almutawa: Domestic Entrepreneurship and Inward Foreign Direct Investment in China (Supervisors: Hussein Hassan and Stefania Lovo)
    • Jisan Afrin: Women’s empowerment, autonomy and gender relations with respect to their access to education and employment opportunities. (Supervisors: Uma Kambhampati and Sam Rawlings)
    • Sonia Jan Alam
    • Bushan Mohan
    • Willie Nakunyada: Termination of Correspondent Banking Relationships In Zimbabwe and Selected African Case Studies: Trends, and Implications. (Supervisors: Minyan Zhu and Stefania Lovo)
    • Hafsa Shoukat: Military Expenditure, Threats and Economic  Growth (Supervisors are James Reade and Joo Young)
    • Anurag Srivastava
    • Adesola Sunmoni: Migration, Remittances and Labour Force Participation: Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa (Supervisors: Stefania Lovo and  Simonetta Longhi)
    • Elly Twineyo: Corruption and firm performance in Uganda (Supervisors Sam Rawlings and Stefania Lovo)
    • Zain Ui-Abadin
    • Ifeatu Uzodinma: The role of rxposure to violent conflict and conflict displacement in shaping behaviour (preferences) in developing countries using (natural) field experiments. (Supervisors: Sophie Clot and Steven Bosworth)

Latest News and Activities

  • Unfreedom and Capitalism: Online Workshop on Economic Contributions of Slavery and Indenture. Find out about the programme and the recordings of this workshop organised by Neha Hui on 18th September 2020 here.
  • Virtual Internal Seminar: Stefania Lovo presented the paper: “Renewable energy technology adoption and the diffusion of information and behaviour in social networks: Evidence from Rural China” (joint with Pan He and M. Veronesi) on 6th April 2020 at the Virtual Internal Seminar Series
  • Roundtable on Climate Change, Trade and Development: On 27th March 2020, Stefania Lovo provided a keynote introduction on the links between climate change, trade and development with a focus on how climate change is expected to shape agriculture production and international trade, on the adaptation role of trade and how free trade agreements can foster technology transfer and climate change commitments. The  presentation slides can be found here. The roundtable was organised and hosted virtually by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI, UK)
  • Internal Seminar: Sam Rawlings and Stefania Lovo presented the paper: “Garbage in, garbage out: the impact of e-waste dumping sites on early child health” on 16th March 2020 at the Internal Seminar Series
  • Internal Seminar: Neha Hui presented the paper: “Liberalism vs. individual liberty: Indentured labour in the 19th century” with Uma Kambhampati on 2nd March 2020 at the Internal Seminar Series
  • Workshop on food system dependencies: Stefania Lovo co-organised a workshop in collaboration with WWFUK and LSE Consulting on  “Dependencies of Food System Transformation in the Wider Economy and Society” on 2nd December 2019. The workshop featured Prof Sam Fankhauser (GRI, LSE), Dr Max Parra (ODI) and Dr Jeremy Brice (Sociology, LSE) as expert panelists.
Previous news and activities

Research led teaching