Former directors of UNU-WIDER

Finn Tarp (2009-2018)
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Finn Tarp is the former Director of UNU-WIDER from 2009 to 2018 and is also Professor of Development Economics at the University of Copenhagen.

Professor Tarp is a leading international expert on issues of development strategy and foreign aid, with an interest in poverty, income distribution and growth, micro- and macroeconomic policy and modeling, agricultural sector policy and planning, household and enterprise development, and economic adjustment and reform as well as climate change, sustainability and natural resources.

He has published more than 100 articles in internationally refereed academic journals—including The Economic Journal, Journal of Development Economics, World Bank Economic Review, European Economic Review, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, World Development, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Land Economics, Review of Income and Wealth, Journal of Economic Geography, Feminist Economics, Economic Development and Cultural Change, and Climatic Change—alongside five books, 20 edited book volumes and special journal issues and 57 book chapters with international academic publishers plus a large number of research reports and other studies and publications.

Anthony Shorrocks Photo: UNU-WIDER Anthony Shorrocks (2001-2009)
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Anthony Shorrocks was Director of UNU-WIDER from January 2001. Previously he taught at the London School of Economics and at the University of Essex, and had visiting appointments in the USA, Canada, Italy and Russia.

Since leaving UNU-WIDER he has held visiting positions at Universities in Europe and North America. He has also played a key role in developing the Global Wealth Report which is published annually by Credit Suisse Research.

He has published extensively in leading economic journals on topics concerned with income and wealth distribution, inequality, poverty and mobility. In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society.

Recent publications include Perspectives on Growth and Poverty (2003); Growth Inequality and Poverty (2004); and Advancing Development: Core Themes in Global Economics (2007).

Key UNU-WIDER publications
Matti Pohjola (Acting Director, 2000)

Matti Pohjola is a noted economist working on the economics of growth, productivity, technological change, and most notably information and communications technology. He is a professor at the Helsinki School of Economics and is the editor of the Finnish Economic Journal. Pohjola has contributed to a number of research areas in economics, including applications of chaotic dynamic systems and dynamic game theory, labour economics, environmental economics, and economic growth. His current research focuses on the impacts of the New Economy on productivity and economic growth and on the factors affecting the adoption and diffusion of information and communication technology.

Key UNU-WIDER publications

Giovanni Andrea Cornia Photo: Alexander Zach / UNU-WIDER

Giovanni Andrea Cornia (1996-1999)
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Giovanni Andrea Cornia is Professor of Economics at the University of Florence where he teaches development economics, macroeconomics, inequality and growth, and political economy of development.

He holds a visiting professorships or fellowships at the Universities of Pavia, Helsinki, Auvergne-CERDI, Oxford, Cambridge, and the Joint Master in Development of the Universities of Bologna and Buenos Aires. He has lectured in universities, aid agencies and research centres in developing and developed countries.

Following his directorship of UNU-WIDER, Cornia was appointed to the University of Florence and served as Director of IRPET, the economic research centre of Tuscanye, between 2006 and 2009. Before these appointments he was Director of the Economic and Social Policy Research Programme of ICDC (the research centre of Unicef based in Florence).

He also held research positions at Unicef Headquartes (1981-1988), UNCTAD (1978-81), UN-ECE (1974-78), and the Economic Studies Centre of FIAT (1972-74).

Research projects

Falling inequality in Latin America - evidence from the last decade and prospects for the future

Key UNU-WIDER publications


Mihály SimaiMihály Simai (1993-1995)

Mihály Simai is a noted Hungarian economist, researcher at the Institute for World Economics, Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and professor at Corvinus University.

Besides the UNU-WIDER directorship, Simai's previous posts include; membership and presidency of the United Nations University Council between 1987-93, directorship of the Institute for World Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences between 1987-91, and vice-chairmanship of the Unicef Governing Council between 1979-85.

His main area of specialization is global economics and the transformation of the world economic system.

Key UNU-WIDER publications
Lal Jayawardena Photo: UNU-WIDERLal Jayawardena (1985-1993)

Lal R. Jayawardena (1935–2004) was a noted Sri Lankan economist and diplomat. He was the first director of UNU-WIDER, and Sri Lankan Treasury Secretary in the 1970s.

Jayawardena had served as Sri Lankan Ambassador to the EEC, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (1978–82) and Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland (1999–2000). He was an Economic Adviser to the Sri Lankan President and Deputy Chairman of the Sri Lankan National Development Council.

As Director of UNU-WIDER he chaired the study group on Indo-Sri Lanka Economic Co-operation and its 1993 report was to be the basis of the Indo-Sri Lanka Bilateral Free Trade Agreement, signed by the two countries in 1998. He also founded the WIDER Studies in Development Economics series of publications with Oxford University Press.

Key UNU-WIDER publications