Paul Mosley


Professor of Economics

Room 418
9 Mappin Street
S1 4DT, UK

Tel +44 (0)114 222 3397
Fax +44 (0)114 222 3458

email :


Paul holds BA and PhD degrees (1968, 1980) from the University of Cambridge. He has spent most of his career in the university sector, but in his main area of specialisation, economic development, he has alternated between academic and hands-on work: he was an economist/statistician in the Ministry of Economic Planning, Kenya, in the early 1970s, worked from 1979 to 1981 as an economic adviser at the Ministry of Overseas Development (now DFID), has done much consultancy and advisory work for DFID, the World Bank and other development organisations, co-founded a pressure group, the Independent Group on British Aid, and has been a trustee of the development NGO Action Aid. He was lecturer, then reader, at the University of Bath from 1974 to 1985, and before coming to Sheffield in 1999 held professorships at Manchester (1986-1992) and Reading (1993-99). He has been editor of the Journal of International Development since 1989, and from 1998 until 2001 served as President of the Development Studies Association.


"I currently teach development economics and, economic history, and am convenor for the cross-disciplinary first and second year modules known as Achieve More. Both in the postgraduate Development Finance course, in the first-year course on Economic History of Britain and the Modern World, and in my module on Arthur Lewis in the Classical and Contemporary Thinkers in Economics course, the approach is highly policy-orientated – explaining how the process of development could progress further and many poor people could become less poor if specific policy actions, by international organisations, governments, firms and private individuals, were done differently. In these courses, therefore, the focus in both lectures and workshops is on which markets are not working effectively, what analytical skills are required to understand how they could work better, and what actions by institutions and individuals could enable them to do so. In workshops, the main teaching tool is ten-minute presentations by students on possible policy options (and, in Economic History of Britain and the Modern World, lessons from historical experience), which enable students to pool their knowledge, explore a larger range of empirical examples than can be covered in the lectures, and at the same time practise their presentation skills."

"Both in Economic History of the Modern World and in the Achieve More courses, a trans-disciplinary approach is enthusiastically encouraged. Contrasted perspectives concerning how development happens and who gains from it –as between, for example, those approaches which see development as being for the good of everyone and those that see the rich and powerful as exploiting the poor – are applied both between countries, within countries, and in Achieve More even within the city of Sheffield, and students are explicitly encouraged to triangulate between these different approaches."

Research summary and PhD student supervision

Paul's main research interests are in economic development, with related interests in economic history, in social policy and in the politics of economic policy-making.

A major focus of his work has always been the reduction of poverty: in 1996 he co-authored Finance Against Poverty, one of the first assessments of the effectiveness of micro-finance. Followed by Out of the Poverty Trap: Overcoming Financial Exclusion in the Inner City (Routledge, 2011) which examines the effectiveness of action against financial exclusion in Britain during the recent recession. The Politics of Poverty Reduction (Oxford U.P., 2012), based on a recently concluded ESRC project, which examines comparatively the political factors which determine the possibilities for global poverty reduction. Most recently, with Palgrave Macmillan (2013), a biography of the first and arguably greatest development economist, Sir Arthur Lewis (1915-1991). Fiscal Policy and the Natural Resource Curse: Escaping from the Poverty Trap will be published by Routledge in early 2017.

He is interested in supervising PhD students in any field of economic development, economic history or social policy in its relationship with financial exclusion.

Publications since 2008