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Ravi Kanbur was born in India and brought up in India and in England. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Cambridge and a doctorate in economics from the University of Oxford. He has taught at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Essex, Warwick, Princeton and Columbia.
Ravi Kanbur has served on the senior staff of the World Bank, including as Resident Representative in Ghana, Chief Economist of the African Region, and Principal Adviser to the Chief Economist of the World Bank. He has also served as Director of the World Bank's World Development Report.
Professor Kanbur's main areas of interest are public economics and development economics. His work spans conceptual, empirical, and policy analysis. He is particularly interested in bridging the worlds of rigorous analysis and practical policy making. His vita lists over 200 publications, covering topics such as risk taking, inequality, poverty, structural adjustment, debt, agriculture, and political economy. He has published in the leading economics journals such as American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Economic Theory, and Economic Journal.
The honors he has received include the Quality of Research Discovery Award of the American Agricultural Economics Association and an Honorary Professorship at the University of Warwick. He is President-Elect of the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.