Eric Werker

Academic Director, PhD Program

Professor, Strategy / International Business / Business and Society

William Saywell Professorship in International Business


Room: SGL 4915

Phone: 778.782.7725


Curriculum Vitae: View


PhD (Harvard University), A.B. (Harvard University)


Eric Werker is the William Saywell Professor and academic director of the PhD program at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. Eric researches how less developed countries can build more thriving and inclusive private sectors, particularly when they are rich in natural resources, and how international actors can play a positive role in creating successful societies. He has written on foreign aid, private sector development, natural resource governance, non-governmental organizations, inter-governmental organizations, refugees, and Ebola. Eric teaches about strategy, policy, and global economics to MBAs and executives and has authored numerous case studies on companies and countries around the world.

Eric's recent publications (all available for free downloads) on political economy and private sector development include a 2018 Oxford University Press book, Deals and Development (joint with Lant Pritchett and Kunal Sen, on the political economy of private sector development and economic growth), a 2018 article in World Development (joint with Dan Schwab, on how economic rents hinder growth in developing countries), and the December 2016 Harvard Business Review cover article (joint with Aldo Musacchio, on how companies can navigate frontier economies; see this concise guide here). Eric's recent publications on natural resource-led development include a 2020 article in the World Bank Research Observer (joint with Addisu Lashitew and Michael Ross, on what drives economic diversification), a 2019 article in Extractive Industries and Society (joint with Delgermaa Boldbaatar and Nadia Kunz, on how contract disclosure can improve resource governance), and a 2018 policy report (joint with Ben Boakye, Maggie Cascadden, Jordon Kuschminder, and Sam Szoke-Burke, on a community benefit agreement in Ghana). Eric also has recent papers in two areas of longstanding interest: international organizations, with 2019 article in Review of International Organizations (joint with Paul Novosad, measuring the contribution of different countries in staffing the United Nations), and Liberia, with 2019 article in Economic Development and Cultural Change (with John Spray, on the surprising impact of price controls).

Outside of academia, Eric serves on the Emerging Economy Task Force of the Province of British Columbia, is a nonresident fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington and an advisor to the Liberia program of the International Growth Centre in London. He has chaired the the academic directorate of the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute, set up and directed the International Growth Centre’s Liberia program, served as economic advisor to the President of Liberia, supported host government teams negotiating concession agreements, was a member of the Centre for International Policy Studies study group on Canada’s sustainable development policy, consulted to the NGO Conservation International on low-carbon development and to the US Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation on foreign aid projects, and worked with the Refugee Law Project in Uganda.  

Eric grew up in Vancouver, earned his A.B. and Ph.D in economics at Harvard, and then spent nearly a decade on the faculty of Harvard Business School before returning home. In his spare time Eric can be found spending time with family, skiing, paddling, and mountain biking. He lives in Kitsilano with his wife and two kids.

Selected Publications

articles and reports

Lashitew, A., Ross, M., & Werker, E. (2020). What Drives Successful Economic Diversification in Resource-Rich Countries? World Bank Research Observer.

Lashitew, A., Ross, M., & Werker, E. (2020). Online Appendix for: What Drives Successful Economic Diversification in Resource-Rich Countries? Chicago, Illinois, United States: LRW Publishing of Chicago.

Boldbaatar, D., Kunz, N., & Werker, E. (2019). Improved resource governance through transparency: Evidence from Mongolia. The Extractive Industries and Society, 6(3), 775-787.

Spray, J., & Werker, E. (2019). Price Controls in Liberia. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 67(3), 461-491.

Boakye, B., Cascadden, M., Kuschminder, J., Szoke-Burke, S., & Werker, E. (2018). Implementing the Ahafo benefit agreements: seeking meaningful participation at Newmont's Ahafo gold mine in Ghana. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Canadian International Resources and Development Institute.

Musacchio, A., & Werker, E. (2016). Mapping frontier economies. Harvard Business Review, 94(12), 40-48.

Bowles, J., Hjort, J., Melvin, T., & Werker, E. (2016). Ebola, Jobs, and Economic Activity in Liberia. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 70(3), 271-277.

Biggs, M., McArthur, J. W., Higgins, K., Moloney, D., Werker, E., & Sanchez, J. (2015). Towards 2030: Building Canada's engagement with global sustainable development. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Centre for International Policy Studies.

Glennerster, R., & Werker, E. (2015, July). The economics of Ebola. LSE Connect, 11-13.

Ahmed, F. Z., & Werker, E. (2015). Aid and the rise and fall of conflict in the Muslim world. Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 10(2), 155 - 186.

Werker, E. (2013, December). A market-based mechanism to improve capital expenditures. Ideas for Africa.

Siaplay, M., & Werker, E. (2013). What role for private education in Liberia's public education policy? London, United Kingdom: International Growth Centre.

Dreher, A., Klasen, S., Vreeland, J. R., & Werker, E. (2013). The costs of favoritism: Is politically-driven aid less effective? Economic Development and Cultural Change, 62(1), 157-191.

Werker, E. (2013). Learning from double-digit growth experiences. London, United Kingdom: International Growth Centre.

Ding, S., Wyett, K., & Werker, E. (2012). South Sudan: The birth of an economy. Innovations (Cambridge): Technology, Governance, Globalization, 7(1), 73-90.

Pritchett, L., & Werker, E. (2012). Developing the guts of a GUT (Grand Unified Theory): elite commitment and inclusive growth. London, United Kingdom: Department for International Development (UK).

Werker, E., Cole, S. A., & Healy, A. (2012, November). Natural disasters hurt incumbents. Politico.

Cole, S., Healy, A., & Werker, E. (2012). Do voters demand responsive governments? Evidence from Indian disaster relief. Journal of Development Economics, 97(2), 167 - 181.

Fisman, R., & Werker, E. (2011). Innovations in Governance. Innovation Policy and the Economy, 11, 79-102.

Werker, E. (2011). Negotiating for Development: A New Paradigm for Natural Resource Agreements. Presented at Engineers Without Borders conference.

Werker, E. (2010, August). Disaster politics: International politics and relief efforts. Harvard International Review (Website).

Kaja, A., & Werker, E. (2010). Corporate governance at the World bank and the dilemma of global governance. World Bank Economic Review, 24(2), 171-198.

Werker, E., & Fisman, R. (2009, October). The end of foreign investment in Russia? Forbes Magazine.

Werker, E., Ahmed, F. Z., & Cohen, C. (2009). How is foreign aid spent? Evidence from a natural experiment. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 1(2), 225-244.

Werker, E. (2009, March). How globalization's losers win.

Cohen, C., & Werker, E. (2008). The Political Economy of "Natural" Disasters. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 52(6), 795-819.

Werker, E., & Ahmed, F. Z. (2008). What do Nongovernmental Organizations Do? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 22(2), 73-92.

Werker, E. (2008, November). Power to the People. Foreign Policy, 78-79.

Muzinich, J., & Werker, E. (2008). A better approach to foreign aid. Policy Review, 149, 19-28.

Werker, E. (2007). Refugee camp economies. Journal of Refugee Studies, 20(3), 461-480.

Fisman, R., & Werker, E. (2007). Local Company Politics. Capitalism and Society, 2(1), 1-8.

Werker, E. (2007, March). KPMG for Mayor! Forbes Magazine, 179(6), 40.

Ahuja, A., Wendell, B., & Werker, E. (2007). Male Circumcision and AIDS: the Macroeconomic Impact of a Health Crisis. Boston, Massachusetts, United States: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Werker, E. (2002). Refugees in Kyangwali Settlement: Constraints on economic freedoms. Kampala, Uganda: Refugee Law Project.

Hovil, L., & Werker, E. (2001). Refugees in Arua District: A human security analysis. Kampala, Uganda: Refugee Law Project.

books chapters and monographs

Pritchett, L., Sen, K., & Werker, E. (2018). Deals and Development: An Introduction to the Conceptual Framework. In Pritchett, L., Sen, K., & Werker, E. (Eds.), Deals and Development: The Political Dynamics of Growth Episodes (pp. 1-38). Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Pritchett, L., Sen, K., & Werker, E. (2018). Searching for a ‘Recipe’ for Episodic Development. In Pritchett, L., Sen, K., & Werker, E. (Eds.), Deals and Development: The Political Dynamics of Growth Episodes (pp. 339-354). Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Werker, E., & Pritchett, L. (2018). Deals and Development in a Resource-Dependent, Fragile state: The Political Economy of Growth in Liberia 1960-2014. In Pritchett, L., Sen, K., & Werker, E. (Eds.), Deals and Development: The Political Dynamics of Growth Episodes (pp. 39-70). Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Ackah, C. (Ed.). (2018). Deals and Development: The Political Dynamics of Growth Episodes. Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN:9780198801641.

Donovan, J., Lawrence, K., Neyor, C., Niesten, E., & Werker, E. (2013). Assessing potential carbon revenues from reduced forest cover loss in Liberia. In Revesz, R. L., Livermore, M. A., Livermore, M. A., & Revesz, R. L. (Eds.), The Globalization of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Environmental Policy (pp. 293-304). Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Werker, E., Ahmed, F., & Cohen, C. (2013). How is foreign aid spent? Evidence from a natural experiment. In Millner, H. V., Tingley, D., Milner, H. V., & Tingley, D. (Eds.), Geopolitics of Foreign Aid. Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar.

Werker, E. (2012). The Political Economy of Bilateral Foreign Aid. In Caprio, G., & Caprio Jr., G. (Eds.), Handbook of Safeguarding Global Financial Stability: Political, Social, Cultural, and Economic Theories and Models (pp. 47-58). Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier Ltd (UK).

Werker, E. (2008). Weak states can be coaxed creatively. In Clark, C., & Kinsley, M. (Eds.), Creative Capitalism: A Conversation with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and other Economic Leaders. New York, New York, United States: Simon & Schuster.