CredentialsPhD (Harvard University), A.B. (Harvard University)
Eric Werker is the William Saywell Professor 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 most recent publication (joint with Faisal Ahmed and Dan Schwab) examines the political consequences of the last commodity supercycle, finding in a Journal of Comparative Economics article that petrodollars given away or recycled through the global financial system financed repression in recipient countries, but when the supercycle ended led to democratization or civil war. Other recent publications (most 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 2020 article in Resouce and Energy Economics (joint with Addisu Lashitew, cutting through the resource curse literature), 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 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 was a member of the Emerging Economy Task Force of the Province of British Columbia, 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, climbing, and biking. He lives in Kitsilano with his wife and two kids.
articles and reports
Lashitew, A. A., & Werker, E. (2020). Do natural resources help or hinder development? Resource abundance, dependence, and the role of institutions. Resource and Energy Economics, 101-183. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.reseneeco.2020.101183
Lashitew, A., Ross, M., & Werker, E. (2020). What Drives Successful Economic Diversification in Resource-Rich Countries? World Bank Research Observer. http://doi.org/10.1093/wbro/lkaa001
Boldbaatar, D., Kunz, N. C., & Werker, E. (2019). Improved resource governance through transparency: Evidence from Mongolia. Extractive Industries and Society, 6(3), 775-787. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2018.12.007
Spray, J., & Werker, E. (2019). Price controls in liberia. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 67(3), 461-491. http://doi.org/10.1086/698327
Novosad, P., & Werker, E. (2019). Who runs the international system? Nationality and leadership in the United Nations Secretariat. Review of International Organizations, 14(1). http://doi.org/10.1007/s11558-017-9294-z
Schwab, D., & Werker, E. (2018). Are economic rents good for development? Evidence from the manufacturing sector. World Development, 112, 33-45. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2018.07.014
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.
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. http://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2015-205959
Musacchio, A., & Werker, E. (2016). Mapping frontier economies. Harvard Business Review, 2016(December).
Biggs, M., McArthur, J. W., Higgins, K., Moloney, D., Werker, E., & Sanchez, J. (2015). Towards 2030: Building Canada's engagement with global sustainable development.
Glennerster, R., & Werker, E. (2015, July). The economics of Ebola. LSE Connect, 11-13.
Ahmed, F. Z., & Werker, E. D. (2015). Aid and the rise and fall of conflict in the Muslim world. Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 10(2), 155-186. http://doi.org/10.1561/100.00014060
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?
Werker, E. (2013). Learning from double-digit growth experiences.
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. http://doi.org/10.1086/671711
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.
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. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdeveco.2011.05.005
Werker, E. (2011). Negotiating for Development: A New Paradigm for Natural Resource Agreements.
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. http://doi.org/10.1093/wber/lhq006
Werker, E., & Fisman, R. (2009, October). The end of foreign investment in Russia? Forbes.
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. http://doi.org/10.1257/mac.1.2.225
Werker, E. (2009, March). How globalization's losers win. www.TheAtlantic.com.
Werker, E., & 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, 19-28.
Werker, E. (2007, March). KPMG for Mayor! Forbes, 179(6), 40.
Ahuja, A., Wendell, B., & Werker, E. (2007). Male Circumcision and AIDS: the Macroeconomic Impact of a Health Crisis.
Kuziemko, I., & Werker, E. (2006). How much is a seat on the Security Council worth? Foreign aid and bribery at the United Nations. Journal of Political Economy, 114(5), 905-930. http://doi.org/10.1086/507155
Hovil, L., & Werker, E. (2005). Portrait of a failed rebellion: An account of rational, sub-optimal violence in western Uganda. Rationality and Society, 17(1), 5-34. http://doi.org/10.1177/1043463105051775
Werker, E. (2002). Refugees in Kyangwali Settlement: Constraints on economic freedoms.
Hovil, L., & Werker, E. (2001). Refugees in Arua District: A human security analysis.
books chapters and monographs
Pritchett, L., Sen, K., & Werker, E. (2017). 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. http://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198801641.003.0001
Pritchett, L., Sen, K., & Werker, E. (2017). 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. http://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198801641.003.0011
Werker, E., & Pritchett, L. (2017). 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. http://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198801641.003.0002
Pritchett, L., Sen, K., & Werker, E. (Ed.). (2017). Deals and development: The political dynamics of growth episodes. Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN:9780198801641, 9780198801641, 9780198801641. http://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198801641.001.0001
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. http://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199934386.003.0019
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 Publishing (UK).
Werker, E. (2012). The Political Economy of Bilateral Foreign Aid. In Caprio, G., & Caprio Jr., G. (Eds.), Handbook of Safeguarding Global Financial Stability (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.