Erik Thorbecke
Professor Emeritus
Division of Nutritional Sciences

B16 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall


Erik Thorbecke is the H.E. Babcock Professor of Economics and Food Economics Emeritus and former Director of the Program on Comparative Economic Development at Cornell University. He is presently a Graduate School Professor. His past positions include chairman of the Department of Economics at Cornell, a professorship at Iowa State University, and associate assistant administrator for program policy at the Agency for International Development. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the University of Ghent in 1981. He has made contributions in the areas of economic and agricultural development, the measurement and analysis of poverty and malnutrition, the Social Accounting Matrix and general equilibrium modeling, and international economic policy.
The Foster-Greer-Thorbecke poverty measure (Econometrica, 1984) has been adopted as the standard poverty measure by the World Bank and practically all UN agencies and is used almost universally by researchers doing empirical work on poverty. A multidimensional variant of the F-G-T measure was recently adopted by the Mexican government and used to allocate inter-regionally federal government funds to educational, health and nutritional programs benefiting the poor. In recent years he has i) co-directed a large scale research project on "The Impact of Globalization on the World's Poor" under the auspices of the United Nations University's World Institute for Development Economics Research; ii) continued his research on multidimensional poverty.; and iii) undertaken research on inclusive growth in Africa and Asia.
He is the author or co-author of more than twenty five books and over one hundred and fifty articles.

See text on current professional activities.and publications

 Thorbecke E. and P. Cornelisse, "Echange et Developpement". Revue D'Economie du Developpement, No 4, 2013, Pp.5-24.

"The Interrelationship Linking Growth, Inequality and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of African Economies, 2013.

 Nissanke M. and E. Thorbecke (editors), The Poor under Globalization in Asia, Latin America and Asia. Oxford University Press, 2010

 Cornelisse P. and E. Thorbecke, Exchange and Development; the Anatomy of Economic Transactions, Edward Elgar Publisher,2010.

Nissanke M. and E. Thorbecke (editors), Globalization, Poverty and Inequality in Latin America, Special issue, World Development, volume 38, Issue 6, June 2010

Foster J., Greer J. and E Thorbecke, “FGT Twenty Five Years Later”, Journal of Economic Inequality, 2010

Nissanke M. and E Thorbecke, “Introduction: Globalization-Poverty Channels and Case Studies from Sub-Saharan Africa in African Development Review vol. 20, issue 1, April 2008

Nissanke M. and E Thorbecke (editors), Globalization and the Poor in Asia: Can Shared Growth Be Sustained?, Basingtoke Palgrave McMillan, 2008

"Economic Development, Equality, Income Distribution and Ethics" in P. Pinstrup-Andersen and P Sandoe (editors), Ethics, Hunger, and Globalization. Springer, 2007

‘Overview’, in M. Nissanke and E. Thorbecke (eds) The Impact of Globalization on the World’s Poor: The Transmission Mechanisms, Palgrave Macmillan for UNU/WIDER, 2007

The Impact of Globalization on the World’s Poor (M. Nissanke and E. Thorbecke, Editors) Palgrave MacMillan, 2007

The Impact of Globalization on the World’s Poor. Special Issue of World Development. Guest Editors M. Nissanke and E Thorbecke, vol. 34, No. 8, August, 2006

“Channels and Policy Debate in the Globalization-Inequality- Poverty Nexus” (with M. Nissanke) in World Development vol. 34, No. 8, August 2006

“Economic Development, Equality, Income Distribution, and Ethics” in M. Altman (Editor), Handbook of Behavioral Economics, M.E. Sharpe, 2006

“Rural Development, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa” (with Germano Mwabu) Journal of African Economies, vol.13, Suppl.1, 2004

“Economic Inequality and Its Socio-Economic Impact” (with Chutatong Charumilind), World Development, Vol. 30, No. 9, September 2002.

Taiwan’s Development Experience: Lessons on Roles of Government and Market (with H. Wan, (Eds.) Kluwer Academic Publishers, May 1999.

“A Multiplier Decomposition Method to Analyze Poverty Alleviation", (with H-S Jung) Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 48, No. 2, 1996, pp. 253 277.

State, Market and Civil Organizations: new theories, new practices, and their implications for rural development. (with de Janvry and E. Sadoulet, Eds.), London: Macmillan, 1995, 511 pp.

Intersectoral Linkages and their Impact on Rural Poverty Alleviation: A Social Accounting Matrix Approach, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna, 1995, 99 pp.

During 2014  Erik Thorbecke was closely involved in research activities of the African Economic Research Consortium ( AERC.. He also continues to  chair the thematic research group of the AERC on "Poverty, Income Distribution and Food Security".

Erik Thorbecke was invited to be a panelist to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of  the Foundation for Research on International Development in Clermont-Ferrand in January 2014. He spoke on "What is New in Development Economics?" 

Erik Thorbecke was the keynote speaker at the Spring Symposium of the Institute for African Development at Cornell University on April 25-26, 2014. His presentation was on "Financing Development in Sub-Saharan Africa through Structural Transformation: The Importance of Intersectoral Resource Flows".

Erik Thorbecke prepared a paper and made a presentation on "How Inclusive is the Present Pattern of Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa?" at a Conference on Africa at a Fork on the Road, organized by the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, New Haven, April 25-26, 2014

Erik continues to be a member of the Avisory Committee of the Institute for African Development at Cornell.

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