Billede af Lindsay Whitfield
  • Universitetsvej 1, 14.2

    DK-4000 Roskilde


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Personlig profil


My main research area is comparative political economy of development, and my regional focus is on Sub-Saharan Africa. I am interested in the role of the state and business-state relations in economic development, as well as the formation of domestic capitalist classes, how locally owned firms build technological capabilities and why they invest in learning, and how such firms enter and upgrade within global value chains.

I am Leader of the Center of African Economies (CAE). For more information about CAE and the CAE Working Paper series, see the Center's website:

Currently, I am the Principal Investigator on a research project funded by the Danish Social Sciences Research Council. The project is called African-owned firms building capabiities in global value chains, AFRICAP for short. The overall objective of AFRICAP is to advance our understanding of how technology transfer occurs and local firms learn in less developed countries, providing greater insight into the process of capitalist transformation and how it occurs in the twenty-first century. For more information, see the project website:

My previous work examined what drives states in developing countries to implement policies aimed at developing productive sectors in their economies. It asked several questions: how and why ruling political elites pursue industrial policies?; when and why such industrial policies are successfully implemented?; and how and why are pockets of efficiency created within the state? The findings were published as The Politics of African Industrial Policy: A comparative perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and my research on the specifc case of Ghana was published as Economies after Colonialism: Ghana and the struggle for power (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Both books analyze the limited extent of economic transformation achieved, and then the economic and political challenges to accelerating the process of economic transformation. Specifically, it examines the characteristics of ruling coalitions and their impacts on economic policymaking and implementation.

My work engages in key debates on the relationship between democracy and development, the role of the state in facilitating economic development, and the nature of African politics.


Prior to my position as Associate Professor in Global Studies at the Department of Society and Globalisation, I was a Senior Project Researcher in the Politics and Development research unit at the Danish Institute for International Studies, Copenhagen. Before that, I was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Global Economic Governance Program, which is based at University College and the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, UK.

I hold a B.A. in Politics and a B.A. in Economics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the USA, and I completed a M.Phil. in Development Studies and a D.Phil. in Politics from the University of Oxford, UK.

My books include Economies after Colonialism: Ghana and the struggle for power (Cambridge University Press, 2018); The Politics of African Industrial Policy: A comparative perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2015); The Politics of Aid: African Strategies for Dealing with Donors (Oxford University Press, 2008), and Turning Points in African Democracy (James Currey, 2009). I have published articles in Journal of Agrarian Change, African AffairsReview of African Political Economy, Journal of Modern African Studies, Oxford Development Studies, Third World QuarterlyJournal of Development Studies, and Development Policy Review.


My main teaching responsibilities are on the Global Studies Master program, where I teach courses linked to global political economy, and on the International Social Science Bachelor program (SIB House 21), where I teach Introduction to Economics.


  • Samfundsøkonomi, Politik


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