STANFORD UNIVERSITY   |  Department of Economics



Donald J. Harris

Professional Career

1.   In Brief

Donald Harris joined the Stanford faculty in 1972, coming from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) where he had been appointed tenured professor three years after graduating from the University of California (Berkeley).  At Stanford, he was a leader in developing the new program in Alternative Approaches to Economic Analysis as a field of graduate study.  For many years he also taught the popular undergraduate course Theory of Capitalist Development.

His research and publications have centered on exploring the analytical conception of the process of capital accumulation and its implications for a theory of growth of the economy, with the aim of providing thereby an explanation of the intrinsic character of growth as a process of uneven development.  From this standpoint, he has sought to critically assess the inherited traditions of economic analysis as well as contemporary contributions, while engaging in related empirical and historical studies of various countries’ experience. 

He has travelled widely, doing research, consulting, or giving seminars and invited lectures, in the Caribbean and in Canada, England, Holland, France, Italy, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand.

Throughout his career he has had a continuing engagement with work on the economy of Jamaica, his native country.  He served there, at various times, as economic consultant to the Government of Jamaica and as economic adviser to successive Prime Ministers.

He took early retirement from Stanford in 1998 in order to pursue more actively and practically his long-standing interest, which originally motivated him to take up the study of economics, in developing public policies to promote economic growth, unleash productive capabilities, and advance social equity.


2.   Academic Degrees  

B.A. (UCWI-London U.), 1960

Ph.D. (U. California-Berkeley), 1966


3.   Fellowships and Awards

Shell Scholar (Jamaica), 1957

Issa Scholar (Jamaica), 1961

Faculty Fellow, Economics, Cambridge University, England, 1966

Ford Foundation Visiting Fellow, Delhi School of Economics, India, 1968

Associate Fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge University, England, 1969, 1971

Distinguished Visiting Professor, Yale University, 1977-78

Associate Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge University, England, 1982

National Research Council-Ford Foundation Fellow, 1984-85

Fulbright Scholar, Brazil, 1990, 1991

Fulbright Scholar, Mexico, 1992

Visiting Scholar, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC, 1993-94

Order of Merit, Jamaica National Award, 2021


4.   Academic Appointments

1998- present  Professor of Economics, Emeritus, Stanford University  

1972-98  Professor of Economics, Stanford University.

1986-87  Director, Consortium Graduate School of Social Sciences (UWI, Jamaica)

1968-72  Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin (Madison).

1967-68  Assistant Professor, Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.)

1966-67  Assistant Professor, University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana, Ill.)


5.  Professional Activities

Academic teaching, research, economic consultant, public policy advisor. 

Consultant to international agencies (UN, UNCTAD, UNDP, IDB, World Bank), governments, and private foundations.

Research projects, seminars and invited lectures in various countries.


6.  Research and Publications

Books; numerous papers published in leading professional journals; conference papers; policy documents; review articles and commentaries.

Topics covered: capital theory; income distribution; growth theory; economic development; technological change; macroeconomic policy; industrial policy; finance; international competitiveness; econometric models and estimation; economic history; national and regional economies (U. S. economy; Jamaica; Caribbean; Latin America).


7.   Citizenship

Jamaica (by birth); USA (by naturalization).