Satre Family Senior Fellow at FSI

Fafchamps Photo


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I was born in Belgium in 1955. As an undergraduate, I attended the Université Catholique de Louvain and got a Licence in Law in 1978 and a Licence in economics in 1980. After my military service, I spent nearly five years working for the International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency overlooking issues of employment, income distribution, and vocational training. My responsability was rural development. I was based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but I had to travel to all parts of Africa. From 1981 to 1985 I must have visited more than 20 of the 50 or so African states. I met my wife in Ethiopia and we got married in Nairobi in 1983.

Because I had developed a stong interest in research during my years in Africa, I went back to graduate school in 1986. In August 1989 I completed a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of California at Berkeley for which I won an Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis Award from the American Agricultural Economists Association. In the process of getting my degree I also spent 8 months in Hyderabad, India. During my stay I travelled throughout India and had an opportunity to compare the way people live there with what I had seen in Africa. Except for a quarter teaching at the University of Chicago in 1995, I spent the period between September 1989 and the Summer of 1996 teaching at the Food Research Institute at Stanford.


Following the closure of the Institute, I moved to the Department of Economics at Stanford where I taught for two years. I spent the 1998-99 academic year on sabbatical leave in the Research Department of the World Bank. I taught in the Department of Economics of Oxford University between July 1999 and October 2013, except for a sabbatical year spent in the department of economics at Harvard (2005-6) and half a year of sabbatical in the Department of Economics at Stanford (2012). While in Oxford I also served as deputy director and then co-director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies.

Contact Information:


Marcel Fafchamps

Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Encina Hall Room E113

616 Jane Stanford Way

Stanford, CA



fafchamp at stanford dot edu