Professor John Toye, 1942–2021

16 December, 2021

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Professor John Toye, who died on 12 November 2021.

John was a distinguished economist, whose research interests included public finance, the political economy of development, international economic institutions, and the history of economic thought. He was Director of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex from 1987 to 1997.

At ODID, John was Managing Editor of the journal Oxford Development Studies, Chair of our Advisory Council and a Senior Research Associate.

ODID Emeritus Professor Adrian Wood writes of John’s time at ODID:

"John’s presence in QEH as a Senior Research Associate enabled colleagues and students to draw on several dimensions of his knowledge and experience, which he provided generously. As managing editor of Oxford Development Studies, a role he agreed to take on after the death of Sanjaya Lall, he substantially improved the journal’s quality and expanded its readership, though his aim of getting it listed in the Social Sciences Citation Index was frustratingly not achieved. He then served as a most effective Chair of QEH’s Advisory Council from 2009 to 2015. John was also the first social scientist in Oxford to grasp the importance of the growing economic linkages between Africa and China, on which his own pathbreaking work helped to stimulate what is now a large field of development research".

Professor Diego Sánchez-Ancochea, ODID Head of Department, said: "John was not only a great thinker but a kind and constructive colleague. I learnt a lot from all my interactions with him and we are all really thankful for his involvement with the Advisory Council and at Oxford Development Studies. All those who knew him at ODID will miss him a lot, but we will continue learning from his inspiring and informative work".

John was also Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford and Visiting Fellow of St Antony’s College from 2000–03.

John’s academic career began as a Research Fellow in Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London from 1970–72. Then he was Graduate Assistant at the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge from 1972–74. Later he was Research Officer at the Overseas Studies Committee at Cambridge from 1975–77, and Assistant Director of Development Studies at Cambridge from 1977–80.

He worked briefly as Director of Research Coordination at the Commodities Research Unit Ltd in London and New York from 1980–82, continuing as Non-executive Director from 1982–85.

He took up an appointment as Professor of Development Policy and Planning and Director of the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Wales, Swansea in 1982 and remained there until 1987 when he was appointed Director of the IDS and Professorial Fellow of the University of Sussex in Brighton, a position he held until 1997. He was Director of the Globalization and Development Strategies Division of the UN Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva from 1998–2000.

His books include: Aid and Power: the World Bank and Policy-based Lending (1991), The UN and Global Political Economy: Trade, Finance and Development (2004) and Dilemmas of Development: Reflections on the Counter-Revolution in Development Theory and Policy (1987).

John Toye