Prof Alexander Betts

Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs

Alexander Betts is Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, William Golding Senior Fellow in Politics at Brasenose College, and Associate Head (Doctoral and Research Training) of the Social Science Division, at the University of Oxford. He served as Director of the Refugee Studies Centre between 2014 and 2017.

His research focuses mainly on the political economy of refugee assistance, with a focus on Africa. He is co-author, with Paul Collier, of Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System (Penguin Allen Lane and Oxford University Press, 2017), which was named by the Economist as one of the 'Best Books of 2017'. His other books include Survival Migration: Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement (Cornell University Press, 2013), Protection by Persuasion: International Cooperation in the Refugee Regime (Cornell University Press, 2009), Mobilising the Diaspora: How Refugees Challenge Authoritarianism (Cambridge University Press, 2016), Global Migration Governance (Oxford University Press, 2012), Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development (Oxford University Press, 2016), and Refugees in International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2011).  

He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, was named by Foreign Policy magazine in the top 100 global thinkers of 2016, and his TED talks have been viewed by over 3 million people. He has previously worked for UNHCR and has served as a Councillor on the World Refugee Council. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Guardian.

He currently leads the IKEA Foundation-funded Refugee Economies Programme, which undertakes participatory research on the economic lives of refugees in Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

He received his MPhil (with distinction) and DPhil from the University of Oxford. 

Research
Publications
News
In the media
Rethinking refuge
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The Global Governed? Refugees as Providers of Protection and Assistance
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Rethinking refuge
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Pages

Books and monographs

Betts, Alexander (with Paul Collier) (2017) 'Refuge - Transforming a Broken Refugee System', London: Allen Lane
Betts, Alexander (with Will Jones) (2016) 'Mobilising the Diaspora: How Refugees Challenge Authoritarianism', Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Betts, Alexander (with L Bloom, N Omata, Josiah Kaplan) (2016) 'Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development', Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (with Phil Orchard) (2014) 'Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice', Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (2013) 'Survival Migration: Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement', Ithaca: Cornell University Press (Monograph)
Betts, Alexander (ed) (2011) 'Global Migration Governance', Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (with G Loescher) (eds) (2011) 'Refugees in International Relations', Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (with G Loescher, J Milner) (2011) 'UNHCR: The Politics and Practice of Refugee Protection (2nd edition)', London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (2009) 'Protection by Persuasion: International Cooperation in the Refugee Regime', Ithaca: Cornell University Press
Betts, Alexander (with Gil Loescher, James Milner) (eds) (2008) 'The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): The Politics and Practice of Refugee Protection into the 21st Century', London: Routledge

Journal articles and special issues

Betts, Alexander (2015) 'The normative terrain of the global refugee regime', Ethics & International Affairs 29 (4) 363-75
Betts, Alexander (with Gil Loescher) (2014) 'Introduction: Continuity and Change in Global Refugee Policy', Refugee Survey Quarterly 33 (1) 1-7
Betts, Alexander (with Gil Loescher) (eds) (2014) 'Special Issue: Emerging Issues in Refugee Policy Around the World', Refugee Survey Quarterly 33 (1)
Betts, Alexander (2013) 'Regime Complexity and International Organizations: UNHCR as a Challenged Institution', Global Governance 19 69-81
Betts, Alexander (2010) 'Soft Law and Vulnerable Migrants', Georgetown Journal of Immigration Law 24(4)
Betts, Alexander (2010) 'Survival Migration: A New Protection Framework', Global Governance 16(3) 361-82
Betts, Alexander (2010) 'The Refugee Regime Complex', Refugee Survey Quarterly 29(2) 12-37
Betts, Alexander (2010) 'Towards a Soft Law Framework for the Protection of Vulnerable Irregular Migrants', International Journal of Refugee Law 22(2) 209-36
Betts, Alexander (2009) 'Institutional Proliferation and the Refugee Regime', Perspectives on Politics 7(1) 53-8
Betts, Alexander (2008) 'North-South Cooperation in the Refugee Regime: The Role of Linkages', Global Governance 14(2) 157-78

Chapters

Betts, Alexander (forthcoming) 'UNHCR, Autonomy and Mandate Change'. In J Oestreich (ed) International Organizations as Self-Directed Actors , London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (with Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar & Aparna Surendra ) (2016) 'Humanitarian innovation, integration, and the architecture of refugee protection'. In R Hsu & C Reinprecht (eds) Migration and Integration: New Models for Mobility and Coexistence , Vienna: Vienna University Press
Betts, Alexander (2016) 'Global governance and forced migration'. In Anna Triandafyllidou (ed) Routledge Handbook of Immigration and Refugee Studies , London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (with N Omata, L Bloom) (2015) 'Humanitarian Innovation and refugee protection'. In K Brennan (ed) Making Global Institutions Work , Oxford: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'International Relations and Forced Migration'. In E Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, G Loescher, K Long, N Sigona (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies , Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'The Global Governance of Crisis Migration'. In S Martin, S Weerasinghe, A Taylor (eds) Humanitarian Crisis and Migration: Causes, Consequences and Responses , London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'Commentary: The UK and Immigration Policy'. In J Hollifield, P Martin, P Orrenius (eds) Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective , Palo Alto: Stanford University Press
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'Commentary: The European Union and global migration governance'. In J Hollifield, P Martin, P Orrenius (eds) Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective , Palo Alto: Stanford University Press
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'From Persecution to Deprivation: How Refugee Norms Adapt at Implementation'. In A Betts, P Orchard (eds) Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice , Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (with Phil Orchard) (2014) 'The Normative Institutionalization-implementation Gap'. In A Betts, P Orchard (eds) Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice , Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'Survival Migration: Conflicting Refugee Identities in Africa'. In S Kneebone, D Stevens, L Baldassar (eds) Refugee Protection and the Role of Law: Conflicting Identities , London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (2012) 'The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Autonomy and Mandate Change'. In J Oestreich (ed) International Organizations as Self-Directed Actors: A Framework for Analysis , London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (2011) 'The Refugee Regime and Issue-Linkage'. In R Koslowski (ed) Global Mobility Regimes , Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Reports

Betts, Alexander (with C Costello, Natascha Zaun) (2017) 'A Fair Share: Refugees and Responsibility-Sharing', Delmi report 2017:10
Betts, Alexander (2016) 'Humanitarian Innovation: The State of the Art', OCHA Occasional Policy Paper United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Betts, Alexander (with Louise Bloom, Nina Weaver) (2015) 'Refugee Innovation: Humanitarian innovation that starts with communities', Oxford: Humanitarian Innovation Project
Betts, Alexander (with L Bloom, N Omata, Josiah Kaplan) (2014) 'Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions', Oxford: Humanitarian Innovation Project
04 January, 2018
New RSC report explores 'responsibility-sharing' in global refugee regime
01 December, 2017
New RSC article explores variation in economic outcomes for refugees
27 November, 2017
New RSC report explores local politics and Syrian refugee crisis
09 November, 2017
New report from Deloitte, RSC explores Syrian refugees' economic potential
16 May, 2017
Alexander Betts appointed to new World Refugee Council, launched today
21 March, 2017
New book: Refuge by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier
09 February, 2017
Forced Migration Review 54 on Resettlement now online
12 December, 2016
Alexander Betts, Paul Collier named as 2016 Leading Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy
21 November, 2016
New book on refugee economies by HIP team
18 November, 2016
New book: Mobilising the Diaspora: How Refugees Challenge Authoritarianism by Alexander Betts and will Jones

Pages

09 Oct, 2017
'Refugees good for the economy'. Alexander Betts interviewed on ABC Radio National
05 Sep, 2017
'The Hazards of Giving Shelter'. 'Refuge' by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier reviewed in the Wall Street Journal
28 Aug, 2017
'The Western belief that refugees are a burden is the root cause of today’s global crisis'. Alexander Betts featured in Quartz
01 Aug, 2017
'Empowering refugees in times of crisis'. Alexander Betts interviewed by the Council on Foreign Relations
26 Jul, 2017
'The economist who wants to put refugees to work'. Bloomberg Businessweek features RSC Director Alexander Betts.
15 Apr, 2017
'How to improve prospects for refugees'. Refuge by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier reviewed in the Economist
12 Apr, 2017
'Can Uganda’s progressive refugee policies survive the influx of people fleeing South Sudan?'. Alexander Betts writes for the Conversation
11 Apr, 2017
'How to fix the refugee crisis'. Alexander Betts writes in Prospect magazine
02 Apr, 2017
'Our best gift to refugees is a job near their home'. Refuge by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier reviewed in the Sunday Times
01 Apr, 2017
'The "British Model": Give Refugees Work'. Refuge by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier reveiwed in Standpoint

Pages

Research interests:

International politics of asylum and migration, with particular regard to Sub-Saharan Africa