Professor Christopher Woodruff

Professor of Development Economics

Christopher Woodruff is Professor of Development Economics and a Fellow at Wolfson College.

He is the Scientific Coordinator for the DFID – CEPR joint research venture on Private Enterprise Development in Low Income Countries (PEDL) and directs the Firm Capabilities group at the International Growth Centre. In addition to his position at Oxford, Professor Woodruff is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), and a Senior Fellow of the Bureau of Research on Economic Analysis and Development (BREAD), a Research Fellow at the Center for Competitive Advantage and the Global Economy (CAGE) and the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). 

His research focuses on enterprises in low-income countries, with noted work on returns to capital investments in microenterprises and the effect of formal registration on enterprise performance. He is a pioneer in the use of field experiments in firms. He currently holds an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for work measuring productivity in the readymade garment sector, with a particular focus on the challenges women face in moving into supervisory positions in the Bangladeshi garment sector.

Teaching & Supervision
In the media
Improving the work of labour courts in Mexico
Advancing female working onto management in the Bangladeshi garment sector: The Work-progression...
The Readymade Garment Productivity Project

Professor Woodruff teaches the Development and the Private Sector module for the MSc in Economics for Development.

Research Students supervised

Jordan Barnard
Research Student

Journal articles and special issues

Woodruff, Christopher (with Andreas Menzel) (2021) 'Gender wage gaps and worker mobility: Evidence from the garment sector in Bangladesh', Labour Economics 71 102000
Woodruff, Christopher (with Suresh de Mel, Craig McIntosh and Ketki Sheth) (2020) 'Can Mobile-Linked Bank Accounts Bolster Savings? Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Sri Lanka', Review of Economics and Statistics
Woodruff, Christopher (with Michael Callen, Suresh de Mel and Craig McIntosh) (2019) '“What Are the Headwaters of Formal Savings? Experimental Evidence from Sri Lanka', Review of Economic Studies 86 2491-2529
Woodruff, Christopher (with S. Quinn) (2019) 'Experiments and Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries', Annual Review of Economics 11 225-248
Woodruff, Christopher (with Suresh de Mel, David McKenzie) (2019) 'Labor Drops: Experimental Evidence on the Return to Additional Labor in Microenterprises', American Economic Journal: Applied Economcs 11 (1) 202-35
Woodruff, Christopher (with Marcel Fafchamps) (2017) 'Identifying Gazelles: Expert Panels Vs. Surveys as a Means to Identify Firms with Rapid Growth Potential', World Bank Economic Review 31(3) 670–86
Woodruff, Christopher (with David McKenzie) (2017) 'Business Practices in Small Firms in Developing Countries', Management Science 63 (9) 2967-81
Woodruff, Christopher (with David McKenzie) (2014) 'What are we learning from business training and entrepreneurship evaluations around the developing world?', World Bank Research Observer 29 (1) 48-82
Woodruff, Christopher (with Suresh de Mel, David Mckenzie) (2014) 'Business Training and Female Enterprise Start-up, Growth, and Dynamics: Experimental evidence from Sri Lanka', Journal of Development Economics 106 199-210
Woodruff, Christopher (with Marcel Fafchamps, David McKenzie, Simon Quinn) (2014) 'Microenterprise Growth and the Flypaper Effect: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana', Journal of Development Economics 106 211-26
Woodruff, Christopher (with Suresh de Mel, Craig McIntosh) (2013) 'Deposit Collecting: Unbundling the Role of Frequency, Salience and Habit Formation in Generating Savings', AEA Papers and Proceedings 103 (3) 387-92
Woodruff, Christopher (with Suresh de Mel, David Mckenzie) (2013) 'The demand for, and consequences of, formalization among informal firms in Sri Lanka', AEJ: Applied Economics 5 (2) 122-50
Woodruff, Christopher (with Suresh de Mel, David McKenzie) (2012) 'One-time transfers of cash or capital have long-lasting effects on microenterprises in Sri Lanka', Science 335 (6071) 962-6
Woodruff, Christopher (with Suresh de Mel, David McKenzie) (2012) 'Enterprise Recovery following Natural Disasters', Economic Journal 122 (559) 64-91
Woodruff, Christopher (with Suresh de Mel, David McKenzie) (2011) 'Getting Credit to High-Return Microenterprises: The Results of an Information Intervention', World Bank Economic Review 25 (3) 456-85
Woodruff, Christopher (with Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Ernesto López Córdova, María Soledad Martinez Pería) (2011) 'Remittances and Banking Services: Evidence from Mexico', Journal of Development Economics 95 (2) 229-41
Woodruff, Christopher (with Suresh de Mel, David McKenzie) (2010) 'Wage Subsidies for Microenterprises', American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 100 (2) 614-18
Woodruff, Christopher (with Rob Farlie) (2010) 'Mexican-American Entrepreneurship', BE Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 10 (1) (Contributions) Article 10
Woodruff, Christopher (with Suresh de Mel, David McKenzie) (2009) 'Are Women more Credit Constrained? Experimental Evidence on Gender and Microenterprise Returns', AEJ-Applied Economics 1 (3) 1-32
Woodruff, Christopher (with Suresh de Mel, David McKenzie) (2009) 'Measuring Microenterprise Profits: Must we ask how the sausage is made?', Journal of Development Economics 88 (1) 19-31


Woodruff, Christopher (2020) 'The importance of protecting export-oriented firms'. In Simeon Djankov, Ugo Panizza (eds) COVID-19 in Developing Economies , CEPR Press
15 September, 2020
Christopher Woodruff and colleagues win Victor Urquidi Prize in Economics
22 June, 2017
New VoxDev platform aims to distil best of development economics research
14 October, 2016
Christopher Woodruff joins ODID as new Professor of Development Economics
01 May, 2020
'Buyer responsibility and the growing crisis in Bangladesh'. Chris Woodruff looks at the impact of COVID-19 on the Bangladesh garment industry and suggests decisions by foreign buyers on whether to honour commitments to previously agreed orders will play a crucial role
Research interests:

Economic development; enterprises and development; private sector growth