Dr Olivier Sterck

Associate Professor

Olivier Sterck is Associate Professor and Senior Research Officer. He is the lead economist of the Refugee Economies Programme (REP) at the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC).

Before joining the RSC, Olivier was postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) at the University of Oxford. His research is multidisciplinary in scope, building bridges between development economics, health economics, and refugee studies. Olivier's research uses applied econometrics and economic modelling to study refugee economies.

With colleagues from the REP, he has been collecting and analysing data on more than 15,000 refugees and members of host populations in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia. In partnership with the World Food Programme, Olivier has been analysing the impact of various cash transfer models on the socio-economic outcomes of refugee households and refugee businesses in the Kakuma refugee camp and the Kalobeyei settlement.  

For a complete list of publications, see Olivier's personal website (right)

In the media
Health economics
Post-conflict transition in Burundi
Refugee economies

Journal articles and special issues

Sterck, Olivier (with J Gazeaud, E Mvukiyehe) (forthcoming) 'Cash Transfers and Migration: Experimental Evidence from Comoros', Review of Economics and Statistics
Sterck, Olivier (with C MacPherson) (2021) 'Empowering Refugees through Cash and Agriculture: A Regression Discontinuity Design', Journal of Development Economics
Sterck, Olivier (2020) 'Fighting for Votes: Theory and Evidence on the Causes of Electoral Violence', Economica 87 (347) 844-83
Sterck, Olivier (2020) 'The Kalobeyei Settlement: A Self-Reliance Model for Refugees?', Journal of Refugee Studies 33 (1) 189–223
Sterck, Olivier (2020) 'Self-Reliance and Social Networks: Explaining Refugees’ Reluctance to Relocate from Kakuma to Kalobeyei', Journal of Refugee Studies 62-85 33 (1)
Sterck, Olivier (2019) 'Beyond the Stars', Journal of Economic Surveys 33 (5) 1409-36
Sterck, Olivier (2019) 'Estimating fiscal space for health: pitfalls and solutions', The Lancet HIV 6 (6) e345-e346
Sterck, Olivier (2018) 'What Goes Wrong with the Allocation of Domestic and International Resources for HIV?', Health Economics 27 (2) 320-32
Sterck, Olivier (with O D’Aoust, P Verwimp ) (2018) 'Who Benefited from Burundi’s Demobilization Program?', The World Bank Economic Review 32 (2) 357-82
Sterck, Olivier (with P Collier) (2018) 'The Moral and Fiscal Implications of Antiretroviral Therapies for HIV in Africa', Oxford Economic Papers 70 (2) 353-74
Sterck, Olivier (with M Le Polain, M Nyssens) (2018) 'Interest Rate in Savings Groups: Thrift or Threat?', World Development 101 162-72
Sterck, Olivier (with R Manning) (2017) 'Rethinking international and domestic financing for HIV in low and middle income countries', Development Policy Review
Sterck, Olivier (with A Colombo, O D’Aoust) (2017) 'From Rebellion to Electoral Violence: Evidence from Burundi', Economic Development and Cultural Change 67 (2) 333-68
Sterck, Olivier (with Max Roser, Mthuli Ncube, Stefan Thewissen) (2017) 'Allocation of development assistance for health: is the predominance of national income justified?', Health Policy and Planning
Sterck, Olivier (2016) 'Natural Resources and the Spread of HIV/AIDS: Curse or Blessing?', Social Science & Medicine 150 (2) 271-8
Sterck, Olivier (with S Baele, E Meur) (2016) 'Theorizing and Measuring Emotions in Conflict: The Case of the 2011 Palestinian Statehood Bid', Journal of Conflict Resolution 60 (4) 718-47
Sterck, Olivier (with M Remme, M Siapka, M Ncube, C Watts, A Vassal) (2016) 'Financing the HIV response in sub-Saharan Africa from domestic sources: moving beyond a normative approach', Social Science & Medicine 169 66-76
Sterck, Olivier (with O D’Aoust ) (2016) 'Who Benefits from Customary Justice? Rent-seeking, Bribery and Criminality in Sub-Saharan Africa', Journal of African Economies 25 (3) 439-67
Sterck, Olivier (with S Baele) (2015) 'Diagnosing the Securitisation of Immigration at the EU Level: A New Method for Stronger Empirical Claims', Political Studies 1120-39 63 (5)
Sterck, Olivier (with P Collier, R Manning) (2015) 'From Death Sentence to Debt Sentence', Finance & Development (IMF) 28-31 52 (4)
Sterck, Olivier (2014) 'HIV/AIDS and Fatalism: Should Prevention Campaigns Disclose the Transmission Rate of HIV?', Journal of African Economies 23 (1) 53-104
Sterck, Olivier (2013) 'Why are Testing Rates so Low in Sub-Saharan Africa? Misconceptions and Strategic Behaviors', Forum for Health Economics and Policy 16 (1) 1-39

Working papers

13 August, 2021
Olivier Sterck wins Teaching Excellence Award
20 May, 2021
New article from RSC explores international agencies' blindness to refugee cross-border activity
09 April, 2021
New article co-authored by Olivier Sterck measures effect of shift to refugee self reliance model
06 November, 2019
RSC publishes report in Somali to aid dissemination to refugee and host communities
22 January, 2019
New RSC report assesses impact of Uganda's self-reliance strategy for refugees
20 August, 2018
New RSC report compares self-reliance and aid models in two Kenya refugee settlements
20 April, 2018
RSC, OPHI teams Highly Commended for impact in new O2RB awards
20 February, 2018
What difference does it make to be a refugee? RSC publishes new report on Refugee Economies in Kenya
09 November, 2017
New report from Deloitte, RSC explores Syrian refugees' economic potential
22 Sep, 2020
'Cash transfers can help refugees, but they also carry risks. Insights from Kenya'. Cory Rodgers, Jade Siu and Olivier Sterck write for the Conversation
19 Jun, 2020
'Lives or livelihoods? Global estimates of the mortality and poverty costs of COVID-19'. In a blog for the World Bank, Olivier Sterck and colleagues set out a way in which the health and economic costs of the pandemic can be expressed through a common unit
Research interests:

Refugee economies; development economics; health economics; conflicts.