James K. Boyce

Portrait of James Boyce
Professor Emeritus
306 Gordon Hall



D.Phil., M.A., Oxford University, 1985
B.A. (Honors), Yale University, 1973

Professional Experience: 

Professor, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Director, Program on Development, Peacebuilding, and the Environment, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1999-present
Chair, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1994-97
Visiting Fellow, International Development Centre, Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University, 1997-98
Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor, Masters Program in Economic Policy for Central America and the Caribbean, National University, Herédia, Costa Rica, 1992-93

Research Interests: 

Development economics and environmental economics, with particular interests in the impacts of inequalities of wealth and power and the dynamics of conflict


Economic Development
Political Economy of the Environment

Honors and Awards: 

Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought, 2017
American Library Association Choice Outstanding Academic Book Title, 2013
Fair Sharing of the Common Heritage Award, Project Censored and Media Freedom Foundation, 2011
Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2006
Samuel Conti Research Fellowship Award, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2005
Dudley Seers Memorial Prize for Best Article in Economics, 2003
Distinguished Faculty Lecture and Chancellor’s Medal, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2000

Professional Activities: 

  • President, Econ4: Economics for People, the Planet and the Future
  • International Advisory Board, Journal of Peasant Studies.
  • Steering Committee, E3: Economics for Equity and the Environment, 2006-2014.
  • Advisory Board, Center for Popular Economics.
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Development and Change.
  • Member, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Water Supply Protection, Science and Technical Advisory Committee, 2010.
  • Member, Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee for the California Global Warming Solutions Act, California Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board, 2009-2010.
  • Consultative and Advisory Review Group, Crisis States Research Centre, London School of Economics, 2002-2010. (Chair, 2006-2010.)


  • Open Society Foundations grant for Research on Case Studies on Capital Flight from Africa, 2016-.
  • Institute for New Economic Thinking Grant for Research on Air Quality Co-Benefits in Climate Policy, 2015-2017
  • National Science Foundation grant for Collaborative Research on the Correlates and Consequences of Risks from Airborne Toxics: Dynamic Spatial Analysis, 2011-2014.

Selected Publications: 

Economics, the Environment, and Our Common Wealth.  Northampton, MA:  Edward Elgar, 2013.

Africa's Odious Debts: How Foreign Loans and Capital Flight Bled a Continent (with Léonce Ndikumana). London: Zed Books, 2011.

Peace and the Public Purse: Economic Policies for Postwar Statebuilding (editor, with Madalene O'Donnell). Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2007.

Reclaiming Nature: Environmental Justice and Ecological Restoration (editor, with Sunita Narain and Elizabeth A. Stanton). London: Anthem Press, 2007.

Natural Assets: Democratizing Environmental Ownership (co-editor with Barry G. Shelley). Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2003.
Investing in Peace: Aid and Conditionality after Civil Wars. International Institute for Strategic Studies Adelphi Paper 351. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

The Political Economy of the Environment. Cheltenham, U.K. and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2002.

Economic Policy for Building Peace: The Lessons of El Salvador (editor). Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1996. Revised edition published in Spanish as Ajuste Hacia La Paz: La politica economica de posguerra en El Salvador, Mexico City: Plaza y Valdes, 1999.

The Philippines: The Political Economy of Growth and Impoverishment in the Marcos Era. London: Macmillan; Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press; Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press. Published in conjunction with the OECD Development Centre's Research Programme on Alternative Development Strategies, 1993.

Agrarian Impasse in Bengal: Institutional Constraints to Technological Change. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. Winner of the 1990 Edgar Graham Book Prize.

A Quiet Violence: View from a Bangladesh Village (with Betsy Hartmann). London: Zed Press; Delhi: Oxford University Press; San Francisco: Institute for Food and Development Policy; and Dhaka: University Press Limited, 1983.