Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji

Portrait of Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji
Associate Professor
311 Crotty Hall



City College of New York - B.A. Economics, Magna Cum Laude (1989)
University of California - Riverside - M.A. Economics (1991)
University of California - Riverside - Ph.D. Economics (1997)

Professional Experience: 

Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2014 - present
Co-Director World Studies Interdisciplinary Studies Project 2011-present
Chair Five Colleges African Studies Council (2013-15)
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2006-2014
Chair, Africana Studies Program Gettysburg College, 2002 - 2006
Associate Professor of Economics and Africana Studies, Gettysburg College, 2004-2006
Assistant Professor of Economics and International Studies, Wilkes Honors College, Florida Atlantic University 1999 - 2002
Assistant Professor of Economics and Africana Studies, Gettysburg College, 1997-1999, 2002-2004
Global Studies Scholar, Gettysburg College, 1996-97
Lecturer, Economics Department, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico 1993-1994

Research Interests: 

The political economy of development with particular interest in Africa and issues of inequality, poverty, rural development and the environment
Marxian Class analysis
The impact of East Asian development on African countries

Professional Activities: 

Editorial Board - Rethinking Marxism, African Studies Review


  • Joint-PI  Andrew Mellon Foundation Grant, “Creating a Decolonial Global Studies Graduate Certificate”, October 2021-December 2024, $500K + $568K University Matching funds 
  • STRIDE FELLOW – University of Massachusetts-Amherst (2021-22)
  • WSIP 2018 Conference, “Decolonial Reconstellations in the Longue Duree" CSBS/HFA Provost and VCRE office Grants 2017-18   Amount $40K.
  • Co-principal Investigator, Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar, “The Medieval in the Modern: Rethinking Global Paradigms of Political Economy and Culture” University of Massachusetts-Amherst, June 2014-2017, $175K + $43K internal matching funds
  • Co-principal Investigator, Mellon Five College Summer Research Seminar, Ethnicity and Economic Identity, Summer 2013. Amount: $24000
  • Faculty Research/Healey Endowment Grant University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2010-2011. Amount $15000
  • Lilly Teaching Fellow - University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2010-2011.
  • Contributor, NSF Research for Undergraduates Grant, Title: "Land conservancy and resource management at nature preserves in the Mid-Atlantic states." Gettysburg College, June 2003-2005, Amount $168K.
  • Co-principal Investigator, NSF Grant for Undergraduate Science Education, Curriculum Development and Instrumentation. Title: "Discovery-Based Science and Mathematics in an Environmental Context," Wilkes Honors College, Florida Atlantic University, May 2001-2004, Amount $400K.

Selected Publications: 

Journal Articles
  • “Migration in Kenya: Beyond Harris-Todaro”  - International Journal of Applied Economics) with Cem Oyvat, 34:1, 4-35 (2020)  (with Cem Ovyat)
  • “Small Farms Smaller Plots: Land Size, Fragmentation, and Productivity in Ethiopia” (with Mark Paul) Journal of Peasant Studies – Vol 45, Issue 4, (2018) pp 757-775
  • “Erasing Class/(re)Creating Ethnicity:  Politics, Jobs, Accumulation and Identity in Kenya” The Review of Black Political Economy: Volume 42, Issue 1 (2015), Page 87-110 
  • “Small and Productive:  Kenyan Women and Crop Choice” (with Charalampos Konstantinidis and Andrew Barenberg) – Feminist Economics Issue 20.1 January 2014 
Book Chapters
  • “Growing Unequally: An Audit of the Impact of Kenya’s Vision 2030 on Growth” in SIDs Kenya Vision 2030: An Audit from an Income and Gender Inequalities Perspective, Society for International Development, Nairobi (2010)
  • “Is that a Dragon or Elephant on your Ladder: The Potential Impact of China and India on Export Led Growth in African Countries?” Sylvain Boko and Diery Seck (eds.) Back on Track: Sector Led Growth in Africa, African World Press, New Jersey (2010).
  • “Income, Working Standards and Labor Mobility: Planning for an Integrated African Economy” (with Patrick Mason) in Sylvain Boko and Diery Seck (eds) NEPAD and the Future of Economic Policy in Africa, African World Press, New Jersey (January 2008)
  • “Untying the Gordian Knot: The Question of Land Reform in Ethiopia” (with Gebru Mersha), in A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi (ed.) Land Policies, Poverty Reduction and Public Action, Routledge Press, (January 2007).
  • An Employment-Targeted Economic Plan for Kenya (with Robert Pollin and James Heintz), Edward Elgar (July 2008).
  • Ten Millionaires and Ten Million Beggars: A Study of Income and Development in Kenya, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, England (December 2000).