Sanjaya Lall (13 December 1940 – 18 June 2005) was a development economist, Professor of Economics and Fellow of Green College, Oxford University.
Lall’s research interests included the impact of foreign direct investment in developing countries, the economics of multi-national corporations, and the development of technological capability and industrial competitiveness in developing countries. One of the world’s pre-eminent development economists, Lall was also one of the founding editors of the journal Oxford Development Studies and a senior economist at the World Bank (1965–68 & 1985–87).
Lall was born in Patna, Bihar, India, and graduated from Patna University in 1960 with a BA in economics, receiving the Gold Medal for ranking first in the university. He then took a first-class degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from St. John’s College, Oxford University in 1963, and a distinction in the MPhil in economics in 1965. Lall is the grandson of the prominent Indian historian K.P. Jayaswal, and the brother-in-law of Cambridge economist Ajit Singh.
Lall’s career began working as an economist at the World Bank (1965–68). Apart from a two-year return to the bank in the mid-1980s, Oxford remained his home, where he served first as Junior, then as Senior, Research Officer at the Institute of Economics and Statistics for over 30 years; as a University Lecturer in Development Economics at Queen Elizabeth House; as a Fellow of Green College since 1982; and as Professor of Development Economics since 1999. In addition, he was course director of Development Studies at Oxford and one of the founding editors of the journal Oxford Development Studies. He was one of the most productive economists at the university, writing or co-authoring 33 books between 1975 and 2003, publishing 75 listed articles in reputable refereed professional journals, 72 chapters in books, 67 reports for international agencies or governments, and another 27 articles. He also acted as adviser or consultant to a wide spectrum of governments and international development organisations, from the World Bank, UNICEF and the OECD to the European Commission and the Commonwealth Secretariat; he served as the Principal Consultant to UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) on its World Investment Report, and to UNIDO (the United Nations Industrial Development Organization) on its Industrial Development Report.