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Associate Professor of Political Economy

Associate Professor of Political Economy

Grieve Chelwa, an Associate Professor of Political Economy at The Africa Institute, brings a wealth of experience from his previous roles as the Director of Research at the Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy at the New School and as a Senior Lecturer in economics at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business where he also directed the MBA program. Chelwa was the inaugural postdoctoral fellow at the Center for African Studies at Harvard University and a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand.  He is a non-resident Senior Fellow at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. 

Chelwa's scholarly contributions have appeared in prestigious journals, including the Journal of Economic Literature, Applied Economics Letters, Social Science and Medicine, Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Economy and Society, PLOS One, British Medical Journal, Energy Policy, and the South African Journal of Economics, among others. His research has received support from notable foundations, including the Carnegie Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Open Society Foundations. He is a prolific commentator on African economic matters, with his insights published in prominent media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, CGTN, BBC, Mail and Guardian, People’s Dispatch, Lusaka Times, and Business Day.

Chelwa earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Cape Town, focusing on the economics of tobacco control in Africa. His academic journey includes obtaining a Master's degree in economics from the University of Cape Town and a Bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Zambia.


Chelwa's research focuses on political economy, particularly its implications on the prospects for African economic development.


  • Chelwa, Grieve, Mashekwa Maboshe, and Darrick Hamilton. "The Racial Wealth Gap in South Africa and the United States." Review of Political Economy (2024): 1-18.
  • Chelwa, Grieve. 2023. “CODESRIA Bulletin Online, No. 9, October 2023 - Development, Development Cooperation and Africa in the Twenty-First Century”.
  • Chelwa, Grieve, Darrick Hamilton, and Avi Green. "Identity group stratification, political economy & inclusive economic rights." Dædalus 152, no. 1 (2023): 154-167.
  • Chelwa, Grieve, Darrick Hamilton, and James Stewart. "Stratification economics: Core constructs and policy implications." Journal of Economic Literature 60, no. 2 (2022): 377-399.
  • Amarante, Verónica, Ronelle Burger, Grieve Chelwa, John Cockburn, Ana Kassouf, Andrew McKay, and Julieta Zurbrigg. "Underrepresentation of developing country researchers in development research." Applied economics letters 29, no. 17 (2022): 1659-1664.
  • Chelwa, Grieve. "Does economics have an ‘Africa problem’?." Economy and Society 50, no. 1 (2021): 78-99.
  • Chelwa, Grieve. “Thandika Mkandawire: A ‘Young’ African Economist’s Appreciation”, African Studies 79, no. 4 (2020): 478-484.
  • Chelwa, Grieve. “Pop Developmentalism in Africa”. CODESRIA Bulletin, no.1(2020): 1-5 
  • Nyagwachi, Abel, Grieve Chelwa, and Corne van Walbeek. “The effect of tobacco & alcohol control policies on household spending patterns in Kenya: An approach using Matched Difference in Differences”. Social Science and Medicine 256, (2020): 113029
  • Chelwa, Grieve, Miquel Pellicer, and Mashekwa Maboshe. “Teacher Pay and Educational Outcomes: Evidence from the Rural Hardship Allowance in Zambia”. South African Journal of Economics 87, no. 3(2019): 255-282. 
  • Maboshe, Mashekwa, Akabondo Kabechani, and Grieve Chelwa. “The welfare effects of unprecedented price hikes in Zambia”. Energy Policy 126, (2019):108-117
  • Chelwa, Grieve and Steven F. Koch. “The effect of tobacco expenditure on expenditure shares in South African households: A genetic matching approach”. PLoS One 14, no. 9(2019): e0222000 

Book Chapter

  • Bhorat, Haroon, Grieve Chelwa, Karmen Naidoo, and Benjamin Stanwix. “Resource Dependence and Inequality in Africa: Impacts, consequences and potential solutions”. In Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Ayodele Odusola et al., 129-148. New York: United Nations Development Programme, 2017.

Book Reviews

  • Grieve Chelwa. “Innovating Development Strategies in Africa: the role of international, national and regional actors by Landry Signe”. Journal of Modern African Studies 58, no. 1(2020): 161-162
  • Grieve Chelwa. “Zambia: Building Prosperity from Resource Wealth by Collier et al. (Eds)”. Enterprise and Society 18, no. 1(2017): 229-231