Steven Block

Steven Block

(617) 627-2717
Research/Areas of Interest: -Agricultural development -Economic growth -Political economy -Development economics, particularly food and agricultural policy, growth, and political economy


  • PhD, Political Economy, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States, 1993
  • MPP, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States, 1984
  • BA, History, Brandeis University, Waltham, United States, 1980


Steven A. Block is Professor of International Economics. He served as Academic Dean from July 2015 - June 2020. His research focuses on food and agricultural policy in developing countries, and on the political economy of policy reform. His recent work has addressed the cost of nutritious diets across countries, the impact of climate shocks on maize production and child nutrition in Tanzania and Nepal, the political economy of renewed growth and agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the relationship between poverty reduction and child nutrition outcomes. He is co-author of a leading textbook on development economics, and teaches courses on development economics, agricultural policy, and political economy. Professor Block earned his MPP and PhD (in political economy) from Harvard University.
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Selected Publications

Block, S. A. (2014). The post-independence decline and rise of crop productivity in sub-Saharan Africa: Measurement and explanations. Oxford Economic Papers, 66(2), 373-396. doi:10.1093/oep/gpt010

Bates, R. H., & Block, S. A. (2013). Revisiting African agriculture: Institutional change and productivity growth. Journal of Politics, 75(2), 372-384. doi:10.1017/S0022381613000078

Bates, R. H., & Block, S. (2018). Political institutions and economic growth in Africa's 'Renaissance'. Oxford Economic Papers, 70(2), 327-352. doi:10.1093/oep/gpx049

Bai, Y., Alemu, R., Block, S. A., Headey, D., & Masters, W. A. (2021). Cost and affordability of nutritious diets at retail prices: Evidence from 177 countries (Vol. 99). doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2020.101983

Block, S., Haile, B., You, L., & Headey, D. (2022). Heat shocks, maize yields, and child height in Tanzania. Food Security, 14(1), 93-109. doi:10.1007/s12571-021-01211-6

Masters, W. A., Finaret, A. B., & Block, S. A. (2022). The economics of malnutrition: Dietary transition and food system transformation. Unknown Journal, 6, 4997-5083. doi:10.1016/bs.hesagr.2022.03.006