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Rebecca Simson

Rebecca Simson, David Richards Junior Research Fellow in Economic History

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Rebecca is Wadham’s David Richards Junior Research Fellow in Economic History.

Her research explores social and economic processes of change in postcolonial Africa, with a focus on social mobility, social stratification and elite formation since independence. Her current research project, ‘African hereditary meritocracies?: Education and elite formation in postcolonial East Africa,’  examines inequality dynamics and social mobility in East Africa, with a focus on how the education system came to stratify African societies after independence.

Rebecca has a PhD in economic history from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University. She previously held an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship at LSE and the Economic History Society Anniversary Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research.

Prior to her PhD studies she spent several years working for development organisations in West and East Africa, and she continues to engage with and conduct research for think tanks and international organisations that engage in policy dialogue in those regions.


Simson, R. (2019) ‘Ethnic (in)equality in the public services of Kenya and Uganda,’ African Affairs, 118 (470): 75-100.

Simson, R. (2018) ‘Africa’s clientelist budget policies revisited: public expenditure and employment in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, 1960-2010,’ Economic History Review

Simson, R. and Savage, M. (forthcoming) ‘The global significance and national inequality decline’, accepted for publication, Third World Quarterly