Andy Sumner
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Biographical details

Professor Andy Sumner FAcSS FRSA


Andy Sumner is Professor of International Development at King’s College London. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and the Royal Society of Arts; a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Economics and Development Studies at Padjadjaran University, Indonesia; Research Associate, University of Oxford; and Senior Non-Resident Research Fellow at the United Nations University, WIDER, Helsinki as well as the Center for Global Development, Washington DC. He is a former Vice President of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) and a former council member of the Development Studies Association (DSA).


Professor Sumner is an editor of the joint United Nations University and Cambridge University Press book series and co-editor of Palgrave MacMillan’s ‘Rethinking International Development’ book series. He also serves on the editorial boards of the European Journal of Development Research, Nature Sustainability, and Global Policy.


Professor Sumner has received research council awards from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and is Director of the ESRC Global Challenges Strategic Research Network on Global Poverty and Inequality Dynamics, a collaboration across nine universities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He is also a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and sat on the ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund Commissioning Panel.


In 2012 Professor Sumner, together with Peter Kingstone, founded and subsequently led the International Development Institute at King’s College London that became the Department of International Development in 2016. Since then, Professor Sumner has been Research Director and lead for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) for the Department and a member of the Senior Leadership Group.


Prior to King’s College London, Professor Sumner was a Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex where he was also Head of Teaching Programmes and a member of the Senior Management Group.

Research interests

Professor Sumner has twenty years’ international research experience using both qualitative and quantitative methods. His research sits in interdisciplinary Development Studies and focuses on questions related to economic development and inequality dynamics across developing countries, and in Southeast Asia in particular.

Professor Sumner is well known for challenging prevailing assumptions and theorising about the paradoxes of economic development and inequality dynamics. He also popularised a new indicator of inequality that is now reported annually in various international databases including the United Nations University World Income Inequality Database, the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report Database, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Statistical Database.

Professor Sumner has published 15 books and more than 100 papers, journal articles, and book chapters. His most recent books are ‘Great Gatsby and the Global South’ (2023, Cambridge University Press) with Diding Sakri and Arief Yusuf; the ‘Developer’s Dilemma’, edited with Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Kunal Sen, and Arief Yusuf (2022, Oxford University Press); ‘Deindustrialisation, Distribution and Development’ (2021, Oxford University Press); ‘Distribution and Development’ (2018, Oxford University Press); and ‘Global Poverty’ (2016, Oxford University Press). He is currently working on a new book on cross-disciplinary enquiry in Development Studies.

Professor Sumner has contributed expertise to various policy-related processes, such as the Select Committees of the House of Commons, the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and a Lancet Poverty Commission. He has been listed in the US magazine Foreign Policy’s ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers’, and in the Huffington Post’s ‘Most Influential Voices’.


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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Poverty
  • Inequality
  • Developing Countries
  • Southeast Asia
  • Indonesia


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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