Michael Walton

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy
Harvard Kennedy School
Office Address
Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 57
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 202-251-8702
Email: Michael_Walton@harvard.edu
Karen McCabe (617-496-7037)
Michael Walton


Michael Walton is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, Delhi. He was VKRV Rao Chair Professor, Institute of Social and Economic Change, Bangalore for 2008 and 2009.

From 1980-2004, he worked at the World Bank, including extended periods on Indonesia and Zimbabwe, adviser to two Chief Economists, Regional Chief Economist for East Asia and the Pacific (1995-97), Director for Poverty Reduction (1997-2000), Chief Economist for Human Development (1999-2000) and Adviser for Poverty and Human Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (2000-2004). He was part of the management group for World Development Report 2000/2001: Attacking Poverty, and played a central role in the design of the poverty reduction strategy process for low income countries. Prior to joining the World Bank, he worked for the Central Planning and Development Office for the Government of Lesotho, 1997-99.

He has been teaching at the Kennedy School since 2004, primarily in the MPA in International Development, and also in Executive Education on social enterprise. Since 2014 he has also worked with IMAGO Global Grassroots, a non-profit whose mission is to support grassroots organizations scale up, primarily with clients in India and Latin America, focusing on strategy, business plans, systems and impact assessment.

Major publications include: co-author of the World Bank's World Development Report 1990 on poverty; director of World Development Report 1995 on labor; co-editor of Culture and Public Action (Stanford University Press, 2004); co-author of Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean: Breaking with History? (World Bank, 2004); co-director of World Development Report 2005/06 on Equity and Development; and co-editor of No Growth without Equity?Inequality, Interests and Competition in Mexico. (Palgrave Macmillan and the World Bank, 2009).

Appointments for HKS students can be made via the following link



Michael Walton has a B.A. in Philosophy and Economics and an M.Phil. in Economics, both from Oxford University.




  • DEV-401Y Applications and Cases in International Development (spring)
  • DEV-250Y-C Second-Year Policy Analysis Seminar (spring)

Media Expertise

Michael Walton welcomes media inquiries on the following subjects:

Additional experts may be found by clicking on each subject listed. You may contact faculty directly or if you need assistance contact the Communications Office at 617-495-1115.


For a complete list of faculty citations from 2001 - present, please visit the HKS Faculty Research Connection.

Selected Publication Citations:

  • Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
    • Das, Veena, and Michael Walton. "Political Leadership and the Urban Poor." Current Anthropology 56 (October, 2015): S44-S54.
  • HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series
    • Banerjee, Abhijit, Rukmini Banerji, James Berry, Esther Duflo, Harini Kannan, Shobhini Mukerji, Marc Shotland, and Michael Walton. "From Proof of Concept to Scalable Policies: Challenges and Solutions, with an Application." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP16-057, September 2016.
    • Banerjee, Abhijit, Rukmini Banerji, James Berry, Esther Duflo, Harini Kannan, Shobhini Mukerji, Marc Shotland, and Michael Walton. "Mainstreaming an Effective Intervention: Evidence from Randomized Evaluations of “Teaching at the Right Level” in India." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP16-043, August 2016.
  • Research Papers/Reports
    • Heller, Patrick, Partha Mukhopadhyay, and Michael Walton. "Cabal City: Regime Theory and Indian Urbanization." June 2016.
    • Mukerji, Shobhini, and Michael Walton. "Learning the Right Lessons." India Infrastructure Report 2012: Private Sector in Education, April 2016.

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