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Nicholas Jepson


Personal profile


I joined GDI in 2016 as a lecturer in globalisation and political economy before taking up my current fellowship in 2019. I previously taught at the universities of Leeds and Bristol.

I study the political-economic implications of the rise of China for the rest of the world.

My recent book In China's Wake (Columbia UP) examines how China-driven transformation of global commodity markets has affected state-society relations and created new spaces for development in natural resource exporting countries.

My current project focuses on China's growing role as a financier of development projects across the world via the Belt and Road Initiative. I look at what happens when governments struggle to repay their debts to China- and how China's emergence as a major creditor is changing and challenging systems of global financial governance. I will be starting a Leverhulme ECR fellowship in late 2020 which will continue to explore these areas.

I am interested in global-historical theories of capitalism and how these can help us understand contemporary processes of development at both national and global scales. I also have an interest in comparative/historical methods (including Qualitative Comparative Analysis).

I am leader of the Working Group on Financial Investments, Services and Speculation for CHERN (China in Europe Research Network), funded by the EU's Cooperation in Science and Technology Association (COST).

I have fieldwork experience in Ecuador, Zambia, Jamaica and South Africa and have been a visiting scholar at the universities of California at Santa Barbara and Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to the UK (Warwick, Bristol) I studied in Germany (Freiburg), India (JNU), South Africa (UKZN) and Argentina (UBA).



Research interests

  • The global political economy of the rise of China
  • The Belt and Road Initiative and its implications for debt sustainability and global financial governance
  • Commodity markets and natural resources
  • State-society relations
  • Historical capitalism and the temporality of development
  • Comparative and historical methods 


2015- PhD Global Political Economy- University of Bristol (UK)


Prizes and awards





I convene Global Political Economy (MGDI 60072)


I also teach on:

MGDI 60411 Development Fundamentals

MGDI 70982 Understanding Development Research

Supervision information

I welcome PhD supervision inquries on topics related to the global political economy of development. For example: China (Chinese capitalism, Belt and Road Initiative, development finance, China in Europe/Latin America/Africa), uneven temporal and spatial development, state-society relations, natural resources, global financial flows and governance.

PhD students:

Sam Stratford, Understanding how political settlements shape the decision-making processes behind the planning and construction of dams: lessons from Ethiopia and Uganda (co-supervised with Tom Lavers)


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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Global Development Institute


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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