Erik Thorbecke is the H.E. Babcock Professor of Economics and Food Economics Emeritus and former Director of the Program on Comparative Economic Development at Cornell University. He is presently a Graduate School Professor. His past positions include chairman of the Department of Economics at Cornell, a professorship at Iowa State University, and associate assistant administrator for program policy at the Agency for International Development. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the University of Ghent in 1981. He has made contributions in the areas of economic and agricultural development, the measurement and analysis of poverty and malnutrition, the Social Accounting Matrix and general equilibrium modeling, and international economic policy.
The Foster-Greer-Thorbecke poverty measure (Econometrica, 1984) has been adopted as the standard poverty measure by the World Bank and practically all UN agencies and is used almost universally by researchers doing empirical work on poverty. A multidimensional variant of the F-G-T measure was recently adopted by the Mexican government and used to allocate inter-regionally federal government funds to educational, health and nutritional programs benefiting the poor. In recent years he has i) co-directed a large scale research project on "The Impact of Globalization on the World's Poor" under the auspices of the United Nations University's World Institute for Development Economics Research; ii) continued his research on multidimensional poverty.; and iii) undertaken research on inclusive growth in Africa and Asia.He is the author or co-author of more than twenty five books and over one hundred and fifty articles.