Shahrukh Wani is an economist at the International Growth Centre (IGC) based at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. In this role, he supports evidence-based policy reforms in Africa and South Asia with a focus on public finance and urban governance. His work includes collaborations with policymakers in Afghanistan, Uganda, Pakistan, and Zambia on areas such as property taxation, fiscal and administrative decentralisation, and urban infrastructure provision. Along with direct work with policymakers, his work also supports the implementation of reform focused development projects.

Before joining the IGC, Shahrukh conducted economic analyses for ActionAid on Pakistan’s tax system, supported a statistical poverty measurement tool at the Grameen Foundation and the Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), and helped set up an accelerator program for social enterprises in Islamabad. Additionally, Shahrukh frequently contributes opinion pieces on economic policy to various newspapers and blogs, with a particular but not exclusive focus on Pakistan.

Shahrukh is a citizen of Pakistan and resides mainly in London presently. He studied at the University of London before receiving a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

He tweets @ShahrukWani and can be emailed at

Webpages: Profile on IGC | Profile on Oxford | articles

Lectures, Presentations, and Conferences

  • “Institutional fragmentation in urban governance.” Presentation. Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government and the Said Business School Joint Early Career Research Showcase. 3rd July 2019.
  • “Kabul: identity and legitimacy in a fragile context.” Panel chair and organizer. University of Oxford’s Challenges of Government Conference 2019. 31st October 2019 (video here).
  • “Financing Punjab’s cities: Land and property taxes workshop.” Speaker and workshop moderator. International Growth Center and Government of Punjab. 1st September 2019. (more)
  • “Taxing Land and Property for urban service delivery in Pakistan.” Speaker. Federal Board of Revenue. Lahore, Pakistan. 3rd March 2020. (presentation here).
  • “Why tax land and property?”. Invited lecture. Institute of Business Administration (IBA). Karachi, Pakistan. 5th Oct 2020. (presentation here, video here).
  • “Building authorising environments for fast-growing cities.” Invited presentation with Astrid Haas (IGC). Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s Infrastructure and Urban cadre CPD week. Dec 2020.

Policy Publications

  • Designed to succeed: Building authorising environments for fast-growing cities” with Sir Paul Collier (Oxford), Edward Glaeser (Harvard), Tony Venables (Oxford), and Astrid Haas (IGC). International Growth Center.
  • “Public-private partnerships in urban settings.” with with Sir Paul Collier (Oxford), Edward Glaeser (Harvard), Tony Venables (Oxford), and Priya Manwaring (IGC). International Growth Center.
  • Urban Property Taxes in Pakistan’s Punjab.” with Hina Shaikh (IGC) and Oliver Harman (IGC). International Growth Center.
  • “COVID-19 and taxes: Policies for the post-pandemic recovery.” with Anders Jensen (Harvard), Nick Wilkinson, Moussa Saab, Oliver Harman and Farria Naeem of IGC. International Growth Center.

Non-Pakistan Commentary

  1. NEW: Devolve more power to cities: they will need it more than ever. London School of Economics COVID19 blog. October 22nd, 2020. (with Astrid Haas, Policy Director IGC).
  2. What is stopping developing countries from taxing more?. International Growth Centre, 12th Aug 2020.
  3. Making policy decisions under uncertainty. International Growth Centre, 23 Jun 2020.. with Paul Collier (Oxford) and Vicky Delbridge (IGC).
  4. In defence of density. International Growth Centre. 3rd July 2020. with Solly Angel (NYU), Patrick Lamson-Hall (NYU), and Oliver Harman (IGC). (This led to a public panel by IGC-NYU, details here)
  5. Urbanisation in Fragile Societies: Thinking about Kabul. Urbanet. December 4th 2019.with Oliver Harman (IGC), Freshta Karim, and Shoaib Rahim (Kabul Municipality).
  6. Navigating the Urban Age. Oxford Government Review 4. 6th November 2019. with Oliver Harman (IGC).
  7. Getting the right institutions in place to run Africa’s cities efficiently, The Conversation Africa.(with Astrid Haas, Policy Director IGC) May 15, 2019
  8. Using Markets for Development? The Potential of Advanced Market Commitments, London School of Economics Blog. January 30th, 2018

Pakistan Commentary

  1. NEW: Landlords Inc. Dawn. November 24, 2020
  2. Why Pakistan’s new plan to fix the bureaucracy won’t work, Dawn, September 9th, 2020. with Sameen Mohsin (LUMS).
  3. Sugar and the making of a rentier economy, Express Tribune, May 8, 2020. with Adeel Malik (Oxford).
  4. Pakistan’s urban transition, DAWN, November 23, 2019
  5. So, what comes after the IMF?, DAWN, June 10, 2019
  6. Why Pakistan will go to the IMF again, and again and again, DAWN, October 16, 2018
  7. Imran Khan envisions a Pakistani welfare state. Is it possible?, DAWN, August 28, 2018
  8. Has Punjab just taken a step towards unlocking the potential of its cities?, DAWN, May 10, 2019
  9. How do you pay for a programme like PTI’s Ehsas?, DAWN, April 24, 2019
  10. Are insecure property rights holding back Pakistan’s economy?, DAWN, Jan 17, 2019
  11. Reforming Pakistan’s tax system: Evidence-based suggestions, International Growth Centre, 3rd Dec 2018.
  12. The Case of Culture of Learning for Pakistan, Alif Ailaan, May 28th, 2018.
  13. For too long, Pakistani schools have been a means to provide jobs, rather than education, The Guardian Tue 27 Jun 2017

In Media

  1. (Video, Urdu) Interview Dawn News’s primetime news program Newswise on Pakistan’s COVID19 response in June 2020.
  2. (Text, English) Interviewed by Arab News of Pakistan’s social spending push. 26 January 2020.
  3. (Text, Urdu) Interviewed by BBC’s Urdu service on Pakistan’s stock market stabilisation fund in June 2019.
  4. (Text, Urdu) Interviewed by BBC’s Urdu service on Imran Khan’s first year in office in August 2019.
  5. (Video, Urdu) On Dawn News’s primetime news program Newswise to talk about a new decentralisation law in Punjab. 10th of May, 2019 (video here)
  6. (Video, English) On Indus Special with Ejaz Haider to talk about urban governance in Pakistan. 16th May 2019. (video here)
  7. (Video, Urdu) On Dawn News’s current affairs talkshow, Zara Hut Kay, to talk about Pakistan’s agreement with the IMF. 13th of May, 2019. (video)
  8. (Text, English) Comments for Dawn on changes to the federal budget by the Pakistani government in Sep 2018.

Podcasts (Audio/Video)

  1. (Video, Urdu) Interview on taxation in Karachi and service delivery by Pakistonomy. (video here)
  2. (Video, English) Interviewed by World Bank – LUMS’s collaboration Pakistan at 100 on cities in Pakistan. (video here)
  3. (Audio, English) I had a conversation with Professor Jean-Paul Faguet of the London School of Economics on institutional change. (Soundcloud)
  4. (Audio, English) I and, my friend, Jovan talked to Professor Naila Kabeer of the London School of Economics. (Soundcloud)
  5. (Audio, English) I was interviewed as part of LSE South Asia Centre’s podcast on Cities in South Asia. (Soundcloud).

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