Tim Harford

Timothy Douglas Harford OBE (born 1973) is an English economist, broadcaster and journalist who lives in Oxford.[4]

Tim Harford

Tim Harford in 2012.jpg
Born1973 (age 47–48)[1]
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma materBrasenose College, Oxford[2]
Known for"The Undercover Economist"[3]
More or Less
AwardsBastiat Prize

He is the author of four economics books[3][5][6][7] and writes his long-running Financial Times column, "The Undercover Economist", syndicated in Slate magazine, which reveals the economic ideas behind everyday experiences. His column in the Financial Times, "Since You Asked", ran between 2011 and 2014 and offered a sceptical look at the news of the week.[8]


Harford was educated at Aylesbury Grammar School and then at Brasenose College, Oxford. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, politics and economics[2] and later a Master of Philosophy in economics, in 1998.[1]


Harford joined the Financial Times in 2003 on a fellowship in commemoration of the business columnist Peter Martin. He continued to write his column after joining the International Finance Corporation in 2004, and he rejoined the Financial Times, as economics leader writer, in April 2006. He is also a member of the newspaper's editorial board.

Tim has spoken at TED, PopTech and the Sydney Opera House. He is a visiting fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford and an honorary fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.[9]

In August 2007, he presented a television series on the BBC, Trust Me, I'm an Economist.[citation needed] In October 2007, Harford replaced Andrew Dilnot on the BBC Radio 4 series More or Less. From November 2016, he presented an economic history documentary radio and podcast series 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy. Since November 2019, he has been presenting the podcast series Cautionary Tales. On the 13th of November 2020 he started a new podcast series on COVID-19 Vaccination called How to Vaccinate the World.[10]

He is a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.[11]


  • More or Less won the Royal Statistical Society's 2010 award for statistical excellence in broadcast journalism.[12] In 2017 Harford was made an Honorary Fellow of the society.[13]
  • More or Less won Mensa's award for promoting intelligence in public life.[14]
  • Harford was awarded the Bastiat Prize for economic journalism in 2007 (shared with Jamie Whyte).[15] In 2010 he again drew with Whyte, in second place.
  • He was awarded the OBE in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to Improving Economic Understanding [16]


  • The Market for Aid (2005) with Michael Klein, ISBN 978-0-8213-6229-7
  • The Undercover Economist (2005), ISBN 978-0-345-49401-6
  • The Logic of Life (2008), ISBN 978-0-8129-7787-5
  • Dear Undercover Economist: Priceless Advice on Money, Work, Sex, Kids, and Life's Other Challenges (2009). New York, Random House. 2009. ISBN 978-0-8129-8010-3
  • Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure (2011). New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-10096-4
  • The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run—or Ruin—an Economy (2014). Penguin Riverhead Books (USA). ISBN 978-1594631405
  • Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives (2016). Riverhead Books. ISBN 978-1594634796
  • Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy (2017). Little, Brown. ISBN 978-1408709115
  • The Next Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy (2020). The Bridge Street Press. ISBN 978-1408712665
  • How to Make the World Add Up (2020). Little, Brown. ISBN 978-1408712245


  1. ^ a b Harford, Tim (1998). Sequential auctions with financially constrained bidders (MPhil thesis). University of Oxford.
  2. ^ a b Sale, Jonathan (3 August 2006). "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Tim Harford, writer and economist". The Independent. London.
  3. ^ a b Tim Harford (2007). The Undercover Economist. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 0-349-11985-6.
  4. ^ "Tim Harford - The Undercover Economist - Biography". Tim Harford - The Undercover Economist. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  5. ^ Tim Harford (2012). Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure. Tim Harford. Abacus Software. ISBN 0-349-12151-6.
  6. ^ Tim Harford; Klein, Michael (2005). The market for aid. Washington, D.C: International Finance Corporation. ISBN 0-8213-6228-3.
  7. ^ Tim Harford (2009). The Logic of Life: The Undercover Economist. London: Abacus. ISBN 0-349-12041-2.
  8. ^ "Since You Asked". Tim Harford. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  9. ^ Chiappella, Wolf (17 November 2007). "Biography". Tim Harford. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  10. ^ "How to vaccinate the world". Archived from the original on 25 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Mr Tim Harford, Visiting Fellow, Nuffield College, Oxford". Archived from the original on 29 January 2015.
  12. ^ Royal Statistical Society awards Archived 21 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 5 June 2010
  13. ^ "RSS announces honours for 2017". Royal Statistical Society. 21 February 2017. Archived from the original on 4 August 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  14. ^ More or Less Honoured Archived 29 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 5 June 2010
  15. ^ Fifth Annual Bastiat Prize awarded jointly to Tim Harford and Jamie Whyte Archived 27 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 5 June 2010
  16. ^ "New Year Honours list 2019" (PDF). UK Government. 31 December 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.

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