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Dr Samuel Wills

Advance Awards Emerging Leader Category Finalist

Sam’s research has led to significant real-world impact. One example is the $1 trillion Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund increasing their equity mix, lowering their spending rule, and divesting stocks most exposed to the oil price, following recommendations from his work with Ton van den Bremer and Rick van der Ploeg. Another is convening the Rebuilding Macroeconomic Theory project with David Vines, inviting 18 leading macroeconomists to determine how to respond to the 2008 financial crisis. Contributors included two Nobel Prize-winners, and current/former Chief Economists of the IMF and Bank of England. Better yet, real-world impact can be seen in Sam’s development with Brock Smith of a new way to measure poverty: using satellites to count people living in darkness at night. This method is now freely available and received the 2018 prize for the best paper in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

Today, Dr Sam Wills holds external research positions at the Universities of Sydney, Oxford and ANU, and is an economist at a leading London hedge fund. Sam was previously an Assistant Professor/Lecturer in Economics at the University of Sydney, and an ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow at the University of Oxford. He has advised the World Bank on natural resource policy in Iraq, Libya and Uganda and has done work for worked with the IMF, the Bank of England, the International Growth Centre, the Australian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and McKinsey & Co. Sam completed a D.Phil in Economics (Oxford) in 2014 as a John Monash Scholar, receiving the David Walton prize for the top candidate in macroeconomics or finance. He also completed an M.Phil in Economics (Oxford) as a Commonwealth Scholar, and a B.Com in Actuarial Studies and Finance (UNSW) as a Co-Op Scholar, graduating with a High Distinction average, the University Medal and the Investec Prize for the top all-round student.