Faculty Associates

Gilles-Carbonnier 100x150.png  
Gilles Carbonnier
Contact: Email:  gilles.carbonnier (at) graduateinstitute.ch
Phone: +41 (0)22 908 45 06

Gilles Carbonnier is Professor of Development Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies since February 2007. He obtained his PhD in Economics from the University of Neuchâtel.

As of 2018, he is Vice-President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He served as editor-in-chief of International Development Policy from 2008 to 2017, and President of the board of directors of CERAH, the Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action, between 2011 and 2018. His research and publications focus on the economics of war and disaster and the political economy of humanitarian and development assistance. He also specialized on the energy-development nexus with a focus on commodity trade.

Gilles Carbonnier has over 20 years of professional experience in international trade, development cooperation and humanitarian action:

  • From 1989 to 1991, Gilles Carbonnier was a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Iraq, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and El Salvador. He joined the ICRC again from 1999 to 2006 as the Organization’s economic adviser and head of private-sector relations, which involved fieldwork in places like Colombia, Indonesia, the Balkans, Western and Central Africa and the Palestinian Territories.

  • Between 1992 and 1996, he was in charge of international development cooperation programmes and multilateral trade negotiations with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and has been advising Vietnam on its accession to the WTO between 1996 and 1999.

Gilles Carbonnier sits in the Federal Commission for International Development Cooperation since 2008. He served as Vice-President of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes between 2011 and 2017, and was a board member of Doctors without Borders (MSF-Switzerland) between 2008 and 2012. He used to advise investment funds over sustainability and human rights issues.

Field(s) of Interest
  • Energy, Natural resources, extractive economies, commodities
  • Armed conflicts, violence (Political economy of armed conflicts and post-war transitions)
  • Corporate responsibility, public-private partnerships
  • Development, cooperation and aid policies
  • Humanitarian action, intervention
  • Multilateral diplomacy and international negotiation, soft governance
Recent Publications:


  • Carbonnier, Gilles (2016), Humanitarian Economics - War, Disaster, and the Global Aid Market. London & New York: Hurst & Oxford University Press, 309 p.

Edited Volumes

  • International Development Policy / Revue internationale de politique de développement (London : Palgrave Macmillan (until 2014). Boston: Brill Nijhoff (2015-).
  • 2017: Alternative Pathways to Sustainable Development: What can We Learn from Latin-America?
  • 2017: Development as a Battlefield – Focus on the MENA Region
  • 2016: Combining Economic and Political Development – The MENA Experience
  • 2015: Large-Scale Land Acquisition – Southeast Asia
  • 2014: Education, Training, Learning – Critical Issues for Development
  • 2013: Religion and Development
  • 2012: Aid, Emerging Economies and Global Policies
  • 2011: Energy and Development
  • 2010: Africa – 50 Years of Independence


  • Mönks, Joost, Gilles Carbonnier, Aude Mellet and Leo de Haan (2017), ‘Towards a Renewed Vision of Development Studies’, International Development Policy | Revue internationale de politique de développement [Online], 8.1.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles and Natascha Wagner (2015), ‘Resource Dependence and Armed Violence: Impact on Sustainability in Developing Countries’, Defence and Peace Economics 26 (1): 115-132.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles (2015), ‘Reason, Emotion, Compassion: Can Altruism Survive Professionalisation in the Humanitarian Sector? Disasters 39 (2): 189-207. Carbonnier, Gilles & Tiina Kontinen (2015), ‘Institutional Learning in North-South Research Partnerships’, Revue Tiers-Monde 221 (2): 149-162.
  • Arbia, Ali & Gilles Carbonnier (2014), Human nature and development aid: IR and the biology of altruism, Journal of International Relations and Development, August 2014.
  • Andonova, Liliana & Gilles Carbonnier (2014), Business-Humanitarian Partnerships: Processes of Normative Legitimation, Globalizations (11) 3: 349-367.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles & Scott Jerbi (2013), Strengthening Governance in Fragile States: Why and How Should Extractive Industries Get Involved? Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence, No. 5.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles & Elizabeth Jimenez (2013), Can Lithium Energize Sustainable Development in Bolivia ? Institutional and Policy Challenges. Jounal of Environmental Science and Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 10.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles (2013). Reconsidering the secular as the Norm, International Development Policy No. 4, pp. 7-12.
  • ____ (2013). La malédiction des ressources naturelles et ses antidotes. Revue internationale et stratégique, No. 91. pp. 38-48.
  • ____ (2012). Repenser la cooperation internationale face aux mutations du monde en développement. Techniques financières, No. 109, pp. 27-35.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles and Andy Sumner (2012), Reframing Aid in a World Where the Poor live in Emerging Economies. International Development Policy No. 3, pp. 9-26.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles, Fritz Brugger & Jana Krause (2011), Assessing Policy Responses to the Resource Curse: Can Civil Society live up to the expectations? Global Governance, 17 (2): 247-264.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles (2010), Extractive Industries in Fragile States and the Role of Market Incentives and Regulation, The Economics of Peace and Security Journal, 5 (2), 2010: 30-37.
  • ____ (2010), Security Management and the Political Economy of War, Humanitarian Exchange No. 47, pp. 18-21.
  • ____ (2006) Privatisation & outsourcing in wartime: the humanitarian challenges, Disasters 30 (4): 402-416.
  • ____ (2003), Undoing War Economies: A Prerequisite for Peace? Refugee Survey Quarterly, 22 (4): 165-77.
  • ____ (2003), Economie et conflit armé: vers une responsabilité humanitaire de l'entreprise, Géoéconomie, No. 26, pp. 9-36.
  • ____ (2002), The Competing Agendas of Economic Reform and Peace Process: A Politico-Economic Model Applied to Guatemala, World Development, 30 (8): 1323-39.
  • ____ (2002), Corporate Responsibility and Humanitarian Action: What relations between the business and humanitarian worlds? International Review of the Red Cross. No. 844. pp. 947-968.

Book chapters

  • Carbonnier, Gilles and Piedra Lightfoot (2016), ’Business in Humanitarian Crises: For Better or for Worse?’ in Sezgin, Zeynep and Dennis Dijkzeul, The New Humanitarians in International Practice. Emerging Actors and Contested Principles, London: Routledge, pp. 169-191.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles (2015), ‘The Rise of Disaster Risk Insurance and Derivatives’, in Brassard, C. Giles, D and A. Howitt (Eds), Natural Disaster Management in the Asia-Pacific, Tokyo: Springer, pp. 175-188.
  • Andonova, Liliana and Gilles Carbonnier (2015), ‘Business-Humanitarian Partnerships : Processes of Normative Legitimation’, in Bexell, Magdalena (Ed.), Global Governance, Legitimacy and Legitimation. London: Routledge.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles (2013), Humanitarian and Development Aid in the Context of Stabilization: Blurring the Lines and Broadening the Gap, in Muggah, R. (Ed.), Stabilization Operations, Security and Development – States of Fragility. New York: Routledge, pp. 35-55.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles & Achim Wennmann (2013), Natural Resource Governance and Hybrid Political Orders, in Chandler, D. & T. Sisk (eds) Routledge Handbook of International Statebuilding. New York: Routledge, pp. 208-218.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles & Fritz Brugger (2013), The Development Nexus of Global Energy, in Goldthau, A. (Ed.) The Handbook of Global Energy Policy. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 64-79.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles & Sijbren de Jong (2012), The Global Governance of Energy and Development, in Ziccardi Capaldo, G. (Ed.) The Global Community YILJ 2011. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 41-68.
  • Carbonnier, Gilles (2009). Private Sector, in Vincent Chetail (Ed.) Post-conflict Peacebuilding: a Lexicon. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 245-255.

Research Papers

  • Oil, Gas and Minerals: The Impact of Resource-Dependence and Governance on Sustainable Development, with N. Wagner and F. Brugger, CCDP Working Paper No. 8. September 2011, Geneva: The Graduate Institute.
  • Asian and African Development Trajectories: Revisiting Facts and Figures, with P. Chakraborky and E. Dalla Mulle. Working Paper 1, International Development Policy. Geneva: IHEID. 14 December 2010.
  • Les effets économiques de l’aide publique au développement en Suisse, avec M. Zarin-Nejadan, Institute of Economic Research Working papers, No. 09-01, University of Neuchâtel, 2009.

To learn more about Gilles Carbonnier, please read his CV.