S. Kwaku Afesorgbor

Sylvanus brings a global perspective to his research and teaching, having worked and studied in many different countries. Following his undergraduate degree, he moved from Ghana to The Netherlands for his master’s degree,  Denmark for his Ph.D. and then to Italy for  his Postdoctoral studies. Sylvanus is keen to continue his research and teaching in the areas of international trade, political economy, globalization and development, impact evaluation and applied econometrics, food and development. Apart from his academic work, he consults on occasion for international organizations such as the African Development Bank and International Trade Centre.

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Personal Website

Academic History

  • Postdoctoral fellowship (Economics), Tuborg Research Centre for Globalization and Firms, Aarhus University, Denmark, 2016
  • Postdoctoral fellowship (Max Weber, Europe in the World), Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence, Italy, 2015
  • Ph.D. (Economics and Business),  Aarhus University, Denmark, 2015
  • M.A. (Economics of Development), Erasmus University, Netherlands; 2010
  • B.A. (Economics and Statistics), University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana, 2005


Affiliations and Partnership

  • Canadian Agricultural Economic Society(CAES)
  • American Economic Association (AEA)
  • Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA)
  • African Growth and Development Policy Modelling Consortium (AGRODEP)
  • Meta-Analysis of Economics Research Network (MAER-Net)

Awards and Honours

  • Second Best Research Paper at the UN African Economic Conference, Kigali, Rwanda (Dec, 2018)
  • Max Weber Post-doctoral grant of €32,400.00, European University Institute, Florence, Italy (2015-2016)
  • Professor Hans Opschoor Award for Best Master Thesis, Economics of Development, ISS, Erasmus University, Netherlands (2010)
  • PhD Fellowship grant by the Danish Government (2012-2015)
  • Master’s Degree Fellowship grant by Dutch government (2009-2010)

Associate Professor

ext. 53169
MCLN 325

Research Impact

Sylvanus’ research has focused on the effectiveness of regional trade agreements (RTAs) and how they can be crafted to effectively promote trade and development for member countries. This information is important as the number of RTAs increases among developing and developed countries. Sylvanus has also studied economic sanctions and how they affect various economic outcomes such as income inequality, food security, and trade. This knowledge is timely and relevant as we see an increase in the use of sanctions within foreign or diplomatic circles. Sylvanus has been interviewed about his research findings by many reputable international media such as the Washington Post, Globe and Mail, National Post, and Blomberg.

Graduate Student Information

Sylvanus believes that research should be both theoretically solid and policy-relevant. To that end, he encourages graduate students to address gaps in relevant areas of research, from both perspectives. He acknowledges that while doing excellent research is important, so is disseminating the results and communicating them in simple language. That way, the results can be used most effectively, for example to inform public policy. Sylvanus also wants to ensure his students have familiarity with internationally recognized and top-tier academic journals, attend international conferences, have experience writing economic reports and policy briefs, so they are well prepared for the next stage of their training or career.

Featured Publications

A. Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  1. Afesorgbor, S.K., Acquah, R.E., and Ayele, Y. (2022). Chinese import competition and gender labor market outcomes: Evidence from Ethiopian firm-level data, Journal of African Economies.
  2. Afesorgbor, S.K. and Demena, B. A. (2022). Trade openness and environmental emissions: Evidence from a meta-analysis. Environmental and Resource Economics, 81 (2), 287-321
  3. Afesorgbor, S.K. and Beaulieu, E. (2021). Role of international politics on agri-food trade: Evidence from US-Canada relations, Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 69(1), 27-35.
  4. Demena, B. A. and Afesorgbor, S.K. (2020). The effect of FDI on the environment. Evidence from a meta-analysis. Energy Policy, 138, 1-17.
  5. Sakyi, D. and Afesorgbor, S.K. (2019). The effect of trade facilitation on trade performance in Africa. Journal of African Trade, 6(1-2), 1-15.
  6. Afesorgbor, S.K. (2019). Regional integration, bilateral diplomacy and African trade: Evidence from Gravity model, African Development Review, 31(4), 492-505. (Adjudged the second-best paper at the African Economic Conference, 2018)
  7. Afesorgbor, S.K. (2019). The impact of economic sanctions on international trade: How do threatened sanctions compare with imposed sanctions? European Journal of Political Economy, 56,11-26.
  8. Afesorgbor, S.K. (2017). Regionalism in Africa: Genealogies, Institutions, and Trans-State Networks by Daniel C. Bach London: Routledge, 2015. Pp. 216. Book review, Journal of Modern African Studies, 55(3),511-512.
  9. Afesorgbor, S.K. (2017). Revisiting the effect of regional integration on African trade: Evidence from meta-analysis and gravity model, Journal of International Trade and Economic Development, 26 (2), 133-153. (Link to working paper)
  10. Afesorgbor, S.K. and Mahadevan, R. (2016). The impact of economic sanctions on income inequality of target states. World Development , 83, 1-11. (Link to working paper)
  11. Afesorgbor, S.K. and van Bergeijk, P. (2014). Measuring multi-membership in economic integration and its trade impact: A comparative study of ECOWAS and SADC. South African Journal of Economics, 82(4), 518-530.

B. Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

  1. Afesorgbor, S.K. (2022). Preferential market access, foreign aid, and economic development. In Trade and Investment in East Africa - Prospects, Challenges, and Pathways to Sustainability, pp.41-61, Springer
  2. Afesorgbor, S. K., van Bergeijk, P., and Demena, B. A. (2021) COVID-19 and the threat to globalization: An optimistic note (Forthcoming in COVID-19 and International Development, Springer 2021)
  3. Afesorgbor , S.K. (2021). Impact of economic sanctions on food security in targeted states. (Forthcoming in Research Handbook of Economic Sanctions, Edward Elgar, UK)
  4. Afesorgbor, S.K. (2018). Economic Diplomacy in Africa: The impact of Regional Integration versus Bilateral Diplomacy on Bilateral Trade. In Research Handbook of Economic Diplomacy. Peter van Bergeijk and Selwyn Moons (editors), Edward Elgar Publishing, UK.


C. Working Papers

  1. The effect of remittances on financial development. Evidence from a meta-analysis (with Amar Anwar)
  2. Aid, inequality and regime change revisited (with Christian Bjørnskov)