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Martin Wolf

Martin Wolf
Martin Wolf in 2011
Born 1946
Occupation Journalist
Citizenship British
Education University College School, Hampstead, London
Alma mater

Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Nuffield College, Oxford
Subject Economics
Spouse Alison Wolf

Martin Wolf, CBE (born 1946) is a British journalist, widely considered to be one of the world's most influential writers on economics. He is the associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times.


  • Early life 1
  • Education 2
  • Career 3
  • Awards and recognition 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Wolf was born in London, in 1946. His father Edmund was an Austrian Jewish playwright who escaped from Vienna to England before World War II.[1] In London, Edmund met Wolf's mother, a Dutch Jew who had lost nearly thirty close relatives in the Holocaust.[2] Wolf recalls that his background left him wary of political extremes and encouraged his interest in economics, as he felt economic policy mistakes were one of the root causes of WWII.[1] He was an active supporter of the Labour Party until the early 1970s.[2]


Wolf was educated at University College School, a day independent school for boys in Hampstead in north west London, and in 1967 entered Corpus Christi College at Oxford University for his undergraduate studies. He initially studied Classics before starting the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Course.[3] As a graduate student Wolf moved on to Nuffield College, also at Oxford, which he left with a master of philosophy degree in economics in 1971. Wolf has said that he never pursued a PhD, because he "didn't want to become an academic".[2]


In 1971, Wolf joined the World Bank's young professionals programme, becoming a senior economist in 1974. By the start of the eighties, Wolf was deeply disillusioned with the Bank's policies undertaken under the direction of Robert McNamara – the Bank had been strongly pushing for increased capital flows to developing countries, which had resulted in many of them suffering debt crises by the early 1980s. Seeing the results of misjudged intervention by global authorities and also influenced from the early 1970s by various works critical of government intervention, such as Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, Wolf shifted his views towards the right and the free market.[1][2] Wolf left the World Bank in 1981, to become Director of Studies at the Trade Policy Research Centre, in London. He joined the Financial Times in 1987, where he has been associate editor since 1990 and chief economics commentator since 1996. Up until the late 2000s, Wolf was an influential advocate of globalisation and the free market.

In addition to his journalism and participation in various international forums, Wolf had also attempted to influence opinion with his books; he has stated his 2004 book Why Globalization Works was intended to be a persuasive work rather than an academic study.[2] By 2008, Wolf had become disillusioned with theories promoting what he came to see as excessive reliance on the private sector. While remaining a pragmatist free of binding commitments to any one ideology, Wolf's views partially shifted away from free market thinking back to the Keynesian ideas he had been taught as a youth. He became one of the more influential drivers of the 2008–2009 Keynesian resurgence, where in late 2008 and early 2009 he used his platform on the Financial Times to advocate a massive fiscal and monetary response to the financial crisis of 2007–2010. According to Julia Loffe writing in 2009 for The New Republic, he was "arguably the most widely trusted pundit" of the crisis.[1] Wolf is a supporter of a land value tax.[4]

Between 2010 and 2011, Wolf served on the Independent Commission on Banking.

In 2012, Wolf stated in remarks for the Financial Times that public goods are building blocks of civilisation: security and safety, knowledge and science, a sustainable environment, trust, the Rechtsstaat, and economic and financial stability.[5]

Awards and recognition

Wolf was joint winner of the Wincott Foundation senior prize for excellence in financial journalism in both 1989 and 1997. He won the RTZ David Watt memorial prize in 1994. In 2000. Wolf was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire). He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by the University of Nottingham in 2006, and was made Doctor of Science (Economics) of University of London, honoris causa, by the London School of Economics in the same year.

Wolf is a regular participant in the annual Bilderberg meetings of politicians and bankers. He is visiting fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, a Special Professor at the University of Nottingham and an honorary fellow of the Oxford Institute for Economic Policy. He has been a forum fellow at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos since 1999.[6] Wolf has been named in the top 100 lists of global thinkers by Prospect[7] and by Foreign Policy magazine.[8]

Wolf is regarded as "staggeringly well connected" within elite financial circles.[1] His friends include leading financiers such as Mohamed A. El-Erian; politicians such as Manmohan Singh, Timothy Geithner and Ed Balls; many leading economists; central bankers such as Mervyn King: according to Wolf, he knows all significant central bankers.[1] Despite Wolf's close connections with the powerful, he is trusted for his independence and is known to criticise initiatives promoted by his friends when he considers it to be in the public's interests.[1] Wolf is widely regarded as one of the most influential economics journalists in the world. Lawrence H. Summers has called him "the world's preeminent financial journalist"[9] Mohamed A. El-Erian, former CEO of the world's largest bond investor, said Wolf is "by far, the most influential economic columnist out there".[1] Paul Krugman wrote of him that "Wolf doesn't even have a PhD. And that matters not at all; what he has is a keen sense of observation, a level head, and an open mind."[10]

Prospect magazine described him as "the Anglosphere's most influential finance journalist",[7] while economist Kenneth Rogoff has said, "He really is the premier financial and economics writer in the world".[1] In 2012, he received the Ischia International Journalism Award.


  • The Resistible Appeal of Fortress Europe (AEI Press 1994) ISBN 978-0-8447-3871-0
  • Why Globalization Works (Yale University Press 2004) ISBN 978-0-300-10252-9
  • Fixing Global Finance (The Johns Hopkins University Press 2008) ISBN 978-0-8018-9048-2
  • The Shifts and the Shocks: What We’ve Learned—and Have Still to Learn—from the Financial Crisis (Penguin Press 2014) ISBN 978-1594205446


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Julia Ioffe (16 September 2009). "Call of the Wolf".  
  2. ^ a b c d e "Martin Wolf – a biography of the chief economist commentator of the Financial Times and author of the book Why Globalization Works". 1 August 2004. Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Wolf, Martin (2009). Fixing Global Finance. Yale University Press. p. xi.  
  4. ^ Philippe Legrain (23 March 2010). "Tax the ground they walk on".  
  5. ^ (De Standaard)
  6. ^ "Wolf's info page on the FT".  
  7. ^ a b "Prospect's top 100 intellectuals 2009".  
  8. ^ "Foreign Policy Magazine's top 100 global thinkers 2011".  
  9. ^ "Fixing Global Finance with Martin Wolf".  
  10. ^ "Who To Listen To".  

External links

  • Wolf's column at the Financial Times
  • Video: UC Berkeley Events, Conversations with History – Martin Wolf, February 2009 on YouTube
  • Video: Oxford Law, Justice & Society Lecture, The Place of Britain in a Future Europe – Martin Wolf, October 2012
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