Dr Joseph Hanlon

Senior lecturer, Development Policy & Practice


Technology Faculty, Open University

Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, England


+44 19 08 65 21 03                       


Joseph Hanlon is active in three areas of research:


Aid, debt and international financial institutions


Joseph Hanlon is developing the concept of “illegitimate debt”, which has now been accepted by the Norwegian government. This argues that lenders, not borrowers, are responsible for improper lending, for example to dictators. This work is summarised in a paper Lenders, not borrowers, are responsible for ‘illegitimate’ loans” in Third World Quarterly Vol.27(2)2006.

 “Defining Illegitimate Debt: When Should Creditors be Liable for Improper Loans?” was published as a chapter in Sovereign Debt at the Crossroads, ed Chris Jochnick & Fraser Preston, Oxford University Press, 2005.

A more detailed version of the argument is in the report “Defining Illegitimate Debt” produced for Norwegian Church Aid.

Wolfowitz, the World Bank, and Illegitimate Lending” was published in The Brown Journal of World Affairs in 2007.


Joseph Hanlon was policy advisor and economist for the Jubilee 2000 campaign to cancel poor country debt.

Debt research papers include:

“How much debt must be cancelled”, Journal of International Development, 12, 877-901 (2000) which looks at the amount of debt which must be cancelled to meet the Millennium Development Goals, and at historical precedents.

“We’ve been here before”, a look at past debt crises.

“Dictators and debt”


Other recent papers include:

“It is possible to just give money to the poor”, Development and Change, 35(2): 375-383 (2004)

This article was also published as a chapter in the book Catalysing Development? A Debate on Aid, by Jan Pronk et al, Malden (MA USA), Oxford, Carlton (Victoria, Australia): Blackwell, 2004

“Do donors promote corruption?: the case of Mozambique”, Third World Quarterly, 25(4) 747-763 (2004)




Joseph Hanlon has been writing about Mozambique since 1978, and

            is the editor of the Mozambique Political Process Bulletin

            The Bulletin is free. To subscribe, write to j.hanlon@open.ac.uk


The is a special web page Mozambique reports and documents with Joseph Hanlon's recent writings, as well as debates and background documents.


The most recent paper is the “Renewed Land Debate and the ‘Cargo Cult’ in Mozambique”, Journal of Southern African Studies, 30(3) 605-625 (2004)


He has written extensively on corruption in Mozambique, including:

“Mozambique’s Banking Crisis: Killing the goose that laid the Golden Eggs”, series published in Metical September 2001.

“Drugs are now Mozambique’s biggest business”, Metical, 28 June 2001

“Bank Corruption Becomes Site of Struggle in Mozambique”, Review of African Political Economy 91 53-72 (2002)


On the issue of cashew nuts: ‘Power without responsibility: the World Bank & Mozambican cashew nuts’ in Review of African Political Economy, (83) pp 29-45, 2000.


Books on Mozambique:

Mozambique and the Great Flood of 2000, with Frances Christie (James Currey, Oxford, 2001).

Guia Básico Sobre as Autárquias Locais (Ministério de Administração Estatal, Maputo, 1998)

Peace Without Profit: How the IMF Blocks Rebuilding in Mozambique  (James Currey, 1996), published in Portuguese as Paz sem beneficio (O Centro de Estudos Africanos da Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, 1997)

Mozambique: Who Calls the Shots (James Currey 1991)

Mozambique: the Revolution Under Fire (Zed 1984)



Civil wars


Joseph Hanlon is the principal author of a new course in the Global Development Management programme:

TU875 War, Intervention & Development. The first presentation began in November 2005

The textbook Civil Wars, Civil Peace, edited with Helen Yanacopulos, was published in 2005 by James Currey and the Open University..


A paper asking “Is the international community helping to recreate the pre-conditions for war in Sierra Leone?” was published in Round Table in September 2005 (94) pp 459-472.

A chapter challenging some of the views on Mozambique as a post-war success story has been published in the book Postconflict Development: Meeting New Challenges, Gerd Junne & Willemijn Verkoren, Lynne Rienner, 2005.



These pages are the personal responsibility of Joseph Hanlon. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the Open University. The University takes no responsibility for any material on these pages.