Remembering Stephan Klasen

With heavy hearts we announce the passing away of our colleague, mentor and friend, Prof. Stephan Klasen, due to a prolonged and serious illness at the age of 54. Stephan was born on June 18, 1966 in Trier, Germany and passed away on October 27, 2020 in Göttingen.

Stephan Klasen was a leading Development Economist, renowned for his pioneering work on gender inequality, poverty and economic development. In 1994, Stephan Klasen graduated from Harvard University, USA with a PhD in Economics under the supervision of Amartya Sen, Juliet Schor, and Jeffrey Williamson.

Stephan joined the University of Göttingen in September 2003 as a Professor of Economics. Over the years, Stephan built a large and diverse development economics research group and shaped the German development economics field. As first reviewer, he supervised 76 doctoral theses and numerous postdocs and published over 100 articles, 30 book chapters, and 8 books. Under his leadership, Göttingen became one of the main centers to do development research in Germany and in Europe.

Stephan Klasen was also the founding member and speaker of the Research Training Group (RTG) "Globalization and Development", funded by the German Research Foundation. His leadership, expertise, and collaborative nature were key in establishing the RTG, which started with its first cohort of PhD students in 2012 and continues to date with its third PhD cohort, as a result of successful extension in 2016.

Besides Stephan’s professional impact, he left an unprecedented influence on the lives of his colleagues and friends. He is widely recognized for his selfless support and dedication to many young scholars in the field. Even though Stephan was severely ill in his final years, he never ceased to offer support and mentorship to his students and colleagues.

To celebrate Stephan’s unmatched contributions to the economics of poverty, inequality and gender in low and middle income countries, the Faculty of Business and Economics, together with the Presidential Board of the University of Göttingen and the Faculty's Development Economics professorships, has established the Stephan Klasen Fellowship. With this award, the Faculty honours Stephan's great commitment to young researchers and to development economics in Göttingen as a whole. Following his commitment to promoting women in academia, at least one of the two fellowships in Stephan’s name will be awarded to a female candidate.

Stephan leaves behind a legacy that will live on in the numerous academics and researchers that he inspired in his professional and personal life. Stephan’s inspiring final lecture is available on video. The full text of the lecture can be downloaded here .

As a tribute to Prof. Stephan Klasen, we invite you to read the paper "The Multidimensional Stephan Klasen Exposure Index: Why Wonder Woman Should Become a Postdoc and Wear White Socks with Sandals".

You are also welcome to share your thoughts at the condolence page.