The Revolutionary Economist: The Life and Ideas of Kate Raworth

The Revolutionary Economist: The Life and Ideas of Kate Raworth

Kate Raworth is a British economist who has gained wide recognition for her revolutionary ideas on economics. Her work has challenged conventional economic theories and has influenced policy-making across the world. Her most notable publication, ‘Doughnut Economics’, presents a new economic model that offers a holistic and sustainable path towards economic development.

Early Life and Education

Kate Raworth was born in 1970 in Canterbury, England, to a family of artists and musicians. She grew up in Oxford, where she attended Headington School. Raworth went on to study politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

After her undergraduate degree, Raworth gained global exposure working for the United Nations. Her time at the UN inspired her to pursue a career in economics to engage with issues of poverty and inequality on a more fundamental level.

She then attended Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, where she received a master’s degree in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management.

Professional Career

Raworth began her professional career in the mid-1990s, working at the Shell Foundation, a non-profit organization that funds social and environmental projects. She became increasingly concerned about the limitations of orthodox economics in addressing persistent problems of inequality and ecological destruction.

In 2002, Raworth joined Oxfam, where she worked as a researcher and policy analyst. This was a critical point in her career as it gave her the opportunity to apply her economic knowledge to real-life issues.

Raworth would go on to work as a senior researcher at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford, where she was involved in several interdisciplinary research projects that focused on sustainability.

In 2013, Raworth published a research paper that gave rise to her groundbreaking concept of Doughnut Economics. Her concept advocates for an economic model that is both environmentally sustainable and socially just. She developed a visual representation of the Doughnut model, which consists of two concentric rings, the outer ring representing the ecological ceiling, and the inner one representing the social floor.

Raworth’s Doughnut model challenges the traditional economic model, which has failed to address environmental degradation and social inequalities. The model calls for policies that promote social inclusion and economic growth without exceeding the earth’s ecological balance.

Since the publication of Doughnut Economics, Raworth has become an influential economist, speaking at various conferences and advising governments and non-governmental organizations.

Major Contributions to Economics

Raworth’s work has played a significant role in changing the way economists and policymakers think about economics. Her influential concepts have become a staple in discussions around sustainable development.

Her theory of Doughnut Economics has been adopted by policymakers worldwide, including the United Nations, which cited it in its 2018 report on sustainable development goals. The concept has also been incorporated into several cities’ economic policies, such as Amsterdam, which became the first city to adopt the Doughnut model as a policy framework.

Raworth has also been involved in research projects that focus on sustainable urban development. She was a lead author in a research collaboration between the Amsterdam Municipality and the Circle Economy, which produced a report titled ‘Towards the Amsterdam City Doughnut,’ which lays out a roadmap for sustainable development in the city.

Awards and Honors

Kate Raworth has been recognized for her contributions to economics and sustainability with numerous awards and honors. In 2019, she was awarded the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award for Doughnut Economics.

In 2020, she was inducted as a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, recognizing her contribution to the creative sector. Raworth was also named one of the world’s top 50 thinkers by Prospect magazine in 2020.


Kate Raworth’s revolutionary ideas have shaken up conventional economics and set a new direction for sustainable economic development. Her Doughnut model has become a worldwide phenomenon, offering a fresh perspective on the handling of environmental and social crisis.

Raworth has inspired a generation of economists, policymakers, and people around the world to think creatively and critically about the role of economics in society. Her relentless pursuit of sustainable development has earned her international recognition, making her one of the most influential economists of our time.

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