Imperial College London

Professor Colin Thirtle

Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Emeritus Professor



+44 (0)20 7594 9337c.thirtle




323City and Guilds BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Colin Thirtle is Professor of Agricultural Development Economics in the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London. He also has appointments as Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria and the University of Stellenbosch.  Until 2000 he was Professor of Agricultural Development Economics at the University of Reading, where he started in 1988 and was previously Reader and Lecturer.

His undergraduate degree is from the London School of Economics and he has post-graduate degrees from Southern Illinois University and Columbia University, where he taught before moving on to San Francisco and Manchester.  He has published several books including The Role of Supply and Demand in the Generation and Diffusion of Technical Change (with Vernon Ruttan), Productivity, Efficiency and Land Markets in South African Agriculture (with Johan van Zyl), South African Agriculture at the Crossroads: An Empirical Analysis of Efficiency, Technology and Productivity (with Johan van Zyl and Nick Vink) and over one hundred journal articles on agricultural R&D, technology and productivity. He is now working on an ESRC project on rural poverty reduction and GM crops in South Africa, agricultural R&D and productivity in the Western Cape and the impact of ozone pollution on UK agriculture.  



Piesse J, Schimmelpfennig D, Thirtle C, 2011, An error correction model of induced innovation in UK agriculture, Applied Economics, Vol:43, ISSN:0003-6846, Pages:4081-4094

Piesse J, Thirtle C, 2010, Agricultural R&D, technology and productivity, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences, Vol:365, ISSN:0962-8436, Pages:3035-3047

Kaliakatsou E, Bell JNB, Thirtle C, et al., 2010, The impact of tropospheric ozone pollution on trial plot winter wheat yields in Great Britain - An econometric approach, Environmental Pollution, Vol:158, ISSN:0269-7491, Pages:1948-1954

Mkhabela T, Piesse J, Thirtle C, et al., 2010, Modelling efficiency with farm-produced inputs: dairying in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Agrekon, Vol:49, ISSN:0303-1853, Pages:102-121

Conradie B, Piesse J, Thirtle C, 2009, District-level total factor productivity in agriculture: Western Cape Province, South Africa, 1952-2002, Agricultural Economics, Vol:40, ISSN:0169-5150, Pages:265-280

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