We mourn Professor Stephan Klasen

Professor Stephan Klasen died on 27 October 2020 following a long and serious illness. Stephan Klasen shaped and changed the German development economy like no other. He stood for research that is analytically precise and methodologically rigorous, without losing sight of the fact that development research needs an ethically sound compass and is particularly valuable if it makes evidence available for societal decision-making processes.

Stephan Klasen was also a great university teacher. The number of PhDs he supervised as a first reviewer (76!!) alone shows his commitment in this field, but also the way he always managed to inspire intellectually and provide sensitive individual supervision.

Many of his students today are leading figures in development research themselves. Stephan Klasen has also founded the Courant Research Centre „Poverty, Inequality and Growth in Developing Countries“, thus helping development research in Göttingen to achieve international renown. For years, he also played a decisive role in shaping the discussions in the most important German expert committee, the Development Economics Committee of the Verein für Socialpolitik. In this respect, one can justifiably speak of a „Göttingen School“ founded by Stephan Klasen.

The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) has also benefited greatly from Stephan Klasen’s work. Some of our senior researchers have completed their PhD with him while working at DIE, others joined us as Post-docs or cooperate with us in other forms today. They have all repeatedly expressed their gratitude and appreciation for Stephan Klasen’s competent and constructive supervision – and also for his modest manner without any professorial conceit. We also fondly remember an internal evaluation in which Stephan Klasen critically examined our research portfolio and provided inspiring impulses for further development.

Stephan Klasen will always remain a great role model for us.

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