Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
  • Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford
  • Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Visiting Professor, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University, Melbourne.
  • Member of the Transformations: Economy, Society and Place research cluster

Academic Profile

Professor Gordon L Clark DSc (Oxon) FBA is the Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment with cross-appointments in the Saïd Business School and the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University. He also holds a Professorial Fellowship at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He is, as well, Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Visiting Professor at Monash University's Faculty of Business and Economics (Melbourne) and a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. Previous academic appointments have been at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Law School (Senior Research Associate), the University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School and Monash University. Other honours include being Andrew Mellon Fellow at the US National Academy of Sciences and Visiting Scholar Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst at the University of Marburg.

He has held a number of senior administrative posts including Associate Dean (Finance, Graduate Studies) and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Monash University (Melbourne), Chair of the Faculty Board of Anthropology and Geography (Oxford), and most recently Director and Head of the Oxford University Centre for the Environment. Professor Clark has served on the Social Science Committee of the British Academy, has been an elected member of the Oxford University's Socially Responsible Investment Committee, is an employer-nominated trustee of the Oxford Staff Pension Scheme, is a consultant to MetallRente GmbH, is a Founding Governor of the UK Pension Policy Institute, is the External Advisor to Diageo's Executive Environmental Working Group, and serves on the advisory board of Arabesque. He was a consultant to the Swedish Government's Buffer-fund inquiry, and advised The Kay Review on Equity Markets and Long-Term Decision Making.

An economic geographer, he is interested in the responsibilities and behaviour of investors as regards long-term sustainable investment. This has involved research on institutions' proxy-voting behaviour, the strategies of corporate engagement given concerns about environmental liabilities and the sensitivity of firms to brand image and reputation, the regulation of corporate disclosure on issues related to environment and social responsibility, and the governance of investment institutions that have an explicit long-term mandate. His current research focuses upon the governance of investment decision-making in the context of market volatility and long-term obligations. In part, this project has developed in collaboration with Oxford colleagues and graduate students as well as the PRI, Mercer, the Telos Project, Towers Watson, and the project led by Professor Tessa Hebb at Carleton University (Ottawa) funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Related research is focused on the design and management of investment institutions including reference to insourcing, out-sourcing, and off-shoring activities and the demand and supply of financial services relevant to pension funds, endowments, and sovereign wealth funds. Papers on this topic have been published in the Journal of Economic Geography (2013), Environment and Planning A (2014), and Place, Territory and Governance (2014). With Adam Dixon and Ashby Monk, his monograph on the governance and legitimacy of sovereign wealth funds was published by Princeton University Press in 2013.

His research on household financial decision-making has focused on long-term saving utilising theories and methods from the behavioural and social sciences in the context of risk and uncertainty. Papers on this topic have been published in the Transactions IBG (2007), Ageing and Society (2008), Environment and Planning A (2009), Pensions: An International Journal (2009), the Journal of Economic Geography (2010) and Urban Studies (2011) supported, in part, by the ESRC, Mercer and Towers Wyatt. With Kendra Strauss and Janelle Knox-Hayes, he is co-author of Saving for Retirement (OUP, 2012). Recent related books include the co-edited Managing Financial Risks: From the Global to the Local (OUP 2009) (with Ashby Monk and Adam Dixon), and The Geography of Finance (OUP 2007) (with Dariusz Wójcik).

Current Research


MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy

Current Graduate Research Students

Pablo Astudillo-Estévez

Path dependence, reinforcement mechanisms and economic complexity in commodity-exporting countries

Pierre-Louis Choquet

A shared responsibility in the face of climate change: the case for "unburnable carbon"

Theodor Cojoianu

Environmental investment strategies across the investment value chain: addressing the investment gap in clean technologies - from asset owners to entrepreneurs

Yujie Gan

Tackling the Chinese Pension System: demographic transition, pension investment, and the financial regulation

Jennifer Gooden

Investing in nature: the premise and promise of private conservation

Elizabeth Harnett

The diffusion of responsible investment discourses and practices: the role and impact of investment consultants

Christopher Kaminker

The economic geography of institutional investment in clean energy infrastructure

Stephanie Mooij

What are the major obstacles facing corporations in the uproar of ESG and what can be done to fix that? Reporting fatigue and ambiguous expectations

Yukie Saito

Corporate engagement for sustainable business in development

Xuanyi Sheng

The governance and management of public-private partnerships bringing together stakeholders in the realization of complex engineering projects - One Belt One Road Initiative

Laura-Marie Töpfer

The role of institutional investors in equity market development and corporate governance: evidence from China

Michael Urban

US Public Pension funds internal capabilities: searching for an alternative financial culture

Recent Graduate Research Students (since 2006)

Irem Kok
Completed DPhil in 2016

Politics of transparency: contested spaces of corporate responsibility, science and regulation in shale gas projects of the UK and US

Yin Yang
Completed DPhil in 2016

The economic geography of urban water infrastructure investment and governance - a comparison of Beijing and London

Heather Hachigian
Completed DPhil in 2015

Governance frameworks for responsible investing: the case of sovereign sponsored funds.

Sarah-Jane Littleford
Completed DPhil in 2015

For the benefit of current and future generations: prospects for intergenerational equity in South Africa

Sarah McGill
Completed DPhil in 2015

The economic governance of global commodity markets

Dane Rook
Completed DPhil in 2015

Doxastic spaces: a new approach to relational beliefs and unstable neglect

Alex Money
Completed DPhil in 2014

Corporate water risk and return

Aisha Saad
Completed DPhil in 2014

Contesting corporate social responsibility: public challenges to the modern corporation in the 21st Century

Dorothee Franzen
Completed DPhil in 2013

Impact of regulation on the asset investment of defined benefit pension funds

Nicholas Howarth
Completed DPhil in 2012

An integrated theory of economic and political change: including four papers on the shift to a low carbon economy

Caitlin McElroy
Completed DPhil in 2012

Corporate social responsibility in the extractive and energy industries: effects on resource use and indigenous development

Rajiv Sharma
Completed DPhil in 2012

The role of private institutional investors in developing urban infrastructure assets

Jiazhe Sun
Completed DPhil in 2012

Climate change, sustainable power sources, and developing economies

Csaba Burger
Completed DPhil in 2011

Occupational pensions in Germany - an economic geography

Taylor Gray
Completed DPhil in 2011

A corporate geography of Canada: governance and networks

Claire Woods
Completed DPhil in 2011

Legal frameworks for sustainable investment

Eric Knight
Completed DPhil in 2010

The finance of climate change

Leng Lee
Completed DPhil in 2010

Rural-urban migration in China

Ville-Pekka Sorsa
Completed DPhil in 2010

Pension fund capitalism in Europe: institutional organisation and governance of investment in Finnish pension insurance companies

Adam Dixon
Completed DPhil in 2009

The geography of European financial integration and long-term asset management

Janelle Knox-Hayes
Completed DPhil in 2009

Constructing an international market for carbon trading: an institutional perspective.

Lisa Hagerman
Completed DPhil in 2008

Public pension fund investment in urban revitalization.

Ashby Monk
Completed DPhil in 2008

The burden of corporate pension liabilities in the emerging global economy.

Kendra Strauss
Completed DPhil in 2008

Choice, risk and the context of decision making in UK pensions.

Emiko Caerlewy-Smith
Completed DPhil in 2007

Investment decision-making: attitudes and actions of UK defined benefit pension fund trustees.

James Salo
Completed DPhil in 2006

Corporate environmental performance: governance, intangible assets, and financial markets.

Morag Torrance
Completed DPhil in 2006

The financialisation of the urban infrastructure landscape: unravelling financial flows into urban geographies.

Selected Publications

Publications are those that were listed on the old website. Publications database integration forthcoming.
Books (since 2001)
Papers and Articles (since 2008)

Recent papers with colleagues can be found at the Working Papers in Employment, Work and Finance website.