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Professor John Knight Passed Away

31 January 2024

Professor John Knight, the founding Academic Director of the Oxford Chinese Economy Programme (OXCEP), passed away peacefully surrounded by all his children at the John Radcliffe Hospital on the evening of Wednesday 17 January 2024. The College flag was flown at half-mast for three days as a mark of respect.


John was a Tutorial Fellow in Economics for 39 years, from 1967 to 2006. He was hugely respected by colleagues, students and staff alike as an academic, teacher and leader. During his time on Governing Body, John took on a number of key roles including Finance Bursar and Vice Principal. He also inspired, initiated and led the Oxford Chinese Economy Programme at the Hall since 2013. In the Economics department, John was their first Head of Department in 2000 having previously been the Director of the Institute of Economics and Statistics. 


John was an internationally acclaimed academic in development economics, and during his career published 5 books, numerous book chapters and over 100 journal articles as well as serving as editor of leading journals.  Since his retirement, he has held visiting professorships at Peking University and Beijing Normal University in recognition of his ongoing research in crucial areas of the Chinese economy, including labour markets and inequality. Reflecting his longstanding interest in Africa, he was a co-founder of the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) in the Department of Economics.


John's funeral will be held at 2pm on Friday 9 February at the North Oxfordshire Crematorium, and afterwards there will be a wake to be held local to the Crematorium at Sturdys Castle. 


John’s online tribute page is His family is not inviting flowers but instead donations to ‘Prostate Cancer UK’. For those who may want to attend virtually, the streaming details for the service at 14:00 (GMT) on Friday 9 February, at North Oxford Chapel, run by A L Sole & Son Ltd are as below:


Username      nifo2304         

Password       862033          


Since John’s family is planning a Memorial Service at the College on a later date, the Symposium originally scheduled for 24 February has been postponed to the day after the Memorial Service, for so many of us who feel the loss keenly to come together to remember him and his life-time research work. The details will be announced on the OXCEP website in due course. 


Let us keep John’s family in our thoughts as they go through most difficult time. John will be missed tremendously by so many people at Oxford and across the globe. 

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