Dr Sami Bensassi

Dr Sami Bensassi

Department of Management
Reader in Managerial Economics
Head of the Business, Economics and Policy Group

Dr Sami Bensassi joined Birmingham Business School in January 2013. He is currently a Reader in Trade and Development Economics. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Paris-Nanterre.

His research interests lie at the intersection of trade, development and institutions. His recent work has focused on trade informality, corruption and conflict zones.  Dr Sami Bensassi's research appears in leading academic journals including World Development, The Journal of Development Studies, The Journal of African Economies and the Review of International Economics. He has received research funding from FCDO, the European Union, the Economic Research Forum and the IFPRI, and collaborated with the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organisation. He has received the University of Birmingham Outstanding International Impact for his research on smuggling at Tunisian land borders,

Dr Sami Bensassi is member of the Centre for Crime, Justice and Policing.  For more information, see his personal website.


Université Toulouse I; B.A in Economics

Université Panthéon Sorbonne (Paris I); M.A – Development Economics, International Trade

Université Paris X Nanterre; PhD, Economics – thesis: “The development nd the organization of the logistic sector: A neo-institutional analysis.”


Sami has taught International Business, Development Economics and International Trade.


  • International Trade and International Security,
  • Smuggling/Informal trade,
  • Institutions and Development
  • Return Migration 


Recent publications


Asamane, EA, Quinn, L, Watson, SI, Lilford, RJ, Hemming, K, Sidibe, C, Rego, RT, Bensassi, S, Diarra, Y, Diop, S, Gautam, OP, Islam, MS, Jackson, L, Jolly, K, Kayentao, K, Koita, O, Manjang, B, Tebbs, S, Gale, N, Griffiths, PL, Cairncross, S, Toure, O & Manaseki-Holland, S 2023, 'Protocol for a parallel group, two-arm, superiority cluster randomised trial to evaluate a community-level complementary-food safety and hygiene and nutrition intervention in Mali: the MaaCiwara study (version 1.3; 10 November 2022)', Trials, vol. 24, no. 1, 68. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-022-06984-5

Bensassi, S & Jabbour, L 2021, 'Beyond experience and capital. Is there a return to return migration?', Journal of Development Studies, pp. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220388.2021.1988076

Siu, J, Jackson, LJ, Bensassi, S, Manjang, B & Manaseki-Holland, S 2021, 'Cost-effectiveness of a weaning food safety and hygiene programme in rural Gambia', Tropical Medicine and International Health, vol. 26, no. 12, pp. 1624-1633. https://doi.org/10.1111/tmi.13691

Arribas, I, Bensassi, S & Tortosa-Ausina, E 2020, 'Trade integration in the European Union: Openness, interconnectedness, and distance', North American Journal of Economics and Finance, vol. 52, 101167. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.najef.2020.101167

Bensassi, S & Jarreau, J 2019, 'Price discrimination in bribe payments: evidence from informal cross-border trade in West Africa', World Development, vol. 122, pp. 462-480. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.05.023

Bensassi, S, Jarreau, J & Mitaritonna, C 2018, 'Regional integration and informal trade in Africa: Evidence from Benin's borders', Journal of African Economies, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 89-118. https://doi.org/10.1093/jae/ejy016

Bensassi, S, Mohan, P & Strobl, E 2017, 'A Storm in a Teacup? Hurricanes and Sugar Prices in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century', Weather, Climate, and Society, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 753-768. https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-17-0015.1

Bensassi, S, Brockmeyer, A, Pellerin, M & Raballand, G 2017, 'Algeria–Mali trade: the normality of informality', Middle East Development Journal, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 161-183. https://doi.org/10.1080/17938120.2017.1353767

Bensassi, S, Stroeve, JC, Martínez-Zarzoso, I & Barrett, AP 2016, 'Melting ice, growing trade?', Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, vol. 4, 000107. https://doi.org/10.12952/journal.elementa.000107

Bensassi, S, Márquez-Ramos, L, Martínez-Zarzoso, I & Suárez-Burguet, C 2015, 'Relationship between logistics infrastructure and trade: Evidence from Spanish regional exports', Transportation Research. Part A: Policy & Practice: an international journal, vol. 72, pp. 47-61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2014.11.007

Ayadi, L, Benjamin, N, Bensassi, S & Raballand, G 2014, 'An Attempt to Estimating Informal Trade Across Tunisia’s Land Borders', Articulo, vol. 10. https://doi.org/10.4000/articulo.2549

Bensassi, S, Martinez-Zarzoso, I & Suárez, C 2014, 'The effect of maritime transport costs on the extensive and intensive margins: Evidence from the Europe-Asia trade', Maritime Economics and Logistics, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 276-297. https://doi.org/10.1057/mel.2014.3

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Bensassi, S & Siu, J 2021, Quantifying missing and hidden trade: an economic perspective. in M Gallien & F Weigand (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Smuggling. 1st Edition edn, Routledge International Handbooks, Routledge, pp. 61-76. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003043645-5


Watson, S, Asamane, E, Lilford, R, Hemming, K, Sidibe, C, Rego, R, Bensassi, S, Diarra, A, Gautam, OP, Islam, MS, Jackson, L, Jolly, K, Kayentao, K, Koita, O, Manjang, B, Tebbs, S, Griffiths, P, Cairncross, S, Toure, O & Manaseki-Holland, S 2021 'Protocol for a cluster randomised trial to evaluate a community-level complementary-food safety and hygiene and nutrition intervention in Mali: the MaaCiwara study' medRxiv, pp. 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.15.21267512

Working paper

Bensassi, S, Ayadi, L, Benjamin, N & Raballand, G 2013 'Estimating Informal Trade across Tunisia's Land Borders: Policy Research Working Paper 6731 (WPS6731)' The World Bank.

View all publications in research portal