Dr Christian Darko

Dr Christian Darko

Department of Management
Associate Professor in Labour and Development Economics

Contact details

Department of Management
Birmingham Business School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Christian Darko is an Associate Professor in Labour and Development Economics. Christian’s research mainly takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the process of human capital development and labour market outcomes particularly in developing countries. His primary research focuses on the education and employment of marginalised people with emphasis on inequalities including those relating to gender and poverty. Parts of his current research includes investigating and understanding; challenges to education among young children including the role of family background; health and wellbeing of young people; transition from school to work. Christian is also interested in firm level analysis and has pursued this interest in relation to the factors associated with firm performance and labour productivity.

Christian is stream lead for Gender barriers within and into work, under the Gender Equality theme of the Institute for Global Innovation; and is also co-lead for Labour Market Inequalities and Disadvantages stream of the Work Inclusivity Research Centre.


  • PhD, University of Birmingham
  • MSc. Business Economics and Finance, University of Surrey
  • B.A. Economics, KNUST, Ghana
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


  • Business Strategies in Emerging Economies (UG Final Year)
  • Economics & Economic Policy for Business (Distance Learning MBA/MSc)
  • MA/PhD Research Methods
  • Introduction to Economics (UG First Year, Major-Minor)
  • International Economics (UG Second Year, Major-Minor)


Research interests

Dr Darko’s specific areas of interest include:

  • Economics of education
  • Labour market outcomes
  • Education and skills mismatch
  • Transition from school-to-work
  • intergenerational transmission of inequality
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Firm performance and labour productivity

Current projects

2022 - : Co-Investigator on ESRC funded project “Exploring minority ethnic doctors' career transitions in medicine: a life course  approach”  (~£699,000), with Prof Jo Duberley, Dr Etlyn Kenny and Dr Dulini Fernando.

Previous projects

2018-2021: Principal Investigator - British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant “Transition from school to work: unravelling the mechanisms for employment in Ghana”, with Prof Fiona Carmichael.


Recent publications


Carmichael, F, Darko, C, Ercolani, M, Daley, P, Duberley, J, Schwanen, T & Wheatley, D 2024, 'Long hours of work and long commutes in the Greater Accra region of Ghana: Time Poverty and Gender', Feminist Economics.

Vendrell-Herrero, F, Gomes, E, Darko, C & Lehman, D 2024, 'When Do Firms Learn? Learning Before Versus After Exporting', Small Business Economics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-024-00898-z

Kanji, S, Carmichael, F, Darko, C, Egyei, R & Vasilakos, N 2023, 'The impact of early marriage on the life satisfaction, education and subjective health of young women in India: A longitudinal analysis', Journal of Development Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220388.2023.2284678

Carmichael, F, Darko, C, Daley, P, Duberley, J, Ercolani, M, Schwanen, T & Wheatley, D 2023, 'Time poverty and gender in urban sub-Saharan Africa: Long working days and long commutes in Ghana’s Greater Accra Metropolitan Area', Journal of International Development. https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.3817

Vendrell-Herrero, F, Darko, C, Gomes, E & Lehman, D 2022, 'Home market economic development as a moderator of the self-selection and learning-by-exporting effects', Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 53, no. 7, pp. 1519-1535. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-021-00481-8

Carmichael, F, Darko, C, Kanji, S & Vasilakos, N 2022, 'School closures and educational attainment in Ethiopia: can extra classes help children to catch up?', British Educational Research Journal, vol. 48, no. 4, pp. 640-664. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3787

Carmichael, F, Darko, C, Kanji, S & Vasilakos, N 2022, 'The contribution of girls' longer hours in unpaid work to gender gaps in early adult employment: evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam', Feminist Economics, vol. 2022, pp. 1-38. https://doi.org/10.1080/13545701.2022.2084559

Darko, C, Vanino, E & Occhiali, G 2021, 'The Chinese are here: import penetration and firm productivity in sub-Saharan Africa', Journal of Development Studies, vol. 57, no. 12, pp. 2112-2135. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220388.2021.1956468

Carmichael, F, Darko, C & Kanji, S 2021, 'Wage effects of educational mismatch and job search in Ghana and Kenya', Education Economics, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 359-378. https://doi.org/10.1080/09645292.2021.1900790

Carmichael, F, Darko, C & Vasilakos, N 2021, 'Well-being and employment of young people in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam Is work enough?', Development Policy Review. https://doi.org/10.1111/dpr.12565

Darko, C & Abrokwa, K 2020, 'Do you really need it? Educational mismatch and earnings in Ghana', Review of Development Economics, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 1365-1392. https://doi.org/10.1111/rode.12681

Darko, C & Carmichael, F 2020, 'Education of biological and fostered children in Ghana: the influence of relationships with the household head and household structure', Journal of International Development, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 487-504. https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.3465

Carmichael, F, Darko, C, Ercolani, M, Ozgen, C & Siebert, S 2020, 'Evidence on intergenerational income transmission using complete Dutch population data', Economics Letters, vol. 189, 108996. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2020.108996

Vendrell-Herrero, F, Darko, C & Vaillant, Y 2020, 'Firm productivity and government contracts: the moderating role of corruption', Socio-Economic Planning Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seps.2020.100899

Darko, C & Vasilakos, N 2020, 'Picking winners: an empirical analysis of the determinants of educational outcomes in India', British Educational Research Journal, vol. 46, no. 6, pp. 1445-1467. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3657

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