Mary Shirley

  • Discipline: Research Manager for Competition Policy and Regulation
  • Organization: World Bank


Mary Shirley is the Research Manager for Competition Policy and Regulation in the Development Research Group at the World Bank, and the President of the Ronald Coase Institue. She joined the Bank in 1980 as a country economist and has been a Senior Advisor, Chief of the Public Sector Management and Private Sector Development Division and Chief of the Finance and Private Sector Division. She worked extensively on reform and privatization of state-owned enterprises. Her recent research has focused on regulation of private investment in general and in infrastructure in particular, and reform of bureaucracy. Her work emphasizes problems of fostering competitive markets and effective government under conditions of weak institutions, poor information and divisive politics, drawing on new institutional economics to analyze problems of contracting.

Ms. Shirley has a B.A. from Occidental College and a Ph.D. in economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Prior to joining the Bank, she was a senior economist at the Organization of American States, a professor of economics at the Universidad de Bogotá in Bogotá, Colombia, and a researcher at MIT and the Harvard Economic Research Project. Ms. Shirley is a co-founder and board member of the International Society for New Institutional Economics, and President of the Ronald Coarse Institute.