Khan Jahirul Islam


Phone: 250.807.9591

Research Summary

Applied Economics, Economic Development, Behavioural Economics, Public Policy, Economics of Corruption and Conflict.

Courses & Teaching

Microeconomics, Development Economics, Money and Banking, Managerial Economics, Labour Economics, Macroeconomics, Econometrics, Environmental Economics.


Dr. Khan Jahirul Islam has completed Ph.D. in Economics from the Department of Economics at the University of Manitoba. Khan started teaching as an instructor at the University of Manitoba in 2011 and the University of Winnipeg in 2013, before his appointment as a lecturer of economics at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus in August 2016. His major fields of research are Economic Development, Behavioral Economics, Public Policy, and Financial Inclusion. Khan has published a book chapter and scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals including the World Development and Journal of International Development.


Khan Islam’s Website


PhD, University of Manitoba
MA, Carleton University

Research Interests & Projects

My primary research interests are in Applied Economics and Economic Development with its policy applications. The core topics of my research include poverty and inequality, financial inclusion (payday loan, microcredit), household debt, sustainable development and growth. I employ both survey data and field experiments to study my research questions and find its policy implications both in the public and private sectors. While I focus on my research questions, I do not limit myself either in microeconomic or macroeconomic studies. My past and current research works include both applied microeconomics and macroeconomics.

Current research projects:

Project Title: Canada and the Asia Pacific Policy Project (CAPP) (September 2018 – present)
I am one of the research collaborators of this project which seeks to establish interdisciplinary-research collaboration between Thompson Rivers University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern British Columbia. This project has secured a fund of $20000$ so far including Tri-University, Tri-Agency Major Project Collaboration Grant from Thompson River University. I am working in the Sustainable Development team of this project.

Project Title: Intensive Care Unit for the Poor (ICUP) (2013 – present)

I have designed and implemented this pilot research project based on my empirical and theoretical knowledge of micro-finance. This project involves lending money to the poor households for production, education and health expenses. The purpose of this project is to build a better alternative to the existing microcredit model by reducing the cost of borrowing and by better incentive-designing. The study area for this ongoing experiment is the rural area in Bangladesh.

Project Title: The Credit Card Debt Puzzle: Evidence for Canada. (with Julien Picault at University of British Columbia). We have received internal research grant from University of British Columbia.

Simultaneous holding of low-interest assets and high-interest credit card debt is known as the credit card debt puzzle. This puzzle has been examined in the U.S and some other European countries. In Canada, 33.79 percent of households carry credit card balance and 91.4 percent of them have bank savings which indicates the existence of a very strong credit card debt puzzle. To the best of our knowledge, this puzzle has not been investigated using Canadian household survey data. We will examine this puzzle using the Canadian Financial Capability Survey, 2016, 2012 and 2005. While examining the puzzle we also aim to explore the characteristics of credit cardholders using a representative sample of the Canadian population.

Project Title: Debtor’s Paradise or Prison? Evidence for Canada

More than half of Canadians are feeling debt crush and only two hundred dollars or less away (per month) from being unable to repay their debt. On average households are paying about $15 for each $100 after-tax income to repay their debt. Therefore, in the poverty estimation household’s current income needs to be discounted by the debt payment because households are unable to use it for current consumption. Rising consumer debt with higher interest payment cause more income flowing from low-income households to high-income households because the richer lend money to the poorer. Moreover, the poorer households use a larger proportion of their income for debt repayment than that of the richer households which should increase inequality. Hence, we claim that both poverty and income inequality are underestimated in Canada because of ignoring the debt channel of poverty and inequality. The purpose of this project is to measure the impact of consumer debt on poverty, income inequality and on household vulnerability to poverty.

Selected Publications & Presentations

Islam, Khan Jahirul, Melanie O’Gorman. 2019. Microcredit contract design: A macroeconomic evaluation. World Development (Elsevier, Accepted 19 July 2019, Available online), doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.104634.

Islam, Khan Jahirul, Wayne Simpson. 2017. Payday lending and Micro credit: Two Faces of the Same Problem? Journal of International Development (John Wiley and Sons, Ltd) 30(4): 584-614. doi:10.1002/jid.3339.

Islam, Khan Jahirul. 2014. Does Microcredit Reduce Household Vulnerability to Poverty? Empirical Evidence from Bangladesh. Journal of Economics and Development Studies (American Research Institute for Policy Development) 2(2): 311-326.

M.A. Khan, M.F. Alam and Khan J. Islam. 2012. The Impact of Co-management on Household Income and Expenditure: An Empirical Analysis of Common Property Fishery Resource Management in Bangladesh. Journal of Ocean and Coastal Management (Elsevier) 65: 67-78. doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman. 2012.04.014.

Book Chapter

Simpson, Wayne, and Khan J. Islam. 2018. “A Statistical Profile of Payday Loan Clients from National Surveys.” In Canadian Payday Lending in a Global Context: A Mature Industry with Chronic Challenges, by Jerry,Buckland, Robinson, Chris, Spotton Visano, Brenda (Eds.), 41 – 64. Toronto: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-71213-0.

Revise and resubmit:

Microcredit Contracts, Repayment Schedules and Strategic Default, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, (with Pinaki Bose at University of Manitoba)

Other Work in Progress

Community-Based Natural Resource Management: An Effective Tool to Reduce Poverty and Inequality?  (Under review, with Akhtaruzzaman Khan at Bangladesh Agricultural University and Mahfuzul Haque at World Fish Center)

A New Era of Microfinance: The Digital Microcredit and It’s Impact on Poverty. (Under review, with Daniel Kandie at UBC)

The Quality of Institutions and Corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa. (with Compaore An-Noura at University of Toronto)


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