Kate Roll

Kate Roll

Senior Research Fellow

Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


Kate Roll manages the Mutuality in Business Project.

Bringing a background in politics and international development, she is particularly interested in inclusive business and emergent, private sector approaches to poverty reduction and the role of technology therein. She also serves as a Lecturer in Politics, Somerville College, and Lecturer in Management, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford.

Kate’s current work as part of the Mutuality in Business Project focuses on corporate practices designed to improve the lives of those living in poverty, including the development of products, efforts to enhance productivity, and the creation of new routes to market. She has conducted field based research on ‘base of the pyramid’ route to market programmes in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Kenya. As part of this work, she is currently co-leading a randomised control trial on the impact of micro-financing contracts on entrepreneurial performance in Nairobi, Kenya.

Beyond her work on base of the pyramid development, Kate continues to research post-conflict transitions and is particularly interested in ‘economies of peace’ – the economic conditions and associated public policies that enable societies to rebuild following conflict. This work builds on her doctorate in Politics, University of Oxford, which examined the reintegration of former guerrillas in Timor-Leste.

In addition to her doctorate, Kate also holds an MPhil (distinction) in International Development Studies from the University of Oxford and a BA in International Relations (magna cum laude) from Brown University.


  • Base of the Pyramid Development
  • Business and Poverty
  • Technology for Impact
  • Economies of Peace
  • Post-Conflict Transitions


Kate’s current research focuses on two key areas: base of the pyramid development and post-conflict transitions.

Within her work on base of the pyramid development, Kate is particularly interested in the multiple forms of value that these programmes create and the participants’ experience of work. Too often participants’, particularly micro-distributors’, perspectives and the risks they face in their work are omitted in discussions of programme successes and challenges.

She also has a particular interest in qualitative methodologies, and she has written both on the interplay of qualitative and quantitative research as well as the challenges of qualitative research in complex environments.

Looking forward, a growing area of research interest is the role of new technologies in creating positive social and economic impact in areas of poverty and exclusion, as well as to map and understand patterns of unintended consequences. This new research stream complements her elective course, Technology for Impact.

View Kate's research.


Kate finds teaching one of the most important and stimulating aspects of being part of Oxford’s academic community.

Kate’s energetic and interactive teaching style has earned praise, including a nomination in 2018 for the Most Acclaimed Lecturer Award.

At the School, Kate has designed and led the Technology for Impact elective. She also has contributed to MBA courses on the Collaborative Economy and Rethinking Business, and for the last two years she has lead groups on the flagship Global Opportunities and Threats Oxford (GOTO) initiative.

In addition to her work with MBAs, she tutors undergraduates as a Lecturer in Management Studies, Lady Margaret Hall, and a Lecturer in Empirical Politics, Somerville College. She has also designed courses on Ethnic Conflict and Security, Technology and Development for visiting Stanford students.