Dr Jessica Sklair

BA, MA (São Paulo), PhD (Goldsmiths)

Fellow (B), Tutor

College Roles

  • Margaret Anstee Centre Research Fellow (B)
  • Assistant Tutor (Undergraduates)

University Roles

  • Teaching Associate, Centre of Latin American Studies
  • Undergraduate Supervisor, Department of Social Anthropology


Email: js222@cam.ac.uk


Dr Jessica Sklair is an anthropologist working on philanthropy and the changing role of the private sector in international development in Brazil and the UK.

Dr Sklair received her PhD in Anthropology from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2017 and held postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute of Latin American Studies (School of Advanced Study, University of London) and the University of Sussex (SeNSS/ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship) before joining the Margaret Anstee Centre at Newnham College in 2019. She has a Masters degree in Anthropology from the University of São Paulo, Brazil and a B.A. in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. Dr Sklair was an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Latin American Studies (University of London) from 2018-2021 and a convenor of the Development Studies Association Business and Development Study Group from 2019-2021. She is an Editor of Bristol University Press’s ‘Business, Finance and International Development’ book series and a Teaching Associate at the Cambridge Centre of Latin American Studies. Dr Sklair also supervises undergraduates in the Department of Social Anthropology.

Research Interests

Dr Sklair’s research spans three main areas: (i) elite philanthropy, philanthrocapitalism and ‘impact investing’ in Brazil; (ii) financialisation and the role of the private sector in international development, and (iii) wealth elites, inheritance and business succession processes in Brazil. Dr Sklair is currently working on two research projects. The first (led by PI Professor Emma Mawdsley, in collaboration with colleagues at the Universities of Cambridge, Sussex, Nottingham and East Anglia) is an ESRC-funded project exploring the UK government’s procurement of services from for-profit international development consultants and contractors in the spending of the ODA (Official Development Assistance) budget. The second (in partnership with Dr Farwa Sial at the European Network on Debt and Development and funded by the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at the Cambridge University Judge Business School) explores the adoption of innovative financing mechanisms by philanthropic foundations in the Middle East. In parallel, Dr Sklair is working on design of a further project (in partnership with colleagues at the Universidade Federal de São Carlos in Brazil) looking at processes of financialisation within Brazil’s development sector. Her recent book Brazilian Elites and their Philanthropy: Wealth at the Service of Development is published by Routledge in their Studies in Latin American Development Series.