Jeroen Smits

Jeroen Smits is founder of the Global Data Lab and prime researcher within the lab. He is also professor of Economic and Human Development at Radboud University and chairman of, a website where researchers can review the scientific review process. Smits studied psychology and sociology and obtained a PhD in sociology in 1996. Before joining Radboud University, he worked at Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam and the Dutch National Institute of Health and the Environment (RIVM).

His major research interests are (all forms of) inequality, development, social cohesion, climate vulnerability, database building and the development of knowledge instruments. He published over 100 studies on social issues in low and middle income countries, including educational participation, child mortality, gender issues, human development, ethnic conflict, twin births and (reproductive) health.

Smits has a passion for database building and has created the Database Developing World (DDW), one of the world’s largest databases with household level information for low and middle income countries. On the basis of the DDW, Smits has developed a broad set of subnational development indicators for the global development community, including a sub-national version of the Human Development Index and the International Wealth Index, a widely used index for measuring the economic situation of households in poor countries. For his data and research work Smits has received the royal distinction of Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.