He was educated in Wellington, New Zealand, and Sussex University.
He is currently Professor of Political Economy and Development at the Department of International Development, London School of Economics. He has worked at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex from 1972–1995. On leave from IDS, he worked at the World Bank 1984-1988.
The Office of Technology Assessment (United States Congress) 1988.
Princeton University (Woodrow Wilson School) 1989-1990. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan School and Political Science) 1990-1991.
He was professor of political economy at Brown University (Watson Institute and Political Science) 1996-1999. He held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton 1992-1993, Russell Sage Foundation, New York 1997-1998, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin 2000-2001.
He has also worked at the World Bank, 1984–1988.
He has undertaken fieldwork in a range of countries including: Italy, India, of Korea, Taiwan and even Pitcairn Island. Robert Wade is author of many books and scholarly articles including:.