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Research in Economics

The Department fosters a strong research environment and has an international research reputation in various areas. 

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Our Research

The wide variety of research areas within our department include Behavioural and Experimental Economics; Labour, Education and Health Economics; Macroeconomics and Financial Markets; Political Economy and International Trade; and Industrial Organisation and Economic Theory.

We also host a modern experimental lab known as LExEL and the UK Housing Market Observatory, which provides real-time monitoring of the UK national and regional real estate markets. In addition to this, our active research seminar series contributes to our strong research culture.

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Research Areas

Research by our faculty members covers a variety of topics, organised into research groups. We attract substantial research funding from a range of sources, and our members have published their findings in several top academic journals.

Behavioural and Experimental Economics

Economics is being reinvigorated by increasing application of the experimental method to study economic decision making, and by behavioural models that embody departures from the benchmark of normative rationality. Our Department has made a significant investment in Experimental Economics, both in the recruitment of new faculty as well as in the creation of physical and institutional infrastructure for running experiments (LExEL).

The topics of this group’s research overlap with those of economic theory on one side, and extend into areas where controlled experiments are the primary research instrument. 

The former include auctions, game-theoretic solution concepts, Bayesian information processing, dynamic decision making, and the axioms underpinning economic theory of choice under risk and uncertainty, while the latter include other-regarding preferences, trust and norms, bounded rationality, and heuristics and biases. The group’s research also investigates long-standing puzzles and paradoxes of decision making. Virtually no empirical economic context remains that has not been the beneficiary of vibrant behavioural modeling and experimental investigation.

Members of this group have published in leading general and field journals such as the Journal of Economic Behavior and OrganizationJournal of Economic TheoryGames and Economic BehaviorPublic Choice, and Risk Analysis, and are regular active participants in the Economic Science Association.

The group would particularly welcome applications from well-qualified candidates interested in pursuing PhD study involving application of experimental investigation methods to Game Theory, Political and Public Economics, Behavioural Finance, and Decision Making Under Risk and Uncertainty.

 

Visit our Staff and Publications for further details.

Economics student

Industrial Organisation and Economic Theory

The Department has a long history in Industrial Organisation going back to its establishment by the founding members, Philip Andrews and Elizabeth Brunner, early editors of the Journal of Industrial Economics. Their work was later sustained and expanded under the leadership of Robert Rothschild and, currently, under Dakshina De Silva.

The research conducted by members of this group spans several areas of industrial organisation and economic theory. One stream focuses on auctions and how bidding behavior is affected by strategic interactions of firms and policy changes. Another area of expertise involves environmental economics with an emphasis on the design of environmental markets and the impacts of international environmental agreements, as well as projects related to renewable energy, toxic-release firm locations, and effects of natural hazards on regional economic issues. 

Several members share an interest in various aspects of game theory (e.g. evolutionary game theory, psychological game theory, game theoretical analysis of fair division with application to bankruptcy problems, game theoretic approach to understand how institutions shape individuals and strategies in political parties, game-theoretical agency models applied to voting behaviour and public finance decisions). Another line of research has considered the effects of knowledge spill-overs on high-tech firm start-ups, growth and survival, as well as trying to understand the mechanisms meant to promote research and development and innovation. Finally, various projects focus on decision making under risk and ambiguity (e.g. dynamic choice under ambiguity, formation and updating of subjective beliefs, strategic interaction under ambiguity and their application to public policy).

Members of this group have published in leading general economics, industrial organization, environmental, and regional science journals as such as American Economic ReviewReview of Economics and StatisticsEuropean Economic ReviewRAND Journal of EconomicsGames and Economic BehaviorJournal of Public EconomicsJournal of Economic TheoryJournal of Environmental Economics and ManagementJournal of Industrial Economics, and Regional Science and Urban Economics. Members of the group have also edited special issues for Applied Economics and Labour Economics on topics related to environmental policy and management and sports economics. They have also organized conferences and workshops on topics related to Art, and Auctions, Competition, Regulation, and Public Policy.

The group would particularly welcome applications from well-qualified candidates interested in pursuing PhD study in any of the following areas: Applied and Theoretical Industrial Organisation, Game Theory, Spatial Economics, Political and Public Economics.

Visit our Staff and Publications for further details.

Economics Theory

Labour, Education and Health Economics

This Department has a long-standing international reputation in Education, Labour and Health Economics. A range of contributions have been made in Education Economics to areas such as the returns to education, the role of competition in school performance and the efficiency of educational production. In addition, this group has published work on a range of wider issues in labour economics such as labour supply, performance related pay, migration and worker effort decisions.

Current research by this group focuses on a range of issues including cross-country evidence on school to work transitions, labour market performance in transition economies, executive compensation, and the economics of professional sports markets.

Recently, the group has diversified into health economics in collaboration with the Division of Health in the Medical School. This has led to a range of projects including the effect of winter fuel payments on elderly health (ESRC-Funded) and the effect of alcohol availability on a range of outcomes such as traffic accidents and workplace absenteeism. In addition, there are several ESRC CASE/MRC funded PhD students that are jointly supervised with DHR.

The group is involved in a range of editorial activity.  Geraint Johnes founded the journal Education Economics in 1993 and remained editor for 10 years, while Jill Johnes was Book Review editor over the same period. With the later work of Steve Bradley and Colin Green as successive editors it has become a leading journal in its field.  Ian Walker has served as Editor-in-Chief of Labour Economics, is a Fellow of the European Economic Association (EEA) and a member of the Executive of the European Association of Labour Economics (EALE). Rob Simmons has served as the President of the North American Association of Sports Economists and is current editor of International Journal of Sport Finance.  Colin Green and Giuseppe Migali organise the annual International Workshop on Applied of Economics of Education (IWAEE), while Green is associate editor at the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

The group is also actively involved with policy related to the labour market, most notably Geraint Johnes is currently the Director of The Work Foundation and is engaged with a variety of issues related to labour and government policy more broadly. 

The group would particularly welcome applications from well-qualified candidates interested in pursuing PhD study in any of the following areas: the Economics of Education, Labour Economics, Health Economics, Sports Economics and Personnel Economics. 

Visit our Staff and Publications for further details.

Economics Graduates

Macroeconomics and Financial Markets

Research by this group has produced significant advances in the application and development of time series econometrics, issues of monetary policy, financial markets, forecasting and high frequency data analysis.

The group of Macroeconomics and Financial Markets was created with the arrival of David Peel, who is in the top 2% of most highly-cited economists according to REPEC, in 2004. Its substantial growth over the last decade has been accompanied by a diversification in both theoretical and applied aspects of macroeconomics and financial economics. Their research has produced advances in the application of nonlinear time series models to parity conditions and modelling of exchange rates in the presence of commodity market frictions.

In the domain of time series econometrics their work has shed light on the effects of temporal aggregation on estimation methods and on the computation of IRFs; the impact of conditional heteroskedasticity on linearity tests and model specification procedures; the performance of forecast evaluation measures, and the modeling and forecasting of high frequency data in equity and foreign exchange markets. Members of the group are currently working on new tests for detecting rational bubbles in asset prices; applied Bayesian econometrics; and volatility modelling and forecasting.

Members of this research group support the UK Housing Market Observatory. This website provides real-time monitoring of the UK national and regional real estate markets and indicators of house price exuberance based on econometric methods. This information can be used to identify the time when exuberance escalates in housing markets and the degree of synchronisation across regions in the UK.

This research group has recently developed the macro theory capacity and has complemented the already existing interest in theoretical modeling of central banks with asymmetric preferences with advances in the analysis of optimal monetary and fiscal policy in New Keynesian models embodying limited asset market participation and habit persistence; as well as the macro-prudential roles of bank capital regulation and monetary policy in DSGE models with endogenous financial frictions.

Other topics that our colleagues have contributed to in the recent past include the estimation of stochastic frontier models; efficiency and productivity analysis, in particular, of the banking sector; the analysis of gambling markets, and the study of Hayek.

Members of this research group currently hold several editorial positions at the Applied Economics suite of journals, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Productivity Analysis, and Empirical Economics. In addition to this they have served as member of the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC) of the European Union, in the executive committee of the Society for Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics (SNDE), and the ESRC peer-review college. Marwan Izzeldin is the director of Gulf One Lancaster Centre for Economic Research (GOLCER).

The group would particularly welcome applications from well-qualified candidates interested in pursuing PhD study in any of the following areas: Analysis of gambling markets; Bubbles in asset prices; Forecasting daily stock volatility, Quantifying risk in Islamic financial instruments; Interaction between fiscal and monetary policy in DSGE models; Macro-prudential regulation and monetary policy; Analysis of high-order risk attitudes and portfolio choice.

Visit our Staff and Publications for further details.

Markets screen

Political Economy and International Trade

Theoretical and empirical research by this group has focused on political economy, international trade as well as related topics in development economics. Research on International trade and Development Economics has a long tradition in the Department with the work of Professors Balasubramanyam and Macbean. They have published widely on trade policy, foreign direct investment, technology transfer, and India and China’s economic policies and performance. More recently, research projects in this area have focused on (the political economy of) trade policies with reference to the regulatory role of the World Trade Organization and trade theories with elements of economic geography. 

Theoretical work on political economy has analysed issues related to fiscal federalism and the interplay between voting behaviour and public finance decisions, as well as investigations of how institutions shape individuals' and parties' strategies in different political contexts. On the boundary between political economy and development economics, members of this group also conduct research on the causes and consequences of conflicts and migration in developing countries and the role of political institutions in international conflicts.

Members of the group have published in leading general and field journals such as American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Journal of Political Science, Canadian Journal of Economics, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Economic Journal, European Economic Review, Journal of Economic Geography, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of the European Economics Association, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Public Choice, and World Development. They have also authored and edited several books, and secured funding for their research activities from multiple sources and have served as consultants to many international institutions (e.g. African Development Bank, FAO, OECD, World Bank).

After hosting two workshops in 2015 and 2016 members of the group are among the founding members of the UK wide network called PoleconUK.

The group would particularly welcome applications from well-qualified candidates interested in pursuing PhD study in any of the following areas: FDI in India’s retail sector, the impact of diaspora and FDI on economic development in India, a comparative analysis of FDI into African countries, empirical analysis on the causes and consequences of conflict, Evaluation of transport infrastructure for economic development, an analysis of electoral systems and voting behavior, an analysis of antidumping policies in developing countries, empirical analysis of political economy of trade policies.

Visit our Staff and Publications for further details.

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Lecture Series

Discover our notable lecture series, conferences, workshops and external seminars.

Esmée Fairbairn Lecture Series

The Esmée Fairbairn Lecture Series has been run by Lancaster's Department of Economics since 1981. It has attracted many eminent speakers from business, politics, think tanks, the media and academia. The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation was one of the earliest supporters of Lancaster University. The support of the Foundation was a vote of confidence by a respected charitable foundation, itself in its early days, to our new institution, and is remembered with great appreciation by a university now rated in the Top 10 of UK universities in all league tables.

The annual lecture has become a major date in the Lancaster University calendar, attracting large audiences with strong student representation.

Esmée Fairbairn lectures, 1981 – present

Date Speaker Topic
November 2016 Professor Stefan Dercon
Oxford University and UK Department for International Development
The Politics and Behavioural Economics of Expert Advice in Development Policy Making
November 2015 Professor Carol Propper
Imperial College Business School
Competition in Healthcare: And what we can learn from the UK? 
November 2014 Professor John Hey
University of York
What Experiments can tell us about Human Economic Behaviour
November 2013 Professor Martin Ravallion
Georgetown University, USA
The Idea of Antipoverty Policy
October 2012 Professor Ken Binmore CBE
University College London
An evolutionary theory of fairness
November 2011 Professor John Van Reenen
London School of Economcs
'Boss-onomics': does Management really matter?
November 2010 Professor Dieter Helm
University of Oxford
Climate change policy after Copenhagen
January 2009 Professor Tim Besley
London School of Economics
Policy Making in the Crisis
October 2008 Professor Steve Machin
University College London
Education and Inequality
October 2007 Professor David Blanchflower
Dartmouth College, USA
Fear, Unemployment and Migration
November 2006 Professor Andrew Oswald
University of Warwick
Happiness
December 2005 Professor Julian Le Grand
London School of Economics
Choice, Competition and Public Services
November 2004 Professor Nicholas Crafts
London School of Economics
The Economic Impact of ICT: a Perspective from the Age of Steam
November 2003 John Elkington
Chairman, SustainAbility
Sustainable Business: Useful or Dangerously Misleading Oxymoron?
November 2002  Professor Alison Wolf
Institute of Education, University of London
Education and Economic Growth: Some Modern Myths 
January 2002  Frances Cairncross, CBE
Chair, Economic and Social Research Council
The Economics of Drugs 
November 2000 Dr Derek Morris
Chairman, Competition Commission
Competition Policy and Regulation in the UK: a New Era
November 1999 Professor David Cannadine
Institute of Historical Research
Empire and Hierarchy in Modern Britain 
November 1998 Sir Alan Walters
Vice-Chairman, AIG Trading Group;
former Chief Economic Adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
UK Interest Rate Policy: in Pounds and Euros 
January 1998 Professor Ivor Crewe
Vice-Chancellor, University of Essex
How Bribable is the British Voter? 
January 1997 Professor CAE Goodhart
London School of Economics
The Nature of Money, and Fiscal Problems in the EU Monetary Union 
December 1995 Professor David Greenaway
University of Nottingham
EU + ERM ≠ EMU: So Why Have a Single Currency in Europe? 
December 1994 Professor the Lord Skidelsky
University of Warwick
The Legacy of Keynes 
January 1994 Professor the Lord Peston
Queen Mary and Westfield College, London
Problems of the Finance of Higher Education
November 1992 Dr Walter Eltis
Chief Economic Adviser, Board of Trade
The Financial Foundations of Industrial Success 
November 1991 Professor John Kay
London Business School
The Economics of Business
November 1990 Professor David Pearce
University College London
The Economic Challenge of Global Environmental Problems 
November 1989 The Rt. Hon. Lord Jenkins of Hillhead 
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer
The 1929 Wall Street Crash and its Effects on British Politics 
January 1989 Samuel Brittan
The Financial Times
The Government’s Economic Policy
December 1987 Sir Alan Peacock
Heriot-Watt University
Cultural Economics and the Finance of the Arts 
November 1985 Professor Jagdish Bhagwati
Columbia University, New York
Investing Abroad 
December 1984 Mary Goldring
Economist, writer and broadcaster
Post-Recession Britain 
December 1983 Alistair McIntyre
Deputy Secretary General, UN Conference on Trade and Development
Foreign Direct Investment in Developing Countries 
January 1983 Sir Arthur Knight
Former Chairman, National Enterprise Board
Ideas and Action in Industrial Strategy 
February 1982 Christopher Tugendhat
Vice-President, Commission of the European Communities
The Common Market and the National Economy 
February 1981 Dick Taverne, QC
Director-General of the Institute for Fiscal Studies
Tax Savings and Incentives 

Esmee Fairbairn

Seminar Series

This department arranges a weekly series of research seminars with external and internal speakers. We also organise a range of conferences and workshops on various themes.

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