Student in the library

Research in Economics

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


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.

View our publications

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 behaviour 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

The Department has a long-standing interest, and an 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, members of 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: school choice, social mobility, the consequences of being bullied at school, cross-country evidence on school to work transitions, labour market performance in transition economies, and the economics of professional sports markets. The group has received extensive funding in recent years from ESRC, the Nuffield Trust, the Department for Education, and the Social Mobility Commission.

Current research by this group focuses on a range of issues including: school choice, social mobility, the consequences of being bullied at school, cross-country evidence on school to work transitions, labour market performance in transition economies, and the economics of professional sports markets. The group has received extensive funding in recent years from ESRC, the Nuffield Trust, the Department for Education, and the Social Mobility Commission.


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. With the later work of Steve Bradley as successive editor it has become a leading journal in its field.  Ian Walker has served as Editor-in-Chief of Labour Economics, and the IZA World of Labor; he is the Director of Education Economics Research at the IZA in Bonn, 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.  Giuseppe Migali co-organise the annual International Workshop on Applied of Economics of Education (IWAEE.)


The group is also actively involved with policy related to the labour market: Geraint Johnes was, until recently, the Director of The Work Foundation and is engaged with a variety of issues related to labour and government policy more broadly; and Ian Walker has been heavily engaged with policy surrounding higher education issues and was, until recently, a member of the Doctors and Dentists Remuneration Board.


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

The Macroeconomics and Financial Markets (MFM) research group includes 15 colleagues from the Economics Department who have contributed, over the past two decades, to the analysis of key economic issues such as stabilisation policies employing both conventional as well as unconventional policies, speculative dynamics in asset markets, efficiency of the banking sector, the behaviour of housing markets, financial connectedness and the impact of market microstructure.

These contributions by our group members have been theoretical, empirical as well as methodological. Their research studies have recently been published in top journals including Econometrica, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Monetary Economics, International Economic Review, Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Journal of International Economics, and European Economic Review.
The academic impact of our research is also illustrated by the international rankings and the academic awards received by our group members. For instance, David Peel is in the top 2% of the most highly-cited economists according to REPEC, and Tayler and Zilberman were the winners of the Bank of England competition to recognise outstanding research conducted on a specific One Bank Research Agenda topic. Furthermore, the MFM group actively fosters international cooperation as evidenced by a high-profile seminar series that runs throughout the academic year with international top speakers, the organisation of our annual international Workshop on Macroeconomic and Financial Time Series Analysis, and the PhD Summer School.
The research highlighted above has also been beneficial to non-academic stakeholders and has facilitated external engagement and knowledge exchange for our community. This is shown by the appointment of Mike Tsionas as a Board member of the Greek Fiscal Policy Council, as well as by the creation of the International Housing Observatory (in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas) and the UK Housing Observatory. These two Observatories provide a comprehensive set of publicly available indicators to monitor in real time risks and financial stability in the UK and international housing markets. In addition to this, a housing-market project was awarded an ESRC-CASE scholarship with the Bank of England as industry partner. Other initiatives that our members have developed in collaboration with the corporate sector include the creation of Gulf One Lab for Computational and Economic Research (GOLCER).

Visit our Staff and Publications for further details.

Markets screen

Political Economy, Development 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 behaviour, an analysis of antidumping policies in developing countries, empirical analysis of political economy of trade policies.

Visit our Staff and Publications for further details.


Conferences & Lectures

Discover our rich programme of conferences, workshops and lecture series.


The Department organises various conferences and workshops as a way to foster collaborations and dissemination of research findings. Building on the research strenghts of our members and core research areas, we host regular events in Auction and Competition, Education, Game Theory, Macroeconomics and Political Economy.

 An overview of the conferences and workshops delivered by the Department is shown below.


Conference on Auctions, Competition, Regulation, and Public Policy

May 28th and 29th 2020

The objective of the conference is to stimulate, in particular, applied research on auctions, competition, regulation, and public policy by bringing together researchers in the field.  Papers presented will focus on empirical, theoretical, and experimental research. View our 2019 programme.

International Workshop on Applied Economics of Education (IWAEE)


Co-organised by our Department and by Università Magna Graecia (Catanzaro), the 9th IWAEE conference will continue the tradition of providing a forum for discussion of various topics in applied economics of education. More details will be available in due course. Participants will have the opportunity to submit their paper to a special issue of the journal Education Economics.


Lancaster Game Theory Conference

November 1st and 2nd 2019

The 5th Lancaster Game Theory Conference aims to bring together game theorists in UK to present and discuss original research in the area and also to build up a network between them and Lancaster.  The conference will consist of plenary talks and contributed sessions, and will address all aspects of game theory, including its applications and experimental work. Please find here the call for papers.


Lancaster Workshop on Macroeconomic and Financial Time Series Analysis

June 6th and 7th 2019

The main theme of the workshop is macroeconomics and financial time series, and applications in economics/finance. The workshop aims to bring prominent senior and junior scholars together to disseminate recent advances, exchange ideas and discuss future research directions in a collegial atmosphere with a relatively small group size. The workshop is sponsored by the Society for Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics and the Centre for Financial Econometrics, Asset Markets and Macroeconomic Policy. View the last year programme.


Political Economy Workshop

After two successful editions of the Lancaster Workshop in Political Economy (see the 2015 Programme and 2016 Programme) the Deparment is now a founding member of the UK wide network called PoleconUK that aims to bring together researchers in (theoretical and empirical) political economy to present their current research projects in order to receive feedback and exchange ideas.



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 2018

Professor Paul De Grauwe
London School of Economics

Behavioural Macroeconomics. Towards a New Paradigm
November 2017

Professor Peter Neary
University of Oxford

From Ricardo to Brexit and Beyond
November 2016 Professor Stefan Dercon
University of Oxford 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
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

Andrews and Brunner Lecture Series

The Andrews and Brunner lecture series began with an inaugural lecture in 2019. This series commemorates PWS Andrews and Elizabeth Brunner, two leading figures who significantly contributed to the success of the Economics Department from 1967 to 1983. Both Andrews and Brunner supported the nascent University’s growing reputation in Economics. They are fondly remembered by former students who benefitted from their teaching.

Andrews and Brunner Lectures

Date Speaker Topic

Professor Vernon Smith

A Rehabilitation of Classical Economics: Lessons from Experiments

September 2019 (Inaugural lecture)

Professor Alvin Roth, Stanford University

Controversial Markets

Watch our video interview with Professor Alvin Roth.

Vernon Smith

PhD Conference and Summer School

The NWSSDTP Summer School is an intensive, one-week event that consists of a series of lectures and seminars/labs taught by world-leading academics. It provides an excellent opportunity for PhD students to further enhance their skills and knowledge in a specific area of economics/econometrics, and it facilitates interactions across PhD students, faculty and the course lecturers.

Every year in May, the Departments of Economics of the Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester organise the NWSSDTP PhD Conference in Economics. This two-day event consists of keynote speeches by prominent economists, presentations from final year students, a poster session, and a conference dinner. The location of the event rotates annually across the three-member institutions.

September 2018

Summer School on Applied Microeconomics

Sascha Becker, Ruben Durante, Hannes Mueller

May 2016 Conference

Professor Peter P. Wakker

Programme, Video
May 2013 Conference Professor Daniel S. Hamermesh Programme, Video

Seminars & Events

The Department runs a weekly series of external research seminars and several other events.