Our Economics discussion papers and research seminars cover a range of interests across the spectrum of economics, including studies in the following disciplines:


Professor David Cobham, Professor Jacques Melitz and Dr Atanas Christev have interests in monetary policy fiscal policy, exchange rate regimes, EMU, and gravity models of trade.

Professor Cobham publishes widely on monetary policy and policy frameworks, and is a leading member of the UK-wide Money, Macro and Finance (MMF) research group. In 2010 he was involved in organising a high-profile retrospective and reappraisal of two decades of inflation targeting.

The conference was hosted by Norges Bank in Oslo, and attracted participants from the Bank of International Settlements, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve and academe. A book based on the papers will be published in 2010: Twenty Years of Inflation Targeting: Lessons Learned and Future Prospects.

Professor Mélitz’s current research (with Dr Christev) uses the gravity model of international trade to investigate risk-sharing in the Euro area. He is also continuing his work on the extent to which, and the channels through which, fiscal policy is or is not stabilising. Dr Atanas Christev is also working on expectations, learning and stability in monetary policy models.

Industrial economics

Research includes the performance of regulated industries, particularly water, where Professor John Sawkins and Valerie Dickie are now working on affordability and the distributional impact of charging for water. Professor Sawkins and Dr Robbie Mochrie are working on the economics of religion and spatial autocorrelation in church activity in nineteenth century Scotland.

Professor Mark Schaffer is working with Professor Wendy Carlin (UCL) and Seabright (Toulouse) on the relationship between public infrastructure inputs and firm growth. A related paper by Professor Schaffer and Professor Carlin was used as a background paper for the World Bank’s retrospective on 20 years of transition.

Valerie Dickie is involved in research on the economics of education.

Dr Atanas Christev is also working on privatisation effects and adjustment costs of labour demand in transition countries with Professor John Earle (Upjohn Institute) and Dr David Brown (US Census Bureau).

Development economics

Dr Philippe LeMay-Boucher is working on insurance of different kinds in developing countries. Since poor people in developing countries face difficulties obtaining access to formal health care and must often, with qualified success, use informal ways of insuring themselves, this entails severe and negative consequences on their ability to manage risk, to smooth their consumption, and to build human capital. His work tries to identify the factors which are having a significant impact on the intake of insurance in a west-African context.

Professor Cobham has a longstanding interest in Middle Eastern economies. His Monetary Policy and Central Banking in the Middle East and North Africa (co-edited with Dibeh, Lebanese American University) was published in 2009, and a second volume, MENA Money, will be published in late 2010/2011.

Applied econometrics

Professor Mark Schaffer continues to develop his instrumental variables estimators and testing procedures for the software package Stata. These estimators and procedures have become standard tools used by applied economists around the world, especially in microeconometrics, with about 100,000 downloads world-wide since their introduction.