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Research in Economics

Our vibrant economics research community is made up of a diverse group of academics, visiting scholars, professor’s emeritus, and PhD researchers. OU economists conduct critical economic analysis from a range of theoretical and innovative methodological approaches that embrace interdisciplinarity in order to provide unique insights needed to meet the global challenges of achieving social and environmental justice.

As a group, we embrace pluralism in the field of economics and encourage constructive dialogue across a range of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches.

Academic staff in Economics have access to four main research group, including:

Open Political Economy Group (OPEG)
Concept of income inequality by stratum. Miniature people with a pile of coins.

The Open Political Economy Group was founded in 2014 and consists of members from the OU Business School, Economics, and Social Sciences. OPEG is a member of the London Political Economy Network. The group is led by Dr Andrew Trigg, Senior Lecturer in Economics at The Open University.

Innovation Knowledge and Development (IKD)
Container ship in port.

Most of our researchers in the Economics discipline are also active within the interdisciplinary research collaboration known as Innovation Knowledge and Development. IKD is a vibrant interfaculty research collaboration that has brought together academics from across the OU to pool expertise in order to undertake joint research since 2004.

Economics colleagues are also actively engaged with The Open University’s Strategic Research Area in International Development & Inclusive Innovation (IDII) and the Institute for Innovation Generation in the Life Sciences (Innogen).

Our areas of research

Our research expertise ranges from personal finance and the tax system to inequality, economic policy and political economy, with interests in growth, trade, health, happiness and innovation.

New to economics? Have a look at these 60-Second Adventures in Economics animations, available via the OpenLearn programme website.

How we work with others

OU Economics research is informed by a desire to conduct timely, real world, applied economic research aimed at informing innovative approaches to progressive policies.

OU Economists have extensive advisory experience in economic development, innovation and industrial policy, and public health. Colleagues are frequently invited to consult for a range of organizations that have recently included The International Labour Organization, UN Women, UNDP, The European Commission, The European Parliament, UNCTAD's Debt and Development Division, the Overseas Development Institute, Oxfam South Africa, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association.

Our researchers also engage in ongoing impactful research and advise a range of regulatory bodies including the Finance and Leasing Association Consumer Code Group, the Finance and Leasing Association Stakeholder Advisory Panel, the Open Banking Implementation Entity Consumer Forum and the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (PUFin) based in the OU Business School.

In addition, OU Economists engage regularly in knowledge exchange with policy makers, NGOs and the private sector via their membership of committees, taskforces and networks that include the Women’s Budget Group, the Finance and Leasing Association and the House of Commons Library Business and Transport Section, along with contributions to Parliamentary committees.

Our publications

Our academics are on the editorial boards of seven peer reviewed journals, including:

Adam Smith Review
Economic Issues
Economics and Philosophy
European Journal of the History of Economic Thought
Feminist Economics
Journal of Socio-Economics
International Journal of Economics
Radical Review of Political Economics
The Cambridge Journal of Economics

Recent publications by the team include:
Srivinas, S. and Kale, D. (2021) New approaches to learning and regulation in medical devices and diagnostics, The Open University
Lombardozzi, L., Copperman, J. and Auma, C.I. (2021) Food Poverty and urban struggles during COVID-19: the social reproduction of unequal London and the false narrative about the ‘pandemic-led crisis’, The Open University
Newman, S (2021) Marx on the Bourse: Coffee and the Intersecting/Integrated Circuits of Capital. In: Mezzadri, Alessandra ed. Marx in the Field. Anthem Frontiers of Global Political Economy and Development. London: Anthem.
Wangwe, S., Simonetti, R., Tibandebage, P., Mackintosh, M., Israel, C. and Mujinja, P.G.M. (2021) Upgrading under globalization in health-related industries in Tanzania: the case for dynamic industrial deepening. Innovation and Development (Early access).

Recent BBC collaborations

Academics in Economics have contributed to a wide range of Open University/BBC productions including

Academics in Economics also write for the national press on taxation, asset-based welfare and other topical issues. See a recent example from Professor Paul Anand.

Selected current projects

Innovation for Cancer Care in Africa (ICCA)
The Innovation for Cancer Care in Africa (ICCA) logo

Maureen Mackintosh, Professor of Economics at The Open University, currently leads a large ESRC-funded project, Innovation for Cancer Care in Africa (ICCA). ICCA is an East Africa-India-UK research collaboration led by The Open University, investigating ways to link innovation in the industrial and health sectors to improve access to cancer care in Kenya and Tanzania.

Find out more

You can find out more about what is going on in Economics by following us on Twitter. Latest news relating to research at the OU can be found on the main OU research news webpage. Discover our individual researchers and team of academics here.