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Applied Economics and Policy Analysis

Unit(s) of assessment: Business and Management Studies

School: Nottingham Business School


Applied Economics and Policy Analysis (AEPA) brings together the economists within CEPPM, along with colleagues from across NTU who share areas of research interest, and underlying research methods. The researchers in AEPA are grouped into four clusters, to give focus whilst retaining critical mass, although a number of research projects are cross-cutting:

The Macro, Money and Finance cluster brings together researchers with a range of interests and expertise, from the classical political economy of schools of economic thought to DSGE modelling, via stock markets, portfolio management and banking. In addition, Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams is also Director of two Research Units – the Betting Research Unit and the Political Forecasting Unit.

Global Economic Development brings together researchers whose interests embrace a range of inter-related regional, international and global themes. These include international trade, FDI, finance for development, labour markets and economic growth.

Economics and Society brings together researchers whose interests focus on social and socio-economic factors. Complementing the Global Economic Development cluster, much of this research has a national or local focus. Issues addressed include local economic development (including local labour markets), wellbeing, suicide, gender, education, housing and crime. This cluster also embraces an emerging strand of theoretical research.

Those working on Energy, Environment and Resources bring a range of interests and methods, from theoretical and quantitative perspectives, to qualitative policy analysis. Current projects include researching fossil-fuel (especially oil) and renewable energy markets, sustainable mobility and a range of hard and soft non-oil commodity markets.

There is also a strong commitment to research-informed teaching, with many members drawing directly on their research activities in the classroom. Professor Rob Ackrill, a National Teaching Fellow, is involved internally and externally, principally via the Higher Education Academy, with activities based around research-informed teaching and research methods. There is a strong emphasis on integrating research experiences into the courses taught within the department and supporting student-led research projects. Success in winning funding from the NTU SPUR scheme, has enabled students to gain additional extra-curricular research experience. For example, led by Chris Lawton, the project ‘Headline to Breadline’ saw students benefit from working with the Royal Society (RSA) and NTU Civic Exchange to explore ONS inflation indicators and to recommend alternative ‘breadline’ inflation measures.

Group members have advised and supported grant applications, strategies and potential research projects. They have arranged research consultancies, conferences and seminars, and acted as coaches and mentors to early career researchers. Recent conference activity includes the 20th European Trade Study Group Conference in Warsaw, Poland in September 2018, where Dr Dimitrios Bakas presented a paper co-authored with Karen Jackson and Georgios Magkonis on ‘Trade and the death of NAFTA’. Dr Eleni Stathopoulou presented her paper ‘Green Alliances and the Role of Taxation’, co-authored with Luis Gautier, to the 6th World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists hosted by the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Members of the group also hold significant roles in international associations, with Professor Alan Collins acting as Programme Chair for the 20th Association of Cultural Economics International (ACEI) Conference in Melbourne.

Dr Piers Thompson, along with Robert Huggins and Daniel Prokop (both Cardiff University) recently released the 2019 edition of the UK Competitiveness Index (UKCI). The UKCI is a benchmarking report that provides an indication of the competitiveness of local areas across Britain. Previous editions have been regularly utilised by local authorities in their economic development strategies.

Economics and society

Will Rossiter, Associate Professor of Regional Policy and Development, and previously Head of Strategy and Research at the East Midlands Development Agency, is involved in multiple projects in this sphere of research activity. Likewise, Piers Thompson, Professor of Local and Regional Economic Development, is engaged in external activity in the sphere of local and regional economic development, in particular through the UK Competitiveness Index (UKCI).

Current Funding

  • Thorsten Chmura has successfully received funding from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University for his project “CDS, Information and Rumours in Experimental Asset Markets – The Influence of Information and Personality Traits in Asset Markets”. The award is for £12, 000.
  • Kostas Galanakis (PI), Eleni Stathopoulou and Rob Ackrill: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions bid on Positive Energy Districts, 2018. The award is for €4mn.
  • Derived from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie project, Kostas Galanakis (PI), Rob Ackrill (CI), Eleni Stathopoulou (CI), Morakinyo Adetutu (CI) and Thorsten Chmura (CI): funding from Sustainable Futures, 2018. The award is £13221 for “Negative Rebound Effect: Super Conservation in Energy Micro‐Ecosystems at Nottingham City”.
  • Thorsten Chmura has successfully received funding from DFID Global Integrity Anti-Corruption Evidence programme, to study International anti-corruption laws and local social norms: Interactions and implications for policy, 2018. The award is for £350,000.
  • Alan Collins has successfully received The Sustainable Futures Research Theme, 2018. The award is for £5000.
  • Chris Lalley has been awarded £500 by the Scottish Economic Society, to help purchase HESA data for analysis of links between UCAS points and returns to education among new graduates.
  • Emmanuel Amissah has been appointed to the ESRC’s Peer Review Group for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) stream. The GCDF is a new five-year £1.5 billion funding stream, announced as part of the Government’s 2015 spending review. It forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance commitment, to support cutting-edge research which addresses the problems faced by developing countries.
  • Emmanuel Amissah (PI), Agyapomaa Gyeeke Dako (CI). International Growth Centre, LSE-DFID. 2014. Formal and informal finance: Firm growth in Ghana. The award is for £8,000.
  • Emmanuel Amissah (PI), Marie Stack (CI). International Growth Centre, LSE-DFID. 2015. The presence of foreign firms in Ghana: The role of physical, financial and governance infrastructure. The award is for £10,000.
  • Hafez Abdo (PI) and Rob Ackrill (CI): BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, 2014/15. Green energy, fiscal incentives and conflicting signals: analysing the challenges faced in promoting on-farm waste-to-energy projects. The award is for £6,362.
  • David Smith (NBS; PI), Rob Ackrill (CI), Richard Blundel (Open University; CI): ESRC Seminar Series, 2014. Green Innovation – Making it Work. The award is for £21,191.
  • Emmanuel Amissah (CI), Agyapomaa Gyeeke Dako (PI), Festus Turkson (CI). University of Ghana Business School. 2014. Foreign Direct Investment Spillovers and the Ghanaian Local Financial Environment. The award if for $5,000.

Press Expertise

The research and expertise that are developed from the group are often then brought to media platforms. Professor Rob Ackrill and Dr Guiseppe Bova, are the groups Brexit experts. Rob Ackrill spoke on Sputnik Radio exploring what the rejection of May’s deal might mean for Brexit. Likewise, Giuseppe Bova was invited to speak to radio Sputnik discussing Brexit. In particular, discussing the new remit to renegotiate the deal, and how the European Union has responded less than favourably.

Dr Michael McCann has been quoted in relation to his expertise on crypto currencies by two of the Express Group newspapers.

Members of the group contribute to the academic and research community through articles posted on the blog The Conversation. Rob Ackrill and Chris Lawton have written on the Big Gap Between Rhetoric and Facts in Migration Debate. Together, they have also contributed to the platform with post-Brexit analysis using “Hard Evidence: [on] how areas with low immigration voted mainly for Brexit.


As our publications indicate, members of AEPA collaborate with colleagues around the UK and globally. Below are a few of the many collaborations promoted by AEPA, both internally and externally.

Dr Dimitrios Bakas, Dr Morakinyo Adetutu and Dr John Ebireri are working on a project researching “Banking crisis and oil price shock persistence: A new approach”.

Dr Yousef Makhlouf and Professor Rob Ackrill are exploring the links between oil prices and income inequality.

Collaborative work between Dr Marie Stack and Dr Emmanuel Amissah has produced new work on the effect of different types of innovation as drivers of firm performance across a sample of developing countries in Africa.

Chris Lawton and Professor Rob Ackrill have undertaken a number of external-facing activities, including presenting papers at the launch event for Europe Direct East Midlands North, and writing articles for The Conversation website, on the EU, Brexit and migration.

An indicative list of external collaborations within the group includes:

  • A. Triantafyllou of the University of Athens (with Dimitrios Bakas)
  • Adam Pellillo of Lasalle University (with Florien Biermann)
  • Agyapomaa Gyeke-Dako of the University of Ghana (with Emmanuel Amissah)
  • Alper Kara of the University of Huddersfield (with Atilla Gumus)
  • Dan Wheatley of the University of Birmingham (with Craig Bickerton)
  • Daniel Prokop of Cardiff University (with Piers Thompson)
  • Eghosa Igudia of the University of Northampton (with Rob Ackrill)
  • Fabrice Defever of the University of Nottingham (with Emmanuel Amissah)
  • Festus Turskson of the University of Ghana (with Emmanuel Amissah)
  • I. Mendieta-Munoz of the University of Utah (with Dimitrios Bakas)
  • Ija Trapeznikova of Royal Holloway, University of London (with Amairisa Kouki)
  • James Waters of Warwick Business School (with Eleni Stathopoulou)
  • Karen Jackson of the University of Westminster (with Wenyu Zang)
  • Karligash Glass of Loughborough University (with Atilla Gumus)
  • Lauren McInally of the University of Strathclyde (with Chris Lalley)
  • Luis Gautier of the University of Texas at Tyler (with Eleni Stathopoulou)
  • Martin Obschonka of the Queensland University of Technology (with Piers Thompson)
  • Matias Cortes of York University (with Diego Morris)
  • Melanie Luhrmann of Royal Holloway, University of London (with Amairisa Kouki)
  • Michael Henry of Birmingham University (with Robert Mullings)
  • Michael Stuetzer of Baden Württemberg Cooperative State University (with Piers Thompson)
  • Pengfei Jia of Nanjing University (with King Lim)
  • Pierre-Richard Agenor of Manchester University (with King Lim)
  • Rahmi Cetin of Kahramanmaraş Sütçü İmam University (with Rob Ackrill)
  • Robert M. Sauer of Royal Holloway, University of London (with Amairisa Kouki).
  • Rod Falvey of Bond University (with Emmanuel Amissah)
  • Rongjia Su of the University of Nottingham (with Chunping Liu)
  • Spiros Bougheas of the University of Nottingham (with Emmanuel Amissah)
  • Vitor Leone of De Montfort University (with Piers Thompson)
  • Waseem Toraubally of Coventry University (with King Lim)
  • Weili Teng of the University of Nottingham (with Chunping Liu)
  • Xiaodong Chen of Xian Jiaotong University (with Chunping Liu)
  • Zviad Khunkhunashvili of the Business and Technology University, Tbilisi (with Florian Biermann)


Full details of all AEPA members' publications can be found via the Institutional Repository of Nottingham Trent University. An indicative list of papers by AEPA members includes:


  • Lawton, C., Pickford, R., Rendall, J. and Wheatley, D. 2019. Laying the Foundations of a Good Work City: Mapping Nottingham's Employment. Nottingham: Nottingham Civic Exchange, Nottingham Trent University.
  • McKenzie, J., Crosby, P., Cox, J., and Collins, A. 2019. Experimental evidence on demand for ‘on-demand’ entertainment. Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization, 161, pp. 98-113.
  • Chmura, T., Bai, Y. and Bauder, D. 2019. The impact of an insider and short-selling on bubble formation in experimental financial market. Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, 60, pp. 211-230.
  • Collins, A., McKenzie, J. and Vaughan Williams, L. 2019. When is a talent contest not a talent contest? Sequential performance bias in expert evaluation. Economics Letters, 177, pp. 94-98.
  • McCann, M. and Russon, J.-A. 2019. Active financial analysis: stimulating engagement using Bloomberg for introductory finance students. International Review of Economics Education, 30, 100153.


  • Agénor, P.-R. and Lim K.Y.2018. Unemployment, growth and welfare effects of labour market reforms. Journal of Macroeconomics, 58, pp. 19-38.
  • Amissah, E. 2018. Capital flows, trade and the role of the financial system. Modern Economy, 9(09), pp. 1592-1617.
  • Antonakakis, N. and Collins, A. 2018. A Suicidal Kuznets Curve? Economic Letters, 166, pp. 90-93.
  • Atherton, A., Wu, D. and Wu, Z. 2018. Self-exploitation or successful entrepreneurship? Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 25(6), pp. 866-885.
  • Bakas, D. and Triantafyllou, A. 2018. The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks on the Volatility of Commodity Prices. Journal of International Money and Finance, 87, pp. 96-111.
  • Cetin, R. and Ackrill, R. 2018. Exports, imports, growth and causality: a study of Slovakia. Post-Communist Economies, 30, pp. 395-404.
  • Charles, A., Wu, D. and Wu, Z. 2018. Economic Shocks on Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the determinants of life-satisfaction after the 2008 financial crisis. Journal of Happiness Studies, forthcoming.
  • Huggins, R. and Thompson, P. 2018. Regional innovation and growth theory: behavioural and institutional approaches. In A. Paasi, J. Harrison and M. Jones (eds.), Handbook on the Geographies of Regions and Territories, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 116-130.
  • Huggins, R. Thompson, P. and Obschonka, M. 2018. Human behaviour and economic growth: a psychocultural perspective on local and regional development. Environment and Planning A, 50(6), pp. 1269-1289.
  • Lalley, C., Houston, J. and Gasteen, A. 2018. Gender disparities in horizontal mismatch penalties: an examination of 'professional' degrees in the UK (2007–2015). Studies in Higher Education, forthcoming.
  • Lim, K.Y. 2018. Industrial transformation with heterogeneous labour and foreign experts. Macroeconomic Dynamics, forthcoming.
  • Matousek, R., Nguyen, T.N. and Stewart, C. 2018. Market structure in the Vietnamese banking system: a non-structure approach. Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, 26(1), pp. 103-119.
  • Morris, D.M. 2018. Innovation and productivity among heterogeneous firms, Research Policy, 47(10), pp.1918-1932.
  • Mullings, R. and Mahabir, A. 2018. Growth by Destination: The Role of Trade in Africa’s Recent Growth Episode. World Development, 102, pp. 243-261.
  • Nguyen, T.N., Stewart, C. and Matousek, R. 2018. Risk management of the banking system: an emerging market survey. Risk Governance and Control: Financial Markets & Institutions, 8(3), pp. 7-20.
  • Stack, M., Ackrill, R. and Bliss, M.2018. Sugar trade and the role of historical colonial linkages, European Review of Agricultural Economics, 46(1), pp. 79-108.
  • Thompson, P. and Zang, W. 2018. The Foreign Business and Domestic Enterprise Relationship: Its Implications for Local Entrepreneurial Resilience. Local Economy, 33(1), pp. 10-39.

Monographs, Chapters and Other Publications:

  • Morris, D. 2017. Access to Financing and Innovation in Caribbean Firms. In Exploring Firm-Level Innovation and Productivity in Developing Countries: The Perspective of Caribbean Small States. IDB Monograph, 503.
  • Huggins, R. and Thompson, P. 2017. A network theory of regional competitiveness: innovation, entrepreneurship and growth. In: Huggins, R. and Thompson, P. eds. Handbook of Regions and Competitiveness: Contemporary Theories and Perspectives on Economic Development, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Makhlouf, Y. and Bakas, D. 2017. Can the, Insider-Outsider Theory Explain Unemployment Hysteresis in OECD Countries? Working Paper, No. 2017/7, Nottingham Trent University.
  • Vinogradov, D. and Makhlouf, Y. 2017.  Signaling Probabilities in Ambiguity: on the impact of vague news. Working Paper, No. 2017-12, The Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow.
  • Abdo, H. and Ackrill, R. 2016. Readings in UK Renewable Energy Policy: The Role of Waste-to-Energy in Achieving Green Energy Targets - the Case of Anaerobic Digestion. In Burton V. (ed.) Renewable Energy: Sources, Applications and Emerging Technologies. New York: Nova Science Publishers, pp. 35-56.
  • Ackrill, R. and A. Kay. 2014. The Growth of Biofuels in the 21st Century: Policy Drivers and Market Challenges. London: Palgrave.
  • Huggins, R. Izushi, H. Prokop, D. and Thompson, P. 2014. The Global Competitiveness of Regions, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Vaughan Williams, L. ed. 2014. Prediction Markets: Theory and Applications. Abingdon: Routledge.

Related projects

Work done by the group often generates significant and far-reaching impact. Some of these works are listed below as well other significant projects.

  • Smart-BEEjS (Human-Centric Energy Districts: Smart Value Generation by Building Efficiency and Energy Justice for Sustainable Living). Eleni Stathopoulou and Rob Ackrill are members of the team lead by Kostas Galanakis who obtained funding for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network. The funding will support 15 PhDs, across a network of 24 universities and other private and third sector stakeholders.
  • International anti-corruption laws and local social norms: Interactions and implications for policy. Thorsten Chmura research gathers insights into how local social norms, beliefs and expectations about others’ behavioural integrity are affected by and interact with the international legal architecture aimed at combatting corruption and bribery. The project partners are at the University of Nottingham, City University of London and University of Sussex.
  • Headline to Breadline. Chris Lawton led this NTU SPUR project that employed two economics students at the end of their second year. They worked with the Royal Society (RSA) and the NTU Civic Exchange to explore the ONS’ recent inflation indicators by household income decile, to recommend alternative ‘breadline’ inflation measures to the RSA and outgoing Governor of the Bank of England. The outputs have been made up of 3 blog articles co-written with the RSA and a Excel-based data tool (
  • Hidden Dimensions of Inclusive Growth.  Chris Lawton alongside Richard Pickford (Nottingham Civic Exchange), Sharon Hutchings and Tom Vickers (Sociology) and Ana Souto (Architecture). This was a multi-disciplinary student-led research project with external partners, including the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and the Renewal Trust, that considered the partner, community and wider perceptions of how traditional measures of growth, prosperity and social progress, alongside emerging concepts of ‘inclusive growth’, meaningfully reflect the life experiences of communities in the D2N2 area. The outputs of the project have been released through a number of blogs with the most recent to be found at
  • Aligned with NTU research themes. Alan Collins’ collaboration with Richard Yarnell of the School of Animal Rural and Environmental Sciences has been successful in his application for Seed Corn Funding for their project ‘Evaluating the ecosystem services provided by Old World Vultures: determining their role in sustainable futures for African and Eurasian environments’.
  • UK Competitive Index. Piers Thompson along with Robert Huggins (Cardiff University) and Daniel Prokop (Cardiff University) is an author of the UK Competitiveness Index (UKCI). The UKCI is a benchmarking report that includes measures of competitiveness for a vast majority of local authorities and local enterprise partnerships in Great Britain. The UKCI is widely used by local authorities in their economic development documents. The 2019 report will include a set of forecasts based on the UKCI data with a number of different scenarios included.
  • Michael McCann is undergoing a project analysing the influence of institutional investors on different aspects of corporate decision-making.
  • Piers Thompson has undergone work for Belfast City Council in relation to the UK competitiveness Index. These data are being considered for their community plan, Belfast Agenda.