Combining strengths to address crucial issues Combining strengths to address crucial issues

The Environment, Resources, and Conflict research group brings together researchers from different fields of economics to study important issues in environmental economics, conflict studies, and the nexus between the two. It is a young and expanding group within the School of Economics that builds on insights from experimental and behavioural economics – which the School is renowned for – and from empirical and theoretical work in environmental and resource economics – which a growing number of School members are focusing on.

Many of our members run experiments in the lab or in the field, but we also employ micro- and macroeconometric data, data from historical documents, and formal theoretical models in our research. Current research projects in the group include investigating the interaction between environmental policy, energy and natural resource use; the role of natural resources in economic growth and development; how the environment and natural resources contribute to conflict; the economic roots of violent and nonviolent conflict; the economics of migration; group identity and within- and between-group dynamics; the effects of discriminatory and affirmative-action rules; group and individual behaviour in costly contests; the origins of industrial actions; and group bargaining and coordination.

Much of our research is of great policy relevance and is very interdisciplinary. Members collaborate closely with researchers at UEA’s School of International Development, the Centre for Competition Policy (CCP), and the Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Sciences (CBESS). Our researchers work in partnership with academics from the UK and the rest of Europe, North America, and Africa, as well as a number of non-academic organisations. Our members have an excellent record of successful grant applications from institutions such as the ESRC, the European Commission, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Research Council of Norway.

We have a number of enthusiastic research students who are pursuing their PhD on topics related to our group.

Finally, we organise informal workshops in which we bring together researchers working on related topics from different Schools at UEA and from outside research institutes.

PhD Study

To apply for a position as a PhD candidate with a proposal on a topic related to our research group, please feel free to contact one of the group members by email and follow the UEA PhD admissions procedure.

PhD Admissions Procedure

Faculty Staff

Michael Brock's current research interests explore the relationships between behavioural economics and environmental attitudes. More specifically, he is interested in discovering how we can examine the decision-making and preference construction of individuals regarding public, collective and environmental goods. From this, his work seeks to illustrate the ways in which we are able to identify and then direct people’s behavioural choices in a way which should enhance the collective well-being for society and/or the environment.

Christa Brunnschweiler is an applied economist with research interests in the areas of economic growth and development, particularly in resource economics and conflict studies. She has studied various aspects of the natural resource curse and is currently looking at how resource ownership structures affect development outcomes; whether transparency in resource revenue management has any impact on individual behaviour and accountability; and what the causes are of violent and non-violent conflict. 

Corrado DiMariaCorrado Di Maria has broad research interests that span the economics of growth and development, environmental and natural resource economics, energy economics and the economics of technological change. The key feature of his work is an emphasis on policy relevance. Corrado’s most recent research covers several aspects of the interaction between environmental policy and natural resource use, the taxation of exhaustible resources, emissions trading schemes and their efficiency-promoting features, the role of skills in the process of economic growth, and environmental policy in the presence of directed technological change.

Liliana Harding's main research interest lies in the economics of migration. Her recent work has simulated the dynamics of unemployment in an open economy with immigration, and questioned the contribution of foreign workers to tax revenues in a cross-country context. She has previously researched the way in which gradual liberalisation of labour mobility induces the redistribution of workers across EU destinations, and she has sought to establish a link between international student mobility and labour market prospects. She is currently exploring specific factors making urban economies more attractive to skilled and creative workers. 

David Hugh-Jones is interested in group identity, intergroup emotions, conflict and social norms. He has published his work in top journals in Economics (like Games and Economic Behavior) and Political Science (like the Journal of Conflict Resolution). David is the PI of an ESRC Research Grant on “The norm of honesty: empirical studies on school pupils and the UK population”.

Anders Poulsen's general research interests lie within bargaining, distribution, conflict resolution, and coordination of economic activity. These areas are investigated using concepts and tools from game theory, experimental economics and behavioural economics.

Theodore Turocy's research focuses on modelling how people perceive and behave in strategic situations, including applications in auctions, the provision of public goods, contests, network formation, and sport. He is the lead developer of Gambit, a widely-used software package for the computational analysis in game theory.

Dr. Simone Valente is a Reader at the School of Economics. He holds a PhD in Economic Theory and Institutions from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Before joining UEA, Simone was a Research Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and a Lecturer at ETH Zurich. His research interests include growth theory and dynamic macroeconomics, international trade and development, sustainability and intergenerational distribution, status-dependent preferences.


Research Students

Aayushi Awasthy’s PhD project is on analysis of electrification in India. This includes analysis of variables leading to successful and failed electrification and subsequently the impact on developmental indicators such as health, employment, entrepreneurship etc. Aayushi has seven years of work experience in the field energy modelling and climate change. 

Paul M Gorny is a research student in the School of Economics.He is working on rational as well as behavioural contest theory and asymmetric paternalism. The tentative title of his thesis is "The Interplay of Identity and Conflict“.


Kevin Grubiak is a research student working in the area of behavioural and experimental economics. His research interests comprise unethical behaviour, self- and social image concerns, self-serving biases, moral excuses, strategic information avoidance and lying aversion.


Deanna A Karapetyan is a research student at the School of Economics.  Her research interests are in environmental, development, and behavioural economics.  Her dissertation will be focused on deconstructing the causal chain between environmental degradation and conflict through both lab and field experiments.

Antonina Nazarova is a research student in the School of Economics