Postgraduate students in the School of Economics are encouraged to choose their area of study.
The School of Economics is strongly committed to providing each PGR student with dedicated supervision and support throughout the four years of the PhD programme. In the recent Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES 2019), our PGR students awarded the School excellent scores including 100% for Supervision.
The allocation of individual supervisors to students begins with the research proposal submitted by prospective students in their application process. In principle, applicants can submit research proposals based on any relevant topic in economics, and the School will check, as part of the selection process, the availability of at least two faculty members willing to offer supervision. In some specific areas of economics, the School exhibits highly specialized knowledge and, hence, higher capacity to supervise PhD projects:
- Big data methods
- Collective decision making and group formation
- Competition in digital markets
- Development and environmental economics
- Dynamic macroeconomics and growth
- Economics of networks
- Empirical evaluation of competition/competition policy
- Financial economics and econometrics
- Heuristics and biases in decision making
- Industrial organisation
- Origins and consequences of conflict
- Strategic reasoning and identity in groups and teams
Moreover, every Academic Year, different Research Groups of the School of Economics can propose project outlines that prospective students can elaborate on while designing their own project proposal – these projects will be given particular attention during the selection process.
For prospective students applying during the 2023-24 year (starting the PhD program in October 2023), project outlines will be offered by the research groups “Economic Theory” and “Industrial Economics”. The details of such project outlines are listed below:
Some important goods and services are allocated through various mechanisms in situations where fully market-based approaches are impractical or otherwise considered inappropriate. For example, in the UK, local authorities allocate social housing through various mechanisms, which include mechanisms based in various ways on bidding. The rules for these bidding mechanisms vary significantly in the number of houses an applicant can bid for at one time, and the feedback unsuccessful bidders receive. To understand whether these mechanisms are fit for purpose, we need better models of how people choose strategies from among large sets of possibilities, and how those choices are affected by the amount of feedback they receive. Such a model will need to integrate theoretical, behavioural and computational/algorithmic methods. Proposals along these lines are invited to be supervised by Emiliya Lazarova, a theorist with particular expertise in the theory of matching and search under uncertainty, and Theodore Turocy, Director of UEA’s Laboratory for Economic and Decision Research, and Principal Investigator on the Automated Analysis of Strategic Interactions project funded by The Alan Turing Institute.
There are strong reasons to believe that an effective tracking app could have helped to reduce contagion and possibly to shorten or completely avert the month-long lockdowns that were necessary, replacing them by quicker, shorter, and more local lockdowns. However, a major concern in the public debate were privacy concerns and the intrusion to privacy that effective tracking apps would potentially have implied. As a result of this tension, western societies tried to devise privacy-preserving tracking apps and, ultimately, completely failed to set up such apps in an effective way. The economic and psychological consequences of this failure cannot be overestimated. The immediate purpose of this project is to investigate the relationship between privacy concerns in apps and the failure of tracking apps, and whether privacy concerns were a compelling reason for tracking apps to fail. The purpose is to make progress on estimating the value of privacy and devising optimal regulation of privacy sensitive data in the market mobile apps and other data-driven markets. Research Team: you would be working with Dr. Michael Kummer and Prof. Jens Prufer (and possibly other IO economists in the school).
IO economists typically worry about the impact of mergers and concentration on output, prices, and consumer welfare. However, there is now a growing interest in the impact on input markets as well. For example, if long-term care facilities merge, what happens to the wages and employment levels of those who work in those facilities? In general, how does concentration affect buyer power in the input markets? This empirical project will contribute to this literature by focusing on identifying and working on new issues in the impact of concentration in healthcare markets (hospitals, primary care facilities, and other service providers) on the input markets. Research Team: You would be working with Dr. Farasat Bokhari and Prof. Jens Prufer (and possibly other IO economists in the school.)
This is an open-ended call for a project in the area of competition and information in the healthcare sector. An example is, how does competition among health service providers impact patient outcomes, and how does public information about these providers (for instance about their rankings, prices, or other quality measures) interact with the level of competition to affect the patient choice and ultimately outcomes? Alternatively, does public information about contracts among health care providers lead to greater competition among the providers and ultimately lower prices and better quality and/or better health outcomes? Candidates are welcome to suggest other topics broadly within this area of research. Research Team: You would be working with Dr. Farasat Bokhari and Prof. Jens Prufer (and possibly other IO economists in the school.)
There is often tension in achieving lower prices to enhance access versus maintaining monopoly prices for a short duration to give incentives for innovation. This is an open-ended call for evaluating various policy proposals related to pharmaceutical pricing (e.g. value-based pricing, reference pricing, parallel imports, etc.) or evaluating strategies used by firms to maintain their position (e.g. de-branding, product-hopping, add-on therapy, etc.). Candidates are welcome to suggest other topics broadly within this area of research. Research Team: You would be working with Dr. Farasat Bokhari and Dr. Franco Mariuzzo (and possibly other IO economists in the school.)
Economic, social, cultural and technical change affect the way information flows between agents, by influencing both information transmission as well as information search incentives. Examples range from online consumer reviews, algorithmic recommendation systems to information sharing on social networks. Big data and information markets is another key novelty. Across various domains, we need a better understanding of key drivers of behaviour relating to information as well as aggregate consequences. Research on this topic could integrate various methodologies, theoretical (standard or behavioural), empirical, experimental, computational. Proposals along these lines are invited to be supervised by Mark Le Quement, a theorist with particular expertise in the theory of information acquisition and transmission, and Arnold Polanski, a theorist with a particular interest in Networks.
Social, information and commercial networks are endemic to economic interactions. For example, in many situations, the social context is the primary driver of behaviours and outcomes. Obvious examples range from the role of social networks in obtaining jobs, which products to buy or how much education to pursue. Similar to behavioural economics, which enriches the modelling of economic decision makers by exploring the psychological underpinnings of human behaviour, economics of networks comes from a realization that a deeper exploration of social, informational or commercial connections among human agents, firms and countries can enrich the modelling of economic interactions. Across various domains, we need a better understanding of key drivers of behaviour relating to the embeddedness in relevant networks and the impact of the latter on individual and aggregate outcomes. Research on this topic could integrate various methodologies, theoretical (standard or behavioural), empirical, experimental, computational (e.g., artificial intelligence). Proposals along these lines are invited to be supervised by Arnold Polanski, a theorist with a particular interest in networks and Mark Le Quement, a theorist with particular expertise in the theory of information acquisition and transmission.
Candidates interested into these themes should present their own proposal mentioning the project title and submitting their application by the same deadline that is relevant for studentships offered by the School of Economics.
Besides these field-specific opportunities, all prospective students interested in any field of economics should check the individual pages of the School’s Academic Staff and their publications in order to identify potential supervisors for their projects. Members of faculty are pleased to be approached by prospective PhD candidates about the kinds of research they can supervise.