The School of Economics strongly encourages and supports activities with potential to generate impact. Our three research groups present differing impact profiles.
Industrial Economics group
Closely aligned with the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy (CCP, this group's research is rooted in competition and regulatory policy, where practice often runs ahead of theory. Engagement with practitioners informs research and leads to dissemination of results to a non-academic audience, with significant policy and practitioner impact.
CCP members work closely with competition agencies and regulatory bodies including the Competition Commission, the Office of Fair Trading, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department for Constitutional Affairs, the OECD, and the European Commission (EC). Other organisations that have consulted the CCP on its research include MONITOR (Department of Health), the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Treasury, Which?, Ofwat and Ofgem, amongst many others.
Applied and Financial Economics group
This group brings together a diverse range of researchers in developing cross-disciplinary economic research with international impact. With active research in various economic disciplines including finance, financial econometrics and applied microeconomics, expertise from this group links creatively into interdisciplinary areas such as health research and media economics.
Researchers have worked with organisations including UK National Ecosystem Assessment, British Horse Racing Authority, British Medical Associations, Carbon Trust, Defra, European Commission Directorate-General for Research, Norwich City FC, Sainsbury's, Anglian Water and Archant.
Experimental Economics group
The research of this group informs measurement of preferences and experiment methodology valuations. This work engages with the strong current interest in policy-making circles, both in the UK and internationally, in incorporating insights of behavioural and experimental economics into policy design. For example, Professor Robert Sugden and colleagues used stated-preference methods for estimating valuations for quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, advising on the limitations of QALYs to capture the preferences of patients.
The Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) supports the application of behavioural and experimental methods in the social sciences. Researchers in this group have provided tailored solutions to major domestic institutions such as UK Defra, the Department of Health, and the Department of Transport. Areas of expertise map onto current areas of policy and business interest, including "nudging", utility tariff design, product labelling, and indebtedness.
The Faculty is launching an internal "impact competition" with resources available on a competitive basis to expand the significance and reach of impact-generating research.
Case study: Enhancing the Effectiveness of Competition Policy by Improved Evaluation Methodologies
The Office for Fair Trading (OFT) invited Stephen Davies to undertake public evaluation of methods used to estimate consumer benefits resulting from OFT competition enforcement – relevant for HM Treasury allocation of resources to and within OFT. Davies' research showed how policy interventions often have larger, unintended long-term consequences, how choice of methodology is inextricably linked with appropriate counterfactuals and how weaknesses in all methodologies need more explicit acknowledgement.
His report "A Review of OFT's Impact Estimation Methods" (2010) transformed OFT's methodologies and is shaping future interventions of OFT and Competition Authorities internationally. http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/reports/Evaluating-OFTs-work/oft1164.pdf.
Davies was keynote speaker at the International Conference on Ex-post Evaluation of Competition Policy, University of Mannheim (2009): ftp://ftp.zew.de/pub/zew-docs/veranstaltungen/evalcomp2009/Programme_Evaluation2009.pdf
Davies' work with Dr. Peter Ormosi in the Centre for Competition Policy (CCP), critiques evaluation methodologies, highlights need for theoretically-informed counterfactuals and the relative inattention to policy in areas of Advocacy. Their work has been presented at key international conferences and technical seminars in Germany, South Africa and Sweden. Davies and Ormosi became advisers to the OECD's major research programme "Evaluation of Competition Regimes".
Case study: Improving Remedy Design in Merger Control for the Benefit of Consumers
The imposition of remedies to regulate mergers by Competition Authorities (CAs) had been subject to little academic scrutiny before this initiative by Lyons and Davis. Their research showed how conventional emphasis on structural remedies in mergers did not adequately safeguard consumers' interests.
Lyons and Davies developed innovative methodology for appraising merger remedies, designing simplified simulations to analyse detailed quantitative studies of a number of mergers and their outcomes. Among other aspects, their work identified issues of impeded restoration of competition and disproportionately high transaction costs in applying remedies, especially impacting small businesses.
Their recommendations have been adopted by CAs and are now enshrined in revised guidelines on merger remedies used by the European Commission and the UK Competition Commission. This research was instrumental in changing guidelines on licensing agreements used in mergers involving IP Rights and drawing attention to the necessary conditions for effective behavioural remedies.
Lyons became a founding member of the UK Competition Commission's Remedies Standing Group and its Economics Advisory Committee.
The Social Sciences faculty at UEA has developed an Impact Enhancement Strategy aimed at supporting research activity across Schools, toward stimulating greater impact and making a practical difference beyond academia.
Please click here for more information about the Faculty Impact Strategy