Welcome to the Pluralist Economics Research Group (PERG)

About PERG

PERG reflects the pluralist nature of economics at Kingston. It includes applied economics researchers, whose objective is to develop theoretical insights using state-of-the-art empirical techniques to analyse substantive applied economic issues with the objective of generating impact. It also includes researchers who put more emphasis on the fundamental importance of institutions and social conflict for the understanding of economic relationships and outcomes. PERG is committed to pluralism in economic research and provides a collaborative and inclusive research environment for its members to engage in intellectual debate and to exchange ideas.

Leading in research

Our research contributes to the Behaviour, Business and Policy KERI, the new university knowledge exchange research institute, and It covers wide areas within and across the Department of Economics' four specialisation themes: from economic growth, technology, skills and development, to industrial, labour and international economics, banking and financial management, political economy, as well as environment and climate change research and aspects of wellbeing, behavioural and financial economics. Within Kingston, researchers in Economics collaborate with the Centre for Research on Communities, Identity and Difference (CResCID) and the Small Business Research Centre (SBRC). We also have an extensive collaborative network with other universities, research institutes and government departments (including NIESR, King's College London, LSE, ONS, BEIS and Hounslow council).

People in PERG

PERG is co-led by Professors Bill Dunn and Michela Vecchi. It comprises academic staff from the Department of Economics working collaboratively with colleagues in other research groups and departments in Kingston University, as well as with external partners and international stakeholders.

PERG associates

Funded projects

UK SME's response to a downturn in market conditions

This project is funded by a CResCID Research Grant (£2,800). In the backdrop of the current economic downturn faced by the UK SMEs due to the twin problems of Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, this project seeks to understand the experiences of SMEs in the UK in the light of recent developments and generate primary benefits through analysis and recommendations with regards to strategic behaviour and coping mechanisms of UK SMEs. To achieve this, the project is undertaking a pilot study of the UK food and beverage sector in Kingston and surrounding areas. The project is led by Dr Jalal Siddiki as the PI and involves Dr Homagni Choudhury as a co-I at AERG, with several external partners including the department of enterprise education, Kingston University, and the Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber of Commerce.

Institutionalist Power of Global Wealth Chain Analysis / Secrecy Jurisdiction Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) the Evolution of the Private Rental Real Estate Sector in England.

Project led by Dr Rex McKenzie. Co-Leads: Dr Andrea Ingianni and Dr. Antoine Paccoud (LIESER Luxembourg). Founded by Kingston University, Pump priming funding (Amount raised: £10,000), 2023.

Tax Haven Money in London Real Estate.

Project led by Dr Rex McKenzie. Co-Lead: Dr Andrea Ingianni. Founded by Trust for London (Amount raised: £30,000), 2021. Project outcomes: McKenzie, R., Rozena, S., & Ingianni, A. (2022) Tax Haven Money in London Real Estate. Trust for London Research Report, November, Bourne, J., Ingianni, A. and McKenzie, R., (2023). What's in the laundromat? Mapping and characterising offshore-owned residential property in London. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science.

Land rent, unearned income and the extraction of value – the Luxembourg/England nexus.

Project led by Dr Rex McKenzie. Co-Leads: Dr Andrea Ingianni, Prof. Rowland Atkinson (University of Sheffield), Antoine Paccoud (LIESER Luxembourg). Dr Richard Dunning (University of Liverpool). Founded by Kingston University, QR funding (Amount raised: £10,000), 2021

Moving towards a Net-Zero transition: green skills, energy use and CO2 emissions.

Estimating green jobs and green skills in London

This is part of a large project, led by Patrick Elf (Middlesex University). Funded by Hounslow council as part of the Green Economy Plan. Project lead (workpackage 3): Professor Michela Vecchi. Co-investigator: Dr Shimaa Elkomy (University of Surrey). (Amount raised: £20,0000).

Energy efficiency and CO2 emission: how do UK university measure up?

This project investigates the progress of the UK universities in greening their energy sources in line with the UK's goal of becoming a net-zero economy by 2050. Using the HESA estate management data for 116 universities over 2012–13 to 2018–19, the project employs a Log Mean Divisa Index decomposition method within an extended Kaya identity framework to decouple the changes in total carbon emissions from a range of variables, with a special focus on the impact of different energy sources on energy use and carbon efficiency measures. The project is funded by the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences' Research Funding Scheme and is led by Dr Shaikh Eskander.

Graduates' labour market outcomes in the UK

Graduates' skill mismatch in London: evidence from LinkedIn data

Project led by Professor Michela Vecchi. Co-investigators: Dr Andrea Ingianni and Peter Wolf. Founded by Kingston University, QR funding (Amount raised: £1,600), 2023.

Occupational Changes and Skill Mismatch during Covid-19: implications for graduates in the UK

Funded by the ESRC, as part of UK Research and Innovation's rapid response to COVID-19. Project led by Professor Michela Vecchi and Professor Catherine Robinson. Grant number: ES/VO17543/1. (Amount raised: £67,000), 2021. Project outcomes: Graduates' labour market outcomes during the coronavirus pandemic: occupational switches and skill mismatch, Vertical and horizontal mismatch in the UK: are graduates' skills a good fit for their jobs?

Estimating the extent and the effect of skills/education mismatches on wages and firm level productivity

Project led by Professor Michela Vecchi. Funded by the ONS (Amount raised: £10,000), 2019. Project outcomes: Overeducation and hourly wages in the UK Labour Market, Skill mismatch among graduates in the UK labour market.

Ongoing projects

Foundations, traditions and controversies in political economy

Political economy is broader in scope than conventional economics and transgresses the disciplinary boundaries of economics. Consequently, the study of economics' intellectual heritage and history of thought, as well as the question of what constitutes appropriate methods and units of analysis (individuals, institutions, classes, race, gender, social norms), are in integral part of research in political economy. Research in this area has focused on the foundations of Marxist and Post-Keynesian theory, French and British contributions to economic theory in the 18th century and the degree to which political and economic theories are dominated by white, male thinkers and omit issues of colonialism, race and gender.

Finance and financialisation

Financialisation is a hallmark of the last three decades. The finance-dominated accumulation regime is characterised by mediocre growth performance and a high degree of (financial) fragility. Growth in wage-led demand regimes becomes increasingly driven by debt and property prices. Our research has contributed to uncovering what the rise in size of the financial sector means for firms' investment behaviour and corporate governance, consumption behaviour, government expenditures and also where financial profits come from. Our research has also focused on how asset-driven wealth accumulation affects the provision of welfare services, with a specific focus on pensions, whose demand for assets continuously sparks growth and innovation in financial markets thereby generating potential for systemic risk and instability.

Inequality, neoliberalism and capitalism

Political economy approaches provide a useful perspective for placing capitalism in a historical and institutional context and for tracing its consequences for workers. Capitalism takes different forms at different times. Neoliberalism, its new form since the 1980s, has come with a marketisation of social relations, privatisation of public services, financialisation, a rollback of labour rights and rising inequality as its hallmarks. Research in this area explores how to understand neoliberalism from a theoretical point of view and the consequences of neoliberalism for urban inequality, housing and homelessness.

Development economics

To uncover the causes of development and the factors perpetuating underdevelopment, it is important to critically examine the causal relationships between systemic factors, acting on a global scale, and factors specific to individual economies and societies. Extrapolation should be consistent both ways, ie. research should be able to explain how country-specific dynamics are influenced by systemic factors and unequal exchange while leaving room to explain why and how systemic pressures are mediated in a particular way domestically. Our research in this area has focused on the role of natural resource extraction and the role of Britain-based multinationals in development, relations of dependency and the super-exploitation of labour, structural change and industrial policy in sub-Saharan Africa.

Skills, productivity and growth

An investigation of graduates' outcome in London using LinkedIn profiles

Existing evidence shows that the level of overqualification in London is above the one estimated in other areas in the UK (ONS). As the skill mismatch is usually associated with low productivity performance, this evidence is puzzling as productivity growth in London is typically above the average level for the UK. This project uses a previously unexplored dataset to investigate the extent of the educational mismatch in London, following graduates' labour market experience as recorded in their LinkedIn profiles. The richness of the data allows us to look at graduates' mobility across different types of jobs, the short or long-term nature of the mismatch and the role of different types of higher education institutions. Project lead: Professor Michela Vecchi. Project co-investigators: Dr Andrea Ingianni and Peter Wolf.

Skill (un)biased technical change

Research in the 1990s and early 2000s widely documented the skill biased nature of digital technologies. In more recent years, this trend appears to have changed and in several EU countries the skill wage premium is declining. This works aims at understanding the reasons behind this decline, focusing on technological factors and the increasing role of intangible assets in modern economies. The project uses the most recent release of the EUKEMS database for the period 1995-2018. Preliminary findings show that there is a declining wage premium for high skilled workers in most countries and industries, particularly after the 2008 financial crisis. Project contact: Professor Michela Vecchi. Co-investigators: Professor Catherine Robison (University of Kent) and Professor Mary O'Mahony (King's College London)

Dance, wellbeing and performance in the workplace

The effects of physical exercise on economic outcomes such as productivity, wages or employment probabilities is a growing area of research. In this project we study a specific exercise practice and a specific outcome: recreational dance and its effects on productivity performance in the workplace. We focus on dance for two main reasons: first, the existing sports-based evidence suggests that men are more likely to engage in physical exercise compared to women, hence women fare worse than men on the related economic outcomes. Dancing is particularly popular among women, hence it may provide an alternative way of exercising that reduces the gender imbalance. Second, dance is special. Neuroscience and psychology researchers have not only recognised the positive health effects of dance but have also discovered that dancing has additional benefits compared to other forms of physical exercise, on cognitive functions. The labour economic literature has traditionally related cognitive skills to higher wages and productivity. So, we argue that dancing, by improving cognitive abilities, can improve productivity in the workplace. Project lead: Professor Michela Vecchi. Project co-investigators: Professor Ian Marsh (Bayes Business School), Professor Dr Patrick Elf, Dr Akiko Ueno, Dr Athina Dilmperi and Dr Luke Devereux. Project outcomes: Shall we dance? Recreational dance, wellbeing and productivity during Covid-19.

The environment and stability

The research, led by Dr Shaikh Eskander, covers areas including climate change, energy efficiency and soil conservation.

International economics

Group members research several themes in international economics, including trade, foreign investment, foreign exchange and migration.

Methods in applied economics

This research areas focuses on the development of econometrics techniques for the analysis of a variety of economic issues, including unemployment, uncertainly, income inequalities. Project lead: Dr Chris Steward. Project outcomes: Is there really hysteresis in the OECD unemployment rates? New evidence using a Fourier panel unit root test; Is the reports-based measure of uncertainty stationary? Evidence from a new panel residual augmented least squares unit root tests; Absolute income inequality and rising house prices.

Seminar series

The department's new Pluralist Economics Seminar Series was launched in April 2023 with the aim of promoting dialogue and cooperation across different economic approaches, and address important economics, political and societal issues. Seminars are held in hybrid form and you can view all discussion papers here.

Leading in research

Past seminars include:

  • Do house price boom crowd-out bank lending to SMEs? Evidence from the UK local authority level, Jalal Siddiki, Kingston University
  • Migration, Remittances and Gender Norms, Dimitrios Minos, King's College London
  • Have healthcare workers suffered the most during the COVID-19 pandemic? A study of the burnout effects on wellbeing, Shimaa Elkomy, University of Surrey
  • Consent and coercion in the thought of Antonio Gramsci, Rex McKenzie, Kingston University
  • Keynes and Marx, Bill Dunn, Kingston University
  • New trends in firm level Total Factor Productivity in the UK: new measures, new puzzles, Ioannis Bournakis, SKEMA Business School
  • Distributional effects of immigration and imperfect labour markets, Simon Lodato, Middlesex University
  • Project Aid and Firm Performance, Saumik Paul, Newcastle University

Contact us

For more information on PERG, please contact Professors Bill Dunn or Michela Vecchi.