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Welsh Institute For Research in Economics and Development

We aim to stimulate and build capacity in research relevant to the Welsh economy and society as well as to the wider world.

The Institute undertakes research and policy initiatives of particular relevance to Wales but also of more general interest to the UK, the rest of Europe, and the wider world.

Our research embarks on the grand challenges of our times, including those between humans and nature (e.g., sustainability) and within human society (e.g., inequality), both in the short run (e.g., recessions, cost of living crisis) and in the long run (e.g., growth, development).

We intend that our research will benefit the political and business community of Wales while providing a valuable stimulus to research and other joint activities all over the world.

Recent research topics have included:

  • Research and Development and Innovation
  • Fiscal Devolution
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Health and Healthcare
  • School Effectiveness
  • International Economics
  • Economic Growth
  • Money, Banking, and Finance
  • Disruptive Technologies


Research and Development and Innovation

Innovation is the fundamental driver of economic growth, but the “inputs” of innovation - Research and Development - have externalities due to the public goods nature of knowledge. We examine the spillover effects of Research and Development, productivity effects of innovation, and policy implications.

See also: Effectiveness and efficiency of SME innovation policy and Dr Peng Zhou – Innovation

Fiscal Devolution

There has been a trend in many countries to devolve fiscal powers to subnational governments. In the context of tax devolution in Wales, Foreman-Peck and Zhou develop an indirect approach to establishing lower bound revenue impacts of possible devolved tax changes by allowing for tax-induced migration. In the context of expenditure devolution in China, we propose the optimal fiscal federalism to balance welfare and growth.

See also: Dr Peng Zhou (Joe) - Devolution

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals pertain to fostering harmony between human-nature and human-human interactions. We examine the roles of green finance, economic inequality, and sustainability awareness in achieving SDGs.

See also: Dr Peng Zhou – Basic Goods

Health and Healthcare

Health is a fundamental need and healthcare is an essential service. We examine causes and effects of health as well as evaluation frameworks of healthcare services.

Policy impact: A review of independent living adaptations, 2015 Welsh Government.

School Effectiveness

The literature on school performance raises questions over the most effective size of a sixth form school and the potential negative impact on KS4 attainment in schools where small sixth forms may be subsidised from non-sixth form budgets. In light of the above concerns the Welsh Government commissioned an analysis of the impact of school sixth form size on educational attainment of pupils at Key Stage 5 (KS5), controlled for exam scores two years earlier (i.e., KS4).

International Economics

The modern economy features a globalised trade system, financial market, and labour market. We examine the causes and effects of economic activities in these international dimensions.

See also: The costs to the UK of language deficiencies as a barrier to UK engagement in exporting

Economic Growth

Financial development is essential for economic growth in the modern epoch, but mortality shocks (natural selection) and marriage patterns (family selection) are the forces pushing human society out of the Malthusian trap. In an empirical unified growth model, Foreman-Peck and Zhou show that the Industrial Revolution was triggered by the demographic catastrophes in the aftermath of the Black Death.

Money, Banking, and Finance

Modern business cycles are mainly driven by productivity disturbances (New Classical), monetary policies (New Keynesian), and credit cycles (New Monetarism). We try to understand micro and macro mechanisms underlying business cycles such as shadow banking, credit crunch, and liberalisation.

Disruptive Technologies

Disruptive technologies refer to innovations or advancements that significantly alter the way products are created, services are delivered, or industries operate, often leading to a fundamental transformation of the existing market landscape. We examine the adoption, application, and consequences of disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, and big data.

PhD researchers

  • Shijie Jin (green finance)
  • Xueying Hu (monetary policy)
  • Ran Zhang (green finance)
  • Shuhao Zhang (blockchain and DeFi)

Visiting scholars


Special Issue on Sustainability and Innovation

Dr Peng Zhou announced the special issue on "Entrepreneurship and Open Innovation from the Perspective of Sustainable Business Models" in the journal Sustainability (SSCI, JCR Q1 in Geography, Planning and Development, impact factor 3.9). Welcome to submit your paper.

Deadline: 12 May 2024.

WIRED Workshop Series 2023

The WIRED Workshop on Systematic Literature Review was successfully carried out on 26 October 2023. Dr Peng Zhou, the director of WIRED, introduced this new approach to the economic/finance faculty and PhD students. The event also delivered two useful case studies by Shijie Jin (A&F Section) and Ying Zhang (Surrey University). The hybrid workshop attracted more than 20 economists from Swansea University, Loughborough University, and Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (China). The WIRED Workshop recording is available online.