Economics, Finance and Entrepreneurship


Research within the department is generally of an applied nature, often cutting across academic fields, and is designed to be directly relevant to business. Our department comprises over forty research-active members with internationally recognised research backgrounds in the areas of economics, finance and entrepreneurship. 

We are committed to building a strong research profile with outstanding and impactful research on cutting-edge issues. At the core of our research strategy is the development of innovative and internationally recognized research that is applicable for local and international businesses and directly affects policy making.

Our department members have high visibility within the academic community, publish in leading academic journals, and have been successful in attracting extensive research funding over the past several years. 

This includes small and large research council grants, first grants for junior researchers, as well as placement fellowships and publications in leading academic journals such as:

  • Journal of International Business Studies
  • Journal of Business Venturing
  • Research policy
  • British Journal of Management
  • Journal of World Business
  • International Small Business Journal
  • Journal of Business Research
  • International Business Review
  • Regional studies
  • Small Business Economics
  • International Journal of Industrial Organization
  • Journal of Industrial Economics
  • European Journal of Operational Research
  • Journal of Banking and Finance
  • International Journal of Finance and Economics
  • European Financial Management
  • Journal of Futures Markets
  • Economics Letters. 

Our research lies principally within the broad area of applied microeconomics, using individual company or sector data. Areas of research interest include:

  • The economics of innovation     
  • Productivity analysis
  • Regulation and competition
  • The impact of economic reforms and ownership structures on the behaviour and performance of financial and non-financial firms in emerging markets
  • The application of advanced multivariate techniques to a range of data types, particularly the econometric and time series analysis of financial and monetary economics data.

Our economic analysis is characterised by its statistical rigour and relevance to current policy issues. This is evident in our success raising external funding from research councils and other government departments and agencies. Five ESRC/EPSRC awards have been obtained in recent years: two (ESRC) are related to knowledge sourcing and innovation at the firm level; one (ESRC first grant) is on privatization and firm performance in China; and two (EPSRC) awards on the uses of game theory and adaptive networks for smart evacuations and the allocation of economic resources in the fight against crime.  

Two recent projects on innovation have been funded by NESTA: one examining the nature of knowledge sourcing by firms and their links to innovation, and the other exploring developments towards an index of relative innovation performance in UK industrial sectors. Other policy-relevant work has been funded by UKTI/BIS (evaluating the impact of UKTI’s R&D programme) and the Manchester Independent Economic Review (on the links between domestic and inward investment within Manchester city region).


The entrepreneurship team is led by Professors Mark Hart, Tomasz Mickiewicz, and Monder Ram, and  investigates the processes which link entrepreneurship with growth and innovation. It includes work on:

  • Cross-country comparative entrepreneurship and the role of institutions
  • Regional determinants and consequences of entrepreneurship
  • Internationalisation, growth aspirations, and innovation of entrepreneurs
  • Entrepreneurial resilience during the crises
  • Migrant and ethnic minority entrepreneurship

These topics also inform our work on business demography, which seeks to understand the dynamics and determinants of start-up, survival, and growth.

Members of entrepreneurship team are part of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) consortium and run the GEM UK annual household survey, which measures the entrepreneurial activity of working age adults. GEM UK is the prominent source of information on UK trends in entrepreneurship, often cited and used both for research and policy advise.

Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) work with policy makers to promote and support entrepreneurship in diverse communities.

Aston Centre for Growth excels in providing support programmes for businesses, to help them scale-up and perform.

Weekly Entrepreneurship and Regional Development webinars are open to general public; if interested to join, please click here.

International Business

Our research addresses a broad range of topics that cuts across the field of International Business. IB scholars in the Department publish their work in the world’s leading IB journals: Journal of International Business Studies; Journal of World Business; International Business Review, Journal of Business Research; Global Strategy Journal.

Our research covers a number of key themes:


  • Strategies and operations of multinational enterprises (MNEs)
  • Economic implications of inward and outward FDI
  • Utilization of tax havens by MNEs and Profit Shifting
  • FDI investment promotion strategies
  • Determinants and outcomes of outsourcing, offshoring and reshoring strategies
  • Internationalization of small, medium enterprises, business group and family firms 

Productivity, performance, and high-growth firms

  • The determinants of productivity growth
  • Measuring performance and productivity
  • Impact of ownership structure on firms’ performance and productivity
  • The role of business groups and clusters on the firms’ performance
  • Drivers and outcomes of ‘productivity gap’ among nations
  • Drivers and barriers of high-growth firms
  • The contribution of high-growth firms to employment and economic development

Emerging Markets  

  • Internationalization of emerging market multinational enterprises (EMNEs) in advanced and other emerging markets 
  • Role of home government,  local institutions and motivation of EMNEs 
  • Opportunities and challenges faced by western multinationals in emerging markets 

Global Value Chains

  • GVC, outsource offshoring and location choices decision of MNE
  • Governance and orchestration of GVC by global factory multinationals 
  • Reconfiguration of GVCs is affecting participation and development of emerging economies
  • Impact of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguous (VUCA) global economic environment on MNE strategy and GVC configuration   

International Business Policy

  • Role of host government and institutions in attracting FDI
  • Impact of home-host alliance on MNE activity and regional development
  • Industrial clusters and local firms in the MNE’s internationalization strategy

Grand Challenges and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 

  • Impact of grand challenge and SDGs on internationalization strategies 
  • Innovation in business models, products and processes for SDG attainment  
  • MNEs and host-government engagement model for inclusive and sustainable growth 


  • Role of digitalization, artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning in the internationalization
  • Role of the online market places, and other digital platforms, on internationalization and speed of internationalization
  • Adaptation and strategy of leveraging online and digital platforms 
  • Impact of automation and robotics on internalization strategies including, re-shoring offshoring, outsourcing

Knowledge management, Innovation, and Property Rights

  • Firms’ innovation and knowledge management strategies
  • Public and private R&D policies
  • Regional, national and international innovation systems
  • High- and low-tech firms and their knowledge management and R&D strategies
  • Intellectual property protection, and knowledge spillovers

Areas of research within Finance include asset pricing, volatility forecasting, real options, digital finance, blockchain and cryptocurrency, sustainable finance, financial stability, applied financial econometrics, corporate finance, and corporate governance. We benefit from extensive connections with professional bodies like the CFA (Chartered Financial Analysis) Institute, CISI (Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment)  and CMT (Chartered Market Technician) Association.

Our research-active members publish in well-ranked academic journals such as: 

  • Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 
  • Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
  • European Journal of Operational Research
  • Risk Analysis
  • International Journal of Finance and Economics
  • International Review of Financial Analysis
  • Journal of Futures Markets
  • European Journal of Finance
  • Energy Economics
  • Journal of Business Research
People and Publications

A departmental overview (including people and publications) can be accessed on Aston Research Explorer.

Research Centres

The following Research Centres link directly to the work of the department: