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).


Our team of seven is led by Professor Mark Hart and engages with the processes which determine effective innovation and their links to firm performance and higher productivity growth. It includes work on:

  • International knowledge sourcing
  • Intellectual property (IP) activity of multinationals in the UK
  • Trademarking activity
  • Human capital concentrations
  • Innovation and competitiveness

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

The work by Professor Mark Rogers and Dr Vania Sena on the intellectual property system funded by the UKIPO has influenced the reform of the IP regime in the UK. The Economics & Strategy Group is also part of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) consortium and currently runs the GEM UK annual household survey, which measures the entrepreneurial activity of working aged adults.

International Business

Our research addresses a broad range of topics including operations of SMEs and business start-ups, networks and social capital, entrepreneurial behaviours and growth aspirations, social entrepreneurship, family businesses, women entrepreneurship, migrant entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship and regional development. Our research covers three main themes:

Foreign direct investment (FDI), tax heavens, merger and acquisition (M&As), outsourcing and offshoring

  • Strategies and operations of multinational enterprises (MNEs)
  • Economic implications of inward and outward FDI
  • Utilization of tax heavens by MNEs
  • Determinants and outcomes of tax heaven FDI
  • FDI investment promotion strategies
  • MNEs and corporate social responsibility
  • Determinants and outcomes of offshoring and reshoring strategies. 

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.

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 include banking regulation, volatility forecasting, tail risk, real options, dividend policy, hedge and mutual funds, and corporate governance. We benefit from extensive connections with central banks and financial institutions, such as Lloyds Bank. 

Our research-active members publish in well-ranked academic journals such as: European Journal of Operational Research

  • Journal of Banking and Finance
  • International Journal of Finance and Economics
  • European Financial Management
  • Journal of Futures Markets
  • Journal of Business Research
  • Economics Letters. 
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: