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Economics & Policy

Economics and Policy group members

The Economics & Policy group analyses how economics can improve economic growth and business performance; and how public policy can be improved to enhance economic growth, sustainability and the quality of life.

The research of the group falls broadly into the following categories:

  • Competition policy and regulation (Christos Genakos)
  • Decision-making under extreme uncertainty (Jochen Runde)
  • Energy economics and policy (David Reiner and Michael Pollitt)
  • Econometric and statistical methods (Paul Kattuman and Christos Genakos)
  • Explanation in the social sciences (Jochen Runde)
  • Innovation (Michael Kitson and Christos Genakos)
  • Macroeconomic policy and performance (Michael Kitson)
  • Productivity measurement and the regulation of utilities (Michael Pollitt and Christos Genakos)
  • Social ontology and the ontology of technology (Jochen Runde and Philip Faulkner)
  • The modelling of public policy, particularly concerning climate change (Chris Hope)
  • Auctions and negotiations (Antonio Rosato and Michael Pollitt)
  • Behavioural economics (Antonio Rosato, Michael Pollitt and Christos Genakos)
  • Industrial organisation (Antonio Rosato and Christos Genakos)


  • Genakos, Christos
    University Senior Lecturer in Economics
  • Hope, Chris
    Reader in Policy Modelling
  • Kattuman, Paul
    Reader in Economics, Director of Teaching
  • Kitson, Michael
    University Senior Lecturer in International Macroeconomics, Deputy Director of the MBA Programme
  • Pollitt, Michael
    Professor of Business Economics, Director of the MPhil in Technology Policy Programme, Assistant Director of the Energy Policy Research Group, Head of the Economics & Policy Subject Group
  • Reiner, David
    University Senior Lecturer in Technology Policy
  • Rosato, Antonio
    University Senior Lecturer in Economics
  • Runde, Jochen
    Professor of Economics & Organisation, Director of Faculty
  • Soufani, Khaled
    Director of the Executive MBA Programme, Director of the Middle East Research Centre, Senior Faculty in Management Practice

Lecturer and Senior Lecturer are equivalent to Assistant Professor in North American terminology. Reader is equivalent to Associate Professor with tenure in North American terminology.

PhD students

Research staff

  • Ajayi, Victor
    Research Associate, Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG)
  • Anaya Stucchi, Karim
    Research Associate
  • Chyong, Chi Kong
    Research Associate, Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG)
  • Deakin, Simon
    Director of the Centre for Business Research (CBR)
  • Hughes, Alan
    Margaret Thatcher Professor Emeritus of Enterprise Studies, and Senior Research Associate, Centre for Business Research (CBR)
  • Ritz, Robert
    Senior Research Associate, Assistant Director of the Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG)

Honorary appointments

The research of the group is informed and stimulated by regular interactions with a wide range of regional, national and international organisations such as: the European Union; the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy; National Infrastructure Commission; the US Environmental Protection Agency; UK Met Office and Committee on Climate Change; and the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem). It provides advice and policy inputs at Prime Ministerial and Ministerial levels in the UK and abroad.

The group also maintains long-standing collaborations with leading academic institutions around the world including Stanford University Energy Modelling Forum, MIT's Center for Energy and Environmental Policy and CSIRO.

Members of the group are also actively engaged in business and policy engagement through:

  • the Centre for Business Research (CBR), which conducts interdisciplinary research on enterprise, innovation and governance in contemporary market economies, and whose research is used by managers, policy-makers and regulators in numerous countries.
  • the Energy Policy Forum (EPF), which facilitates knowledge exchange between the Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG) and a range of organisations including government departments, regulators, energy companies and consumer organisations.
  • the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP), whose aim is to improve public policy through the more effective use of evidence and expertise. It does this by facilitating visits to the University of Cambridge of civil servants from various government departments and agencies, as well as leading private companies with technology policy interests.

The members of the group publish in leading journals and also disseminate their work through other channels to ensure the maximum impact on policy and practice. The CBR, EPRG and UK-IRC also produce a range of publications and presentations which are available via their websites:

Upcoming seminars

Lent Term 2018

Pro-Market Regulatory Reform: An Applied Method and Impact Analysis
Dr Sean Ennis, OECD Competition Division

17:00-18:30, 30 January 2018
Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School


Government regulations have the capacity to create excessive restrictions on business activity in a way that reduces competition. Policymakers need to consider whether reforms to promote competition are worthwhile and, if so, how to create such reforms. This paper outlines an operational method for reviewing regulations to identify potential restrictions on competition and develop alternative, less restrictive policies. The method presented has been used in large scales reviews of regulation in 16 sectors in 4 economies. The question remains of whether pro-competitive reforms yield substantial benefits. Based on an ex post study of pro-competitive reforms, price impacts are in many cases comparable to the elimination of cartels. One explanation could be that both private cartels and government anti-competitive regulation can equally create quantity and entry constraints that are the underlying generator of anti-competitive price impacts.

Speaker bio

Dr Sean F. Ennis is currently a Senior Economist in the Competition Division of the OECD engaged in economic analysis for competition law and policy, including consumer impacts, cartels, regulated and digital sectors and fines and damages. Previously, he was the Executive Director of the Competition Commission of Mauritius from 2011 to 2013. He leads the OECD work on competition assessment of regulations.

Before that, he served as a Senior Economist at the OECD, where he initiated and led the OECD’s competition assessment project, an international effort to develop and foster best practice for identifying and removing the anticompetitive effects of regulation. He also was responsible for OECD work on competition and reform in regulated industries in support of the OECD’s Working Party on Competition and Regulation. Prior to that, he worked as an economist at both the European Commission’s DG Competition and at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, developing economic analyses for competition law investigations. Sean Ennis received a BA (Hons) in Economics from King’s College, University of Cambridge and a PhD in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Previous seminars

Michaelmas Term 2017

Internet & Politics: Evidence from UK Local Elections & Local Government Policies
Tommaso Valletti, Chief Competition Economist at the Directorate General for Competition, European Commission, and Professor of Economics at Imperial College Business School

17:45-18:45, 17 October 2017
Lecture Theatre 1, Cambridge Judge Business School


We empirically study the effects of broadband internet diffusion on local election outcomes and on local government policies using rich data from the UK. Our analysis suggests that the Internet has displaced other media with greater news content (i.e. radio and newspapers), thereby decreasing voter turnout, most notably among less-educated and younger individuals. In turn, we find suggestive evidence that local government expenditures and taxes are lower in areas with greater broadband diffusion, particularly expenditures targeted at less-educated voters. Our findings are consistent with the idea that voters’ information plays a key role in determining electoral participation, government policies and government size.

Speaker bio

Tommaso Valletti has a magna cum laude degree in engineering from Turin and holds a MSc and a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics. He is Professor of Economics at Imperial College Business School, and also Professor of Economics at the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" (Italy). He has previously taught at the London School of Economics, Telecom ParisTech/Ecole Polytechnique, and Turin.

Tommaso is the Director of the PhD programme at Imperial College Business School. He is currently on leave, as he has been appointed Chief Competition Economist of the European Commission (Directorate General for Competition) as of September 2016.

Tommaso’s main research interests are in industrial economics, regulation, and telecommunications economics. Tommaso has held several editorial positions (Editor of Information Economics & Policy, Associate Editor of the Journal of Industrial Economics and of Economica). He has published numerous articles in journals such as the American Economic Review, Economic Journal, Information Systems Research, Journal of the European Economic Association, Journal of Industrial Economics, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Marketing Science, and RAND Journal of Economics.

He is a Fellow of CEPR and of ENCORE. He is a member of the panel of academic advisors to Ofcom, the UK communications regulator. He was also a member of the panel of academic advisors of the UK Competition Commission. Tommaso was Academic Director of the Centre for Regulation in Europe in Brussels, in 2012-2016. He was a board director of Consip, the Italian Public Procurement Agency, in 2002-2005. He has advised numerous bodies, including the European Commission, OECD, and the World Bank on topics such as network interconnection, mobile telephony markets, and spectrum auctions.

The Dynamics of Technology Adoption & Vertical Restraints: An Empirical Analysis
Professor Michelle Sovinsky, University of Mannheim

17:30-18:30, 24 October 2017
Lecture Theatre 2, Cambridge Judge Business School


This paper studies the impact of vertical restraints in the x86 processor industry, where a dominant upstream supplier (Intel) competes with a smaller contender, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). During the studied period, Intel’s strategy included a controversial program, "Intel Inside", through which it offered downstream clients rebates and subsidies that were conditioned on the volume purchased from it and, sometimes, on the volume purchased from AMD. We document the manner by which such restraints interact with the dynamic process of downstream technology adoption. Our preliminary results indicate, first, that Intel’s restraints were binding: restrictions imposed on a downstream client reduced the rate of its AMD adoption. They also illustrate the role played by dynamics and downstream clients’ expectations: we find that (i) adoption of the AMD technology by a given downstream firm was negatively affected by restrictions imposed on other downstream firms, and that (ii) adoption was an increasing function of the intensity of antitrust litigation against Intel.

Speaker bio

Michelle Sovinsky is a Professor of Economics at the University of Mannheim, a research fellow of the Center of Economic Policy Research (CEPR), an associate of the University of Chicago Becker Friedman Institute, and a research fellow of the Economics Network for Competition and Regulation. She received her PhD in Economics at the University of Virginia and has been on the faculty in the United States (at the University of Southern California) and in Europe and has held visiting professorships in the US, Europe, and Australia.

She currently serves on the executive board of European Association for Research in Industrial Economics Society (EARIE) and has served on the panel for EARIE and the European Economics Association meetings many times. She was the EARIE Scientific Program Chair in 2015. She is also a co-editor at the International Journal of Industrial Organization and on the Editoral Panel of Economic Policy.

Her research focuses on using game-theoretic modeling with empirical analysis to examine policy issues in industrial organisation and applied health. Her research covers a wide range of topics including individual-decision making under limited information and the implications for firms’ decisions and market power; and the antitrust implications of research collaboration or advertising expenditures; the analysis of decisions concerning long-term care for the elderly; and how individuals make risky decisions concerning their health, drug use, or eating behaviours.

Her research has implications for the design of public health policy and antitrust/competition policy and has been published in American Economic Review, Econometrica, the International Economic Review, and the Journal of Human Resources.

She received an ERC Consolidators Grant for the period 2017-2022 for the project "Illicit Products, Unknown Competitors, and Illegal Behavior" (FORENSICS), which the ERC supports with over 1.2 million euros.

Carbon Pricing & Firm Profits: Theory & Estimates for US Airlines
Dr Robert Ritz, University of Cambridge

17:30-18:30, 31 October 2017
Lecture Theatre 2, Cambridge Judge Business School


We present a new model to estimate the impacts of carbon pricing on firm-level profits, and use it to analyse future climate policy for the US airline industry. Our theoretical approach nests many familiar models of imperfect competition as special cases; it shows how the rate of carbon cost pass-through is a "sufficient statistic" for the profit impact of carbon pricing. Our pass-through estimates reveal substantial heterogeneity across airlines: at a $50/tCO2 tax, the large legacy carriers experience an average profit loss of six per cent of revenue – while low-cost Southwest Airlines’ profit rises by one per cent. We think of our approach as "quasi-structural": it uses theory to identify the drivers of profit impacts and then completes their estimation using reduced-form econometrics.

Speaker bio

Dr Robert Ritz is Assistant Director of the Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG) at the University of Cambridge; a Senior Research Associate in Economics & Policy at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, and a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge.

Robert serves on the Academic Panel of the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) and is a Principal at Vivid Economics, a London-based consultancy. Earlier in his career, he worked at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and McKinsey & Company; he has also been a visiting scholar at the Bank of England and MIT.

Robert’s research interests span industrial organisation, energy economics (oil & gas, electricity & carbon markets) and climate policy. His current projects are on market-based environmental policy, the economics of cost pass-through, and the design of high-renewables electricity markets.

He holds a DPhil in Economics from Nuffield College, University of Oxford, an MA in Financial Economics from the University of St Andrews, and attended the University of Pennsylvania and its Wharton School as a visiting McNeil Scholar.

Heterogenous Time Preferences & Hyperbolic Discounting: Evidence from the UK Mortgage Market
Dr Pasquale Schiraldi, London School of Economics

17:30-19:00, 7 November 2017
Lecture Theatre 2, Cambridge Judge Business School


We estimate a dynamic discrete-continuous model of mortgage demand, in which forward-looking borrowers choose the type (for instance, interest rate type and length) and quantity of mortgages. Borrowers are assumed to have time separable utility, with quasi-hyperbolic discounting. Time preference plays an important role in understanding inter-temporal economic behaviour. Typically, time preferences are not estimated in dynamic discrete choice models except under special exclusion restrictions (Magnac Thesmar, 2002), we instead provide identification through the addition of the continuous choice over quantity borrowed. An existing literature on quasi-hyperbolic discounting focuses on continuous choices (for example, savings), to which we are able to add the demand for commitment embedded in the discrete choice over mortgage products. Our reduced-form results confirm the effect of commitment on borrowing decisions, as well as the effect of dynamic inconsistency on demand for commitment. We then use the structural model to quantify the potential welfare implications of modifying the set of products so to improve consumers’ commitment.

Speaker bio

Pasquale Schiraldi is a Lecturer of Economics at London School of Economics. His research interests are in industrial organisation, applied econometrics and microeconomic theory. His work focuses on durable goods and dynamic pricing, auctions and market design, demand estimation, consumer behaviour, and their implications on industry structure, competition and welfare. He is a faculty research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research and Associate Editor at the International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Incentives & Rank Concerns in Managerial Tournaments
Dr Julia Shvets, University of Cambridge

18:00-19:30, 14 November 2017
Lecture Theatre 3, Cambridge Judge Business School


Many firms use relative performance pay in which they rank employees. In such a setting, an employee’s actions may not only be shaped by incentives but also by concerns about their rank. This paper studies incentive and rank effects faced by store managers in a large firm where bonus is determined through a high powered tournament. The study looks at managers’ response to performance feedback, using the rules of the tournament to separate the impact of incentives from that of rank. On the margin, findings show that managers ignore incentives, but respond to rank. Their response suggests desire to catch up: when managers get a bad rank on either profit or service, they respond by improving performance. Furthermore, the study shows that managers achieve these improvements by making corresponding changes to labour variables, their main levers of control.

Speaker bio

Dr Julia Shvets is a Senior College Lecturer in Economics at Christ’s College, Cambridge and a member of Empirical Microeconomics Group at the Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

Julia is a microeconomist who is interested in what drives human beings. She uses data on individual decisions to gather evidence on often hidden forces that shape people’s actions. For example, she has shown how a judge’s decisions can depend on who had appointment the judge; and how politicians’ decisions can change when the pressure to get re-elected falls. Currently, in collaboration with a large firm, Julia is studying behaviour of managers, using historical and experimental data. She lectures behavioural and experimental economics at the University of Cambridge.

Julia was born in Soviet Russia, and received her undergraduate degree from Auburn University in Alabama and a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She first came to Cambridge as a Junior Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College. She has also worked at an economic consultancy in London and New York, and in a team of policy advisors to the Russian government.

Do Tax Incentives for Research Increase Firm Innovation? An RD Design for R&D
Dr Ralf Martin, Imperial College Business School

17:30-19:00, 21 November 2017
Lecture Theatre 2, Cambridge Judge Business School


Ralf will present evidence of a causal impact of research and development (R&D) tax incentives on innovation. The study exploits a change in the asset-based size thresholds for eligibility for R&D tax subsidies and implement a Regression Discontinuity Design using administrative tax data on the population of UK firms. There are statistically and economically significant effects of the tax change on both R&D and patenting (even when quality-adjusted). R&D tax price elasticities are large at about 2.6, probably because the treated group is from a sub-population of smaller firms and subject to financial constraints. There does not appear to be pre-policy manipulation of assets around the thresholds that could undermine our design. Over the 2006-2011 period aggregate business R&D would be around 10 per cent lower in the absence of the tax relief scheme. We also show that the R&D generated by the tax policy creates positive spillovers on the innovations of technologically related firms.

Speaker bio

Dr Ralf Martin joined Imperial College Business School in September 2011. In his research he examines how government policies affect business performance. He is particularly focusing on climate change policies, to understand which policies are most effective and efficient in reducing greenhouse gas emission and what effect these policies have on other aspects of business performance.

Easter Term 2017

The Decline of Science in Corporate R&D
Dr Andrea Patacconi, Norwich Business School

15:00-16:00, 17 May 2017
Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School


In this paper, Andrea will discuss document a shift away from science by large corporations between 1980 and 2006. Findings show that publications by company scientists have declined over time in a range of industries. Also, that the value attributable to scientific research has dropped, whereas the value attributable to technical knowledge (as measured by patents) has remained stable. These trends are unlikely to be driven exclusively by changes in publication practices. Further science continues to be useful as an input into innovation. The evidence points to a reduction of the private benefits of internal research. Large firms still value the golden eggs of science (as reflected in patents) but seem to be increasingly unwilling to invest in the golden goose itself (the scientific capabilities).

Speaker bio

Andrea Patacconi is Senior Lecturer in Strategy Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia. From 2009 to 2013, he held a position as Sixth Century Lecturer in Economics and Management at the University of Aberdeen Business School. Before that, he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford. Andrea has a BA in Economics from the University of Bologna (summa cum laude) and a PhD in Economics from the University of Oxford.

Andrea’s research interests focus on organisation design, interfirm collaboration (particularly corporate groups and strategic alliances), business ecosystems, and corporate science. His work has appeared in Strategic Management Journal, Research Policy, RAND Journal of Economics and Journal of Public Economics. His recent research has been discussed in the media such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, and policy circles including, the US Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the UK Parliamentary and Scientific Committee.

Andrea’s research has been funded by the Fell Fund, the Technology Strategy Board and the British Academy. He teaches at both the undergraduate and postgraduate (MBA and MSc) level. Andrea enjoys working with organisations such as HP Labs and has started a small family business with his brother. In his spare time, he enjoys playing tennis and football.

Seminars are added as they are arranged.

View a list of all Cambridge Judge research seminars