Research in the Bristol Centre for Economics and Finance

Research in the Bristol Centre for Economics and Finance (BCEF) encompasses a wide range of topics in accounting, economics and finance. Our research has attracted academic funding from the ESRC, the Wellcome Trust, the EPSRC, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the British Academy, and the European Union, as well as external consultancy projects.

Much of our research has a national or international reputation and, in some areas, (such as understanding modern financial systems, or confidentiality) BCEF researchers are world leaders.

Our core competencies

Our core competencies are in data and policy analysis, where we have strength across the disciplines. In addition, the Centre provides specialist knowledge grouped under the following five themes:

  • how does the modern (international) economy fit together, and what drives it?
  • how can we use accounting and economic theory to understand businesses better?
  • what drives people, and wider societal change?
  • how well do we understand and manage the data we use to make decisions?
  • are we helping people to learn skills that are relevant, useful and up to date?

We are a strongly collaborative group, working with researchers in universities and think-tanks in the UK, Europe and across the world. We also work with professional bodies such as the ICAEW, ACCA and CIMA, and practitioner groups such as the Administrative Data Research Network.

Working paper series

We currently have two working papers series, which are:

List of experts

We maintain a list of experts on topics that often come up in the media. For example, recent subjects hitting the headlines include:

  • the National Living Wage
  • inflation, unemployment, growth and other government statistics
  • corporate financial performance and accountability
  • international financial markets
  • wealth and earnings inequality.

Research specialisms

We have research interests in the areas below:

Understanding economies

  • Financial markets, asset pricing, and corporate and SME finance
  • Money, banking, and the political economy of modern financial systems
  • Development and transition, industrialisation, international economics
  • Regional and urban economies, geographical variation
  • Productivity and growth

Understanding businesses and government

  • Management accounting and control
  • Corporate governance and reporting, auditing, disclosure
  • Wages, outsourcing and casualisation, low pay and apprentices
  • Modelling business value
  • Financing and organisation in the Third Sector
  • Institutions, corruption, evolution of organisations
  • Corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and self-organising systems
  • International financial standards

Understanding people and society

  • Behaviour, governance and decision-making
  • Health, wellbeing and happiness
  • Migration
  • Equality and discrimination

Understanding data

  • Confidentiality, privacy, data management and ‘big data’
  • Economic and government statistics

Understanding understanding

  • History and methods of economic thought
  • Higher and professional education in accounting, economics and finance


We provide advice and consulting for a range of external organisations. Our research and advice aims to be academically rigorous, but we work with our partners to ensure that our analyses are useful, relevant and meaningful. Much of our consulting work is repeat business.

Our clients for consultancy and advice in recent years include:

  • businesses in the region, including charities, law firms, sports clubs, high-tech manufacturers, energy companies and banks
  • local governments and autonomous bodies in the South West and Wales: the Welsh Government, Bristol City Council, West of England LEP, Business West
  • UK government: the Intellectual Property Office, the Office for National Statistics, the Department for Business Enterprise Industry and Skills, the Low Pay Commission, UK Trade and Investment
  • international bodies: Eurostat, European Commission, European Parliament research units, Australian and Greek governments, European Central Bank, World Bank, International Labour Organisation.

Professional development

Our CPD courses are driven by two principles:

  • What do we have expertise in?
  • What can we usefully offer to external organisations?

At present we offer off-the-shelf courses, delivered at UWE Bristol or at the workplace, on:

  • modelling business value (one day)
  • statistics and econometrics (two four-day courses)
  • investment appraisal (one day)
  • understanding financial markets (one day).

We are happy to discuss proposals for other courses.

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