SPERI researchers are currently working on a wide range of research projects


The Global Business of Forced Labour

Funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council

Led by Genevieve LeBaron with Ellie Gore and Tom Hunt, this project investigates the business of forced labour in global agricultural production, focusing on tea and cocoa supply chains feeding UK markets. It has explored the factors that create business ‘demand’ for forced labour within global supply chains; the business models of forced labour in cocoa and tea supply chains, and the effectiveness of corporate social responsibility initiatives like ‘ethical’ certification and anti-slavery laws in combating the business of forced labour.

Genevieve LeBaron is also working on Combatting Modern Slavery Through Business Leadership at the Bottom of the Supply Chain, a project funded by The British Academy and the UK Department for International Development, and on The Hidden Costs of Global Supply Chains, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


Inclusive Growth and Development: The Multilateral and Multidimensional Challenge

Led by Colin Hay, Allister McGregor and Tom Hunt, this project reflects on the multilevel and multilateral character of the challenge of inclusive growth and aims to broaden the inclusive growth agenda beyond its typically national focus. The project involves collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Colin Hay is also working on projects on the immediate and longer-term consequences of Brexit, the political economy of globalisation and regionalisation in the wake of the global financial and Eurozone crises, and the challenge of public good provision in a context of widescale public distrust of public good providers.


Capitalising on the European Crisis: New Geographies of Economic Power in the EU

Funded by The Leverhulme Trust

Led by Scott Lavery, this project, through a series of comparative case studies analyses (i) how rival financial hubs within EU urban centres seek to ‘capitalise’ on Brexit and (ii) how industrial clusters integrated into northern EU supply chains differentially benefit from imbalances within the Eurozone. The project advances a distinctive political economy account of the changing geography of financial and industrial power within an increasingly unstable European order.


Post-Neoliberalism: Re-examining Neoliberalism in a time of Growing Illiberalism

Funded by The Leverhulme Trust

Led by Leverhulme Visiting Professor Jacqueline Best, this project will develop new research on economic liberalism, finance and economic practices. At a moment of massive uncertainty and instability, the project will re-examine neoliberalism in the context of rising illiberalism around the globe to consider how we assess the past and future of economic liberalism.


At The Intersections: Understanding LGBT Rights, HIV Prevention, and Queer Political Activism in Ghana

Funded by a UK Economic and Social Research Council White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership Research Fellowship

Led by Ellie Gore, this project examines the landscape of queer political activism in Accra, Ghana. It is particularly concerned with the connections (and disconnections) between HIV prevention initiatives aimed at Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), development interventions on LGBT rights, and local forms of queer political organising and activism.


Paradigm Shifts in Economic Thought, Policy and Discourse

Led by Michael Jacobs, this project explores the idea of a post-neoliberal ‘paradigm shift’ in economic theory, discourse and policy. It includes empirical work on current developments in economic theory and research, and theoretical work on the development of a non-neoclassical economic synthesis.


The Changing Nature of Social Care in an Era of Austerity: The Rise of Food Banks Across Europe

Funded by The British Academy

Led by Hannah Lambie-Mumford, this project brings together academic partners in Spain, Germany and the UK for one of the first systematic comparative studies to explore what the rise of food charity reveals about the changing nature of care for people in or at risk of poverty in contemporary Europe. The research looks at the extent to which the simultaneous rise of food banks and implementation of austerity and welfare reform policies in these countries represents a systematic privatisation and localisation of care for those in food insecurity.


The Political Economy of the Weinstein Scandal

Founded by Liam Stanley, the Postgraduate Research Experience Programme in Political Economy (PREPPE) offers an opportunity for students on the SPERI-affiliated MA in Global Political Economy in the Department of Politics to participate in a new collaborative research project with SPERI academics. A team of four students are collaborating with Liam Stanley, Ellie Gore and Genevieve LeBaron to co-author an academic article that will contribute to feminist political economy, approaches to the politics of scandal, and to our understanding of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the #MeToo movement and the Global Politics of Sexual Violence.


Valuing Nature

Funded by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, The Wellcome Trust and VolkswagenStiftung (‘Europe and Global Challenges’ initiative)

The international ValNat Project investigates the political consequences of ‘ecosystem service’ valuation. Led at SPERI by Martin Craig, his research explores the politics of river basin planning in the UK.


Breaking Bad: Understanding Violence at the Intersection Between Transnational Organised Crime, Community, and Masculinities in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and Arts and Humanities Research Council (Trans-National Organised Crime Cross-disciplinary Innovation Grant)

Led at Sheffield by Matthew Bishop, this collaborative research project seeks to understand how young men ‘break bad’ and turn to violence as drug trafficking intersects with exclusion in the city’s urban margins.


Reimagining Tax Through Speculative Design 

Funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council Impact Accelerator Account

This collaborative project led by Liam Stanley, with Rebecca Bramall, co-produced an alternative to the UK government’s ‘Annual Tax Summary’ using a methodology informed by speculative design. The results have been published in a SPERI report, and were exhibited in October 2018 as part of the London Design Festival.

Liam Stanley is also working on a book project, After neoliberalism? Austerity, life, and death in a post-crisis world, which will contribute to our understanding of the post-crisis world by addressing the question, ‘How did we get from the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 to the nativist backlashes that characterise contemporary politics?’. A third project, Public attitudes toward ‘the undeserving rich’ (with Todd Hartman), uses novel experimental methods to examine what people find more unfair: tax evasion by the wealthy, or welfare fraud by the poor?


Stabilizing the System? New Macroprudential Political Economy in the Twenty First Century

This book project by Andrew Baker researches the comparative and international political economy of macroprudential regimes as a new form of systemic financial governance ten years on from the crisis of 2008.

Andrew Baker is also working on projects to research ‘the finance curse’ as both a real world process and a research agenda, and to research tax spillover – a new multilateral framework and policy field, that takes the form of an international moral harm convention discouraging governments from pursuing tax policies that can be harmful to other states.


Between A Rock and a Hard Place? On the Difficulties of Being the Bank of England in Post-Crisis Britain

Funded by The British Academy

Led by Andrew Hindmoor and Andrew Baker, this research project investigates the politicisation of the Bank of England.