Skip to content

Toggle service links

Development economics: health, wellbeing, human development and innovation

Women traders travel to market, Oyo State, Nigeria. Photo: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

The Economics discipline at the OU takes an international view of economics research, and has also produced influential research in development economics, with particular reference to health, capabilities and wellbeing. Research has included a focus on concepts of human capabilities (what we are able to be and do) and how they can be operationalised to produce broad and innovative measures of human wellbeing, as well as the application of development economics and economic-anthropological fieldwork methods to the analysis of markets in 'social' goods such as health care, mainly in low-income contexts.

Members of the discipline are available to supervise related topics of a theoretical nature, combining economic theory and philosophy; or of an empirical nature using econometric, survey or interview methods. 

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent), with masters degree preferred

Potential research projects

Topics could include:

  • Commercialisation of health systems in developing countries
  • Econometric analysis of welfare measures including happiness and capabilities
  • Philosophy and economic theory - especially social choice or decision theory
  • Economic analysis of UK health systems
  • Survey design for welfare economics
  • The capabilities approach applied to any area or topic in welfare economics
  • Health, innovation and equity.

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Jan Smith
+44 (0)1908 654456

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.