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Economics of social policy including behavioural economics

Recycling bins provided by Hackney Council, London. Photo: Claire Rowland

Research by members of the Economics discipline at the OU has made its mark in exploring the economics of social issues, in particular in the areas of inequalities, gender, health, social and child care, pensions, tax and benefit systems and financial capabilities.
Our research is not restricted to the economy as traditionally conceived, defined by the boundaries of the market, but explores the intersections of the market with other social institutions. We understand markets as socially produced, subject to and causing change through their interaction with other institutions.

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:

  • Dynamics of gendered relations
  • Interface between family and markets
  • Economics of care
  • Direct and indirect effects of policy choices
  • Financial capability and financial decision making
  • Application of portfolio theory to consumer choice
  • Behavioural economics
  • Pension reform.

Further information

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

Ms 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.