I am a graduate of Newcastle University with a PhD in agricultural economics from Manchester University. I was formerly Lord Richard Percy Fellow in the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle, co-editing an influential book on the rural economy and the British countryside. I was appointed to a lectureship at Dundee in 1995 and promoted to a personal chair in 2014. I currently act as the PhD Co-Director of the Scottish Graduate Programme in Economics.
Areas of expertise
- Health inequalities
- Income redistribution
- Social Mobility
An agricultural economist by training, I have an established profile within this field for my work over more than a decade on the economic welfare of the farming community and the redistributive impacts of the Common Agricultural Policy. More broadly, since moving to Dundee, I have also published on the evolution of the racial wage hierarchy in the South African labour market; imperfect competition among multiproduct firms; and the characterisation and measurement of income mobility as a process of distributional transformation.
However, the main focus of my current research is on the relationship between health and socioeconomic status, where the perceived importance of this topic stems from the increasing recognition among policymakers that reductions in socioeconomic health inequalities will not be achieved through health policies and health care systems alone but will require action across the whole range of public policies that impact on the health of individuals and communities. In particular, my research in this burgeoning field seeks to develop longitudinal or follow-up methods to determine whether health inequalities primarily arise from chronic or transient patterns of social disadvantage, to monitor and explain changes in health inequalities over time, and to evaluate interventions designed to tackle health inequalities. My most recent work proposes novel stratification measures that may be used both to evaluate differences in health and wellbeing between population subgroups using ordinal data and to investigate the sociodemographic determinants of such inequalities.
- Health, Welfare and Education
Impact and Knowledge Exchange
The focus of my work on health inequalities contributes directly to the University’s key themes of promoting social change to enhance diversity, justice and socio-economic prosperity by understanding and improving health and wellbeing. In particular, the development of a deeper understanding of the socioeconomic determinants of health inequalities and the tools to evaluate the effectiveness of policies designed to tackle such disparities have the potential to transform lives both locally within Dundee and further afield. The social sciences have a critical role to play in this endeavour as reductions in health inequalities will not be achieved through health policies and health care systems alone but will require action across the whole range of public policies that impact on the health of individuals and communities.
I am a founding member of Scottish Health Economics (SHE), which aims to support, promote and further develop Health Economics in Scotland by acting as a vehicle for widening engagement with and bringing together users and producers of health economics who are interested in the development and application of health economics in Scotland, and currently sit on the SHE Steering Group. In 2021, I hosted a summer internship under the auspices of Economics Futures, which is a SFC-funded scheme to create more opportunities for students who are interested in a career within applied economics, on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients’ experiences of general practice.
I am an expert reviewer for the NHS National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme. I have previously been a member of the Scottish Government ScotStat Agriculture Committee and the ESRC Collaborative Governmental Postgraduate Studentship Assessment Panel.
I currently teach econometrics and microeconomic policy as core components of the Economic Studies Honours programme, as well as contributing to a team-taught module on the economics of an unequal world. At postgraduate level, I contribute to a module on Applied Research Methods as Strategic Tools as part of the Professional Doctorate programme and also teach health inequalities, which is my main area of research interest, as part of the Health Economics MSc option course offered by the Scottish Graduate Programme in Economics based in Edinburgh. More broadly, I have considerable experience of the academic management of teaching programmes, most notably from having been the Director of the MA Programme at Dundee for nearly a decade.