School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Professor Paul Downward

Photo of Professor Paul Downward

Professor Paul Downward graduated from Staffordshire University (formerly North Staffordshire Polytechnic) with a first class honours degree in Economics in 1988. He subsequently graduated with an MA in Economics from the University of Manchester in 1990 and a PhD in Economics from the University of Leeds in 1996.

Professor Downward has previously worked at Aston Business School and Staffordshire University, before coming to Loughborough in 2004.

Professor Downward has wide ranging interests in sport and physical activity. He has recently helped to edit a volume on Sport Management being responsible for the contributions from economics. He has published two books on the Economics of Sports. He is currently planning a second edition of one of these volumes and a Handbook on Sports Economics.  He is currently embarked on studies of the determinants and the health, well-being and labour market impacts of sports and physical activity in the UK, as well as sports volunteering. He welcomes PhD applications in these areas.

He also has an interest in the research philosophy, methods and ethics of economics, has published in these areas, and engaged in ESRC and other funded postgraduate training workshops.

Professor Downward is currently supervising PhDs in the areas of:

  • The productivity of professional football players
  • Facility ownership and strategy impacts on physical activity participation
  • The effects of Active Travel on Well-being

Professor Downward’s research and consultancy has included working with UK Sport exploring the motivations and expectations of event volunteering, with reference to the Manchester Commonwealth Games, and exploring the sports development implications of volunteering at mega events. He has also worked with Sport England exploring participation in sports and leisure in the UK, the role of sports clubs in promoting participation and in evaluating the Invest to Save project. He has also worked with SUSTRANS exploring the profile and economic impact of cycle tourism; the status and future visions of Sport for All in Europe for the International Olympic Committee and evaluated England Netball’s elite player development. Professor Downward was a recent member of the Loughborough University consortium working with, ECORYS and Grant Thornton developing a Meta-Evaluation of the Impacts and Legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games for the DCMS and has also been engaged by the Commonwealth to work on the production of Consultancy to produce supporting content on good governance of sport to contribute to CABOS guidance to Commonwealth Governments on Integrity in Sport. Most recently Professor Downward has worked with colleagues from Sheffield Hallam University for Sport England on survey question development for the new Active Lives Survey focusing on understanding volunteering in sport and participation in organised sport. He is also leading a British Academy funded project investigating the health, well-being and social capital outcomes of participation in sport in the light of the rapidly changing supply-side structure of sport to explore if neoliberalism and the consequent development of the private-sector provision and management of sports and fitness opportunities promote or reduce public well-being and social inclusion.  

Professor Downward is the Associate editor of European Sport Management Quarterly, and serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Sports Economics, The Journal of Sport and Tourism and Sport Management Review.

He is also a member of UEFA’s Research Grants Committee.

  • Downward, P. and Dawson, P. (2015). Is it pleasure or health from leisure that we benefit from most?  An analysis of well-being alternatives and implications for policy.Social Indicators Research, DOI 10.1007/s11205-015-0887-8
  • Downward, P. Greene, W. and Rasciute, S. (forthcoming, 2014) Do relational goods raise well-being?: An econometric analysis, Eastern Economic Journal
  • Downward, P. and Rasciute, S. (forthcoming, 2014) Exploring the covariates of sports participation for health: An Analysis of Males and Females in England. Journal of Sports Sciences. 33(1), 67-76, DOI: 10.1080/02640414.201
  • Downward, P., Parrish, R., Pearson, G. and Semens, A. (forthcoming, 2014) An Assessment of the Compatibility of UEFA’s Home Grown Player Rule with Article 45 TFEU, European Law Journal.
  • Downward, P., Lera-Lopez, F. and Rasciute, S. (2014) The covariates of sports participation in Europe, European Journal of Sport Science. 14(6), 592-602, DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2014.880191
  • Dawson, P., Downward, P. and Mills, T. (2014) Olympic news and attitudes towards the Olympics: A compositional time-series analysis of how sentiment is affected by events,  Journal of Applied Statistics, 41(6): 1307–1314,
  • Pawlowski, T., Downward, P. and Rasciute, S. (2014) Does national pride from international sporting success contribute to well-being? An international investigationSport Management Review,  41(6): 1307–1314,
  • Downward, P., Hallmann, K. and Pawlowski, T. (2014) Assessing parental impact on the sports participation of children: A socio-economic analysis of the UK, European Journal of Sport Sciences, 14(1): 84-90.
  • Downward, P., Pawlowski, T. and Rasciute, S. (2014) Does associational behaviour raise social capital?, Eastern Economic Journal 40: 150-165 doi:10.1057/eej.2013.26.
  • Dawson, P. and Downward, P. (2013) The Relationship Between Participation in Sport and Sport Volunteering: An Economic Analysis, International Journal of Sport Finance,  8 (1): 75-92.