Dr Huw Edwards

PhD (Warwick); MSc (York); MA (Cantab)

  • Senior Lecturer in Economics
  • Programme Lead for Economics and Finance MSc

Expertise: trade theory and policy, energy economics, institutional economics, general equilibrium

PhD Warwick (2007). Supervisor Carlo Perroni (initial supervisor John Whalley).

Lecturer in Economics, Loughborough, 2004 to present.
Senior Lecturer in Economics, 2018 to present.

Module organiser

BSP024: Business Economics (second semester postgraduate module)

Team Lecturer on ECB002 (Intermediate Microeconomics) and ECB502 (Fundamental Microeconomics) (second year undergraduate microeconomics modules).

Modules previously taught include first year undergraduate (Microeconomics for Business), second year undergraduate (International Economic Relations, International Economics for Business Students), third year undergraduate (Economics of Transition, Advanced Microeconomics, Game Theory), MSc level (Microeconomics. Economics and International Business in Practice).

I have supervised projects at undergraduate and MSc level.

Programme Director

ECPT31: Economics and Finance MSc.

I was previously undergraduate programmes director for Economics during the merger of Economics and the Business School.

Research interest group leader

Trade Agreements, Negotiation Strategy, Investment and Technology research interest group - research into post-Brexit policy and strategy.

I also headed the Centre for Firms in the Global Economy 2015 to 2016.

Current PhD students

  • Qi Chen (with Bo Gao). Topic: Wage inequality, Unemployment and Skilled-Biased Technology Change (SBTC) in the Global economy. Started January 2019.
  • Yupei Wu (with Bo Gao and Vanessa Valero). Topic: Does Bank Competition lead to Export Product Quality Upgrading?. Started October 2020.
  • Melik Koca (with Bo Gao. Initially with Alok Choudhury). Topic: A Trade Integration Model With Asymmetric ESG Measures. Started October 2021.

Past PhD students as first supervisor

Past PhD students as co-supervisor

  • Daniel Gravino (first supervisor Ben Ferrett). Graduated 2019.
  • Tien-Der Jerry Han (first supervisor Luke Garrod). Graduated 2017.

PhD students as internal examiner

  • Ruochen Li. Graduated 2018. (Supervisors Luke Garrod and Chris Wilson).

PhD students as external examiner

  • Janez Kren (KU Leuven, Belgium. Supervisors Jan Van Hove and Filip Abraham). 2018.

Previous employment

  • Civil Service Department of Energy/Department of Trade and Industry. Economist. Advised on coal and electricity industries, and helped produce the first set of UK greenhouse gas emission projections.
  • University of Birmingham. Researcher on energy economics.
  • University of Genoa. Researcher on computable general equilibrium modelling of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • University of Warwick (1999-2004) Centre for the study of Globalisation and Regionalisation. Research on trade and inequality (with John Whalley) and on Post-Soviet disintegration and EU integration (Framework V project EPRIEE).

Impact work

Centre for European Policy Studies (2006-7) part-time position, leading economic analysis for report for EU Commission on Deeper Free Trade with Ukraine. Also on advisory team for analysis of EU-Korea FTA

For Brexit impact work, see the TRANSIT research interest group webpage. Work includes:

  • Co-organised (with Alistair Milne) a high-profile conference on `Tariffs, Harmonisation and Market Access' (at Loughborough University in London), 9 Dec 2016, with top-level academic and non-academic speakers and panellists. Funded by ESRC `UK In A Changing Europe' programme (£10,000).
  • Arranged a visit to Loughborough in autumn 2017 from senior staff of Department for International Trade and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Arranged a roundtable on export promotion with policymakers, as part of the Global Political Economy Network conference in April 2018 (Loughborough University London).
  • Evidence provided to the Lords’ European Affairs Committee Inquiry into Trade in Goods (with Mustapha Douch, Edinburgh University Business School). Published on their website, Nov 2021.
  • Evidence provided Dec 2021 to the UK Trade and Business Commission. (With Mustapha Douch, Edinburgh University Business School). We received an email of thanks, Feb 2022.
  • Energy Economics paper now has 94 citations.
  • Acted as Programmes Director during the merger of Loughborough Economics Department and Business School.
  • Took over as acting head, then head of Centre for Firms in the Global Economy (now the FGE-RIG).
  • Has organised international conferences with associated journal special issues.
  • Has links with top-level universities - KU Leuven (jointly supervising a PhD student), Warwick (supervisor and co-author), Nottingham (co-author), Queen Mary University of London, Bordeaux, University College Dublin. Also developing connections with Trakya University, Turkey.

I have been researching the economics of globalisation, international economic relations and international business for many years now. I also have interests in energy economics, and the interactions between globalisation, international development and governance indicators (such as human rights).

In terms of methodology, I combine a modelling background (computable general equilibrium and partial equilibrium) with applied theory and empirical work.

I view economic research as being applied in focus – hence the need to network with policymakers, businesses and the media. However, as economists we have more to say where the analysis is based, not just upon policy and business knowledge and good data, but upon a strong and innovative theoretical background. Hence, I am particularly interested in issues which are policy relevant, but also extend our theoretical knowledge.

I am active in research collaborations, and have for a number of years been involved in running and setting up conferences and workshops, as well as in editing special issues for journals.

Most cited works

Research outputs currently under journal submission

  • 'Aid Effectiveness: Reassessing the Conditionality Hypothesis'. With Todd Landman, Mustapha Douch and Sushanta Mallick. R&R World Development. Abs 3*. SNIP 2.88. SJR 2.223 Submitted June 2020; R{\&}R given 23 Feb 2021. Resubmitted 8/4/2021.
  • The Search for Trading Partners and the Merger/Outsourcing Decision' (with Ben Ferrett). R&R Economic Modelling Revision given Oct 2021. Abs 2*. SNIP 1.859. SJR 1.049.
  • 'Productivity debacle in the UK:Do post-Crisis firm cohorts explain the performance puzzle?', with Mustapha Douch and Sushanta Mallick. R&R British Journal of Management. ABS4*, SNIP 2.317. SJR 2.407. Revision given Jan 2022.

Research outputs expected to be submitted this year

  • 'Location, Location, Location. The Effects of Agglomeration Economies, Input and Market Access on Performance of Domestic and Foreign-Owned Firms', with Mustapha Douch and Marian Rizov. [Target journal: Regional Studies]
  • 'On the value of location: is there an amenities value Kuznets curve?’. With Mustapha Douch and Marian Rizov. [Target journal: Economic Modelling]
  • 'International R&D collaboration, subsidies and trade costs.’ With Daniel Gravino and Ben Ferrett. [Target journal: Review of International Economics]

Ongoing research projects (not a complete list)

Economic assessment of Brexit and its implications for UK industry and policy

This is linked to my work in the TRANSIT Research Interest Group, and involves a variety of research questions and methodologies. As an applied trade modeller, with past research into computable general equilibrium policy simulation and the study of trade barriers (including nontariff barriers and uncertainty effects upon trade), this is an area in which I am both able to comment (for the media) and provide ongoing research. Specific projects include:

Estimation of the trade effects of Brexit as a natural field experiment

With Mustapha Douch, I have helped pioneer the application of the synthetic control method (SCM) to the case of an anticipated trade shock, investigating bilateral trade in goods with a number of countries up to 2018 (paper in Journal of Applied Econometrics) and aggregate services exports. We show that the trade uncertainty related to Brexit has had negative effects on UK exports of both goods and services, not just to the EU but also to non-EU countries (where exports may depend upon EU supply chains). We also find that the effects began earlier than anticipated (in fact, around the 2015 general election), and that, when exchange rates are controlled for, the negative effect has been larger than that cited in ONS or think tank studies. We have published non-technical summaries in the Conversation (twice), and submitted evidence to the Lords’ European Affairs Committee and the UK Trade and Business Commission.

Brexit has already hurt EU and non-EU exports by up to 13% – new research

Brexit fears started hitting UK trade as early as 2015 – new research

We are now working on extending this work to more recent UK trade data, incorporating correction for behavioural measures of COVID effects.

Estimation of post-Brexit policy, with particular reference to export promotion

I have been working closely with Elena Georgiadou and Anne Souchon in SBE, and Anna Grosman in LU London. This is policy work (which has involved liaison with the Department for International Trade nationally, and with the CBI nationally and regionally). We obtained a seedcorn grant linking the SBE to LU London, employing Tien-Der-Jerry Han to survey the economic and institutional literature on the effectiveness of export promotion, and Shan Rambukwella from Derby to carry out qualitative assessment of the operation of UK export promotion in Sri Lanka and India. [Work is still to be written up for journal submission]. We have also been working on a larger grant bid investigating the operation and economic effectiveness of UK export promotion activities (target is ESRC). This topic is seen as highly relevant by both policymakers and businesses, but also requires an understanding of the export participation and networking behaviour of firms (see below).

Firms’ export behaviour and its implications

This is a long-standing area of research interest, from both a theoretical and empirical angle. I have been developing theoretical work on the role of search and matching in export behaviour, which has led to work on the relationship to economics cycles and endogenous policy and to firms’ merger and outsourcing decisions (paper with Ben Ferrett). Understanding this behaviour is key to understanding why trade policy works with lags and leads (anticipation effects), and why elasticities may be endogenous and variable over time. A key issue has been building a research team with the most suitable (transactions) data access to test hypotheses and models here – this is ongoing but progressing.

The search and entry process is also closely linked to understanding of the relationship between trade margins and product quality (broadly defined) – on which I currently have one PhD student working (and others expected to join).

Another related angle is the dynamics of trade and productivity, particularly utilising cohort effects: see published paper with Mustapha Douch et al. (World Economy) and currently submitted paper with Mustapha Douch and Sushanta Mallick on cohorts and productivity after the Great Recession (R&R British Journal of Management).

Distance and institutional effects in trade and firm productivity

This theme integrates trade and economic geography, with particular reference to the microfounded gravity model. This has a number of themes.

  1. Estimation and simulation of nontariff trade barriers. This is particularly used in (CGE) policy analysis (see the Ukraine and S Korea FTA studies and my thesis paper on Wider European Integration, Applied Economics 2007). Papers with Arman Mazhikeyev applied similar analysis in understanding trade relations in Central Asia.
  2. Specific studies of geographical effects on productivity (with Mustapha Douch and Marian Rizov). Agglomeration effects are an important aspect of distance-related trade costs.
  3. Technology and barriers to trade. This work has tended to be an application of oligopoly theory with trade (stage games) and spillovers, and includes a thesis paper on the economics of mutual recognition versus national treatment of standards (JITE 2012), as well as papers on the strategic use of horizontal standard setting as trade barriers (with Joanna Poyago-Theotoky, Review of International Economics 2014) and on R&D collaboration across national borders with Ben Ferrett and Daniel Gravino (World Economy 2019 and paper in progress listed above). This issue was also important in an unsuccessful Horizon bid (with Jan Van Hove, Leuven, Inma Martinez-Zarzoso, Goettingen), and provides scope for future funding work.
  4. Globalisation and inequality

Another ongoing theme of research is the impact of globalisation and trade liberalisation upon inequality. At Warwick, I worked with John Whalley on a TSER project on trade and inequality in advanced countries, using computable general equilibrium modelling to explore the sensitivity of such relationships. Working with colleagues from the Kiel Institute for World Economics, as part of the CRISS-Ineq research network I carried out more detailed decompositions of the effects of trade, technical progress, capital cheapening and labour force upskilling upon inequality, particularly focusing on the UK. More recent work with Carlo Perroni at Warwick utilises an alternative, continuum-based skills/wages distribution and an assignment model to explore how trade, even between advanced countries, can increase inequality.

Human rights, growth and institutional economics

Cross-country institutional differences can be a key determinant of differences in economic and firm performance. I have worked with Todd Landman of University of Nottingham, amongst others, using a quantified international panel institutional dataset, especially focusing upon human rights measures. An early, empirical piece focused on spatial spillovers between countries in terms of human rights provision, while more recent work, under journal resubmission, combines empirical and theoretical work on the impact of differences in human rights provision in poor countries upon the effectiveness of aid.

Other topics

I am working with Turkish colleagues on the impact of Syrian migrants upon firm productivity in the treated regions of Turkey. This is currently funded from our small Newton mobility grant, but we hope to apply for a larger grant.

With Parantap Basu and Clive Bell, I have carried out a combined theoretical/empirical study of the differential effects of poverty upon social distancing during the COVID pandemic, using google data.

Conferences organised

  • Conferences under the ‘Global Political Economy Network’ (GPEN) heading, with Sushanta Mallick, QMUL as co-organiser.
  • Global Political Economy Network Spring conference, Loughborough University in London, April 2019. Special issue of The World Economy.
  • Global Firms, Global Finance and Global Inequalities (Global Political Economy Network second conference/workshop), Loughborough, April 25-26 2012. Main organiser. Conference budget £8,700.
  • Global Political Economy Network first conference, Goodenough College, London, April 2011. Co-organiser. Special Issue of Review of International Economics.
  • Forthcoming GPEN conference planned for Loughborough later in 2022.

Other conferences

  • Online conference in memory of Helena Ferreira Marques, 12 May 2021. Special Issue of The World Economy.
  • ESRC Funded Conference on UK Trade Arrangements After Brexit, Loughborough University in London, Dec 2016. Co-organiser Alistair Milne. Budget £10,000 from UK In A Changing Europe grant.
  • I helped organise opening event, Centre for Firms in the Global Economy, Loughborough, May 2014.

Workshops organised since 2010

  • Workshop on New Trade Theory and Empirical Applications. Trakya University, Edirne, Turkey. January 2019. Paid for by Newton Mobility Grant (£7,000)
  • Workshop on Energy Economics, Loughborough, March 2016
  • Workshop on Energy Economics, Loughborough, February 2015
  • INFER Workshop on Distance and Border Effects In Economics (Loughborough, 17 January 2014).
  • I Co-organised a CGR/QMUL workshop on International Political Economy and Cross-Border Effects (Goodenough College, April 2011).
  • Workshop in Loughborough, February 2011, on Spatial Econometrics.
  • Visiting Fellowship: Centre for Globalisation Research, Queen Mary University of London.
  • Former Visiting Fellowships: Centre for Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, Warwick.
  • Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels (part-time researcher).
  • Kiel Institute for World Economics (part-time research fellow 2007 to 2008).
  • External PhD student visited Loughborough: Janez Kren (Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven). I was subsequently an external examiner.
  • External examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Economics, University of Plymouth (2018 to present).
  • Newton Mobility Grant for extending external collaboration with Trakya University, Turkey, 2018 to present.