Political economy has taken on a renewed importance within British political science since the 2008 financial crisis. The British and Comparative Political Economy Specialist Group (PSA BCPE) aims to bring together a network of political economists conducting research into the political economy of Britain, or comparative political economy encompassing the study of Britain in an international context. Political economy is defined in broad terms, as a form of analysis which recognises that the political and economic dimensions of social life are comprehensively intertwined, and that neither can be satisfactorily understood without the other.

The Specialist Group organises panels at the PSA annual conference, and regular workshops that reflect our research interests. It prioritises the provision of a national dissemination platform for early career researchers and doctoral students, and, as such, seek ideas for panel and workshop topics from younger members in the first instance. It is currently convened by Craig Berry, Jeremy Green, Scott James, Sean McDaniel, Scott Lavery, Inga Rademacher, and James Wood. The group's deputy convenors are Kate Alexander Shaw, Valentia Ausserladscheider, Matthew Eagleton-Pierce, and Nick O'Donovan.

Objectives of the Group

  1. To promote and advance the study of British and comparative political economy on a national and international basis.
  2. To facilitate discussion on the nature and future of political economy as a form of analysis.
  3. To boost dialogue between existing networks of political economists whose scholarship focuses on Britain, or comparative analysis involving Britain.
  4. To foster and encourage collaborative research on British and comparative political economy.
  5. To provide a national platform for the work of early career researchers and doctoral students specialising in British and comparative political economy.


Upcoming events

  • PSA BCPE's annual workshop will be held in Manchester in September 2022, on the theme of political narratives and left-wing politics (in conjuntion with Renewal). See below or contact Nick O'Donovan for more information.
  • PSA BCPE hosts regular online seminars, featuring eastablished scholars and ECRs. The next series of seminars will launch in late 2022. See our twitter feed for more information (@PSAPolEc).
  • PSA BCPE will organise a series of panels at the PSA annual conference in Liverpool in April 2023.


The “vision thing”: new policy paradigms for the post-pandemic era

PSA British and Comparative Political Economy Workshop 2022

Thursday 8 September 2022, 10am-5pm. Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6BH.

Politicians today can call upon an enviable range of radical yet popular policy proposals – such as investment in climate sustainability and the creation of green jobs, redistributive fiscal policies to ameliorate the cost-of-living crisis and combat regional inequality, devolution of decision-making to local and regional government, and proactive regulation of market power in the digital sector and beyond. Yet often these policies come across as discrete transactional offers to voters, rather than as expressions of a compelling socioeconomic analysis and political narrative.

While it is easy for politicians to dismiss the “vision thing” as irrelevant to voters, who are supposedly preoccupied with more bread-and-butter issues, narratives play a valuable role in improving the consistency of political messaging and enhancing the credibility of politicians’ promises. By contrast, their absence invites voters to fill in the blanks themselves, informed by targeted social media campaigns that portray them as either too radical or too reactionary, whichever is worse in the eye of the beholder.

The purpose of this workshop is to ask what contemporary economic ideas, political narratives and social analyses have the potential to underpin, join up and influence novel policies (and policy messages) across a range of different domains. What do these theories have to say about the respective limits of governments and markets? About technology, automation and the future of work? About future sources of growth? About how to empower employees, consumers and citizens relative to capital? About the relationships between the local, the national and the global? About the economic and geopolitical threats and opportunities that confront developed democracies in the world today?

The answers to these questions might come from heterodox economics (modern monetary theory; demand-side approaches; post-Keynesian economics) or from more empirically-informed mainstream research (grappling with the realities of imperfect markets, monopolistic and monopsonistic practices, links between higher levels of equality and higher levels of productivity/output, the prevalence of economic rents, the risks of catastrophic climate externalities, and so forth). They might come from outside the economics profession entirely, from other social scientific disciplines and/or involving other forms of social inquiry.

Submissions to the workshop might examine the political positioning of progressive parties and movements; the deeper theoretical case(s) underpinning individual progressive policy proposals; how certain ideas might link novel policies across a range of domains (economic growth, climate change, cost-of-living, housing, health, education, etc.); how they build upon and/or contest previous progressive narratives (e.g. the Third Way/the social investment state); how they speak to (or against) received wisdom and established interests among policy elites, media gatekeepers and wider civil society; as well as what these analyses tell us about broader questions such as the relationship between state and market, regional and national, and/or present and future challenges facing developed democracies.

If you are interested in participating in this workshop, please send a brief outline of your paper (no more than 500 words) to by 5pm on Friday 8 July 2022.

A limited number of travel bursaries will be available to attendees from outside Greater Manchester who are unable to arrange alternative funding. Remote presentations may also be possible on request.

Contact Us

Craig Berry

Role: Convenor
Institution: University College London

Jeremy Green

Role: Convenor & Secretary
Institution: University of Cambridge

James Wood

Role: Convenor
Institution: University of Cambridge

Inga Rademacher

Role: Convenor
Institution: King's College London

Scott Lavery

Role: Convenor
Institution: University of Sheffield

Scott James

Role: Convenor
Institution: KIng's College London

Sean McDaniel

Role: Convenor & Treasurer
Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University 

Kate Alexander Shaw

Role: Deputy Convenor
Institution: LSE

Matthew Eagleton-Pierce

Role: Deputy Convenor
Institution: SOAS

Valentina Ausserladsscheider

Role: Deputy Convenor
Institution: University of Vienna

Nick O'Donovan

Role: Deputy Convenor
Institution: MMU

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