2nd Gelism-UWE International Conference on Economics, Finance and Management: “Challenges of the 21st Century in Economics, Finance and Management” – Call for papers

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University of the West of England and Gelisim University, Turkey are going to jointly host the 2nd Gelisim-UWE International Conference on Economics, Finance and Management, in May (3rd -4th), 2018. The conference will take place in the new business school building. The theme of the conference is “Challenges of the 21st Century in Economics, Finance and Management”.

In a highly competitive and uncertain global environment many businesses are struggling to successfully compete and grow across the globe while governments search for effective policies to catch up or stay ahead of their competitors. The rising global economies, volatile financial markets and evolving management practices pose new challenges that demand imaginative and innovative solutions from the academic and practitioner community.

This international conference on economics, finance and management aims to bring together scholars, researchers and practitioners on a common platform to address the challenges of the 21st century. This conference will provide opportunities for global participants to exchange views and research on current trends and problems in global economic developments, the financial world and management practices, and it will foster collaboration and networking opportunities to advance theory and practice.

Areas of interest:

The challenges of the 21st Century in economics, finance and management are broad and wide ranging. The conference scientific committee invites papers that reveal, solve or respond to these important challenges. Papers will be shortlisted for presentation in an economics, finance or management stream.

We are also inviting proposals to run special track sessions in economics, finance and management areas. Please get in touch if you are keen to put forward a special track with a one page proposal.

Submission Process

Deadline for submission: 15th February 2018. You can either submit an extended abstract or a full manuscript.

If you are submitting a full manuscript:

  • Full manuscripts that have not been published elsewhere in Word/Pdf format will be considered for evaluation. Papers should be submitted via electronic mail. Other forms of submission are not accepted. The paper should include at least one contact address.
  • There should be an abstract of no more than 300 words and up to 10 key words.
  • Manuscripts should be typed 1.5 spaced in 11 point Arial or 12 point Calibri font and should not exceed 8 pages. All tables should be placed properly.

If you are submitting an extended abstract:

  • Extended abstracts should be between 500-1000 words clearly highlighting the purpose, design/methodology, findings, originality/value, practical/theoretical contributions and limitations.

 Selected papers will be published in Euro Proceedings on Advances in Management and Business Administration” (EUROPAMBA).

Selected papers will be also considered for publication in the Journal of Social Sciences of Istanbul Gelisim University and International Journal of Operations and Supply Chain Resilience (IJSCOR). Some more journals will be added in the coming months, so please keep an eye on the conference website.  If you would like your paper to be considered for publication in our journal, please make note in your submission.

Papers will be blind refereed by the Scientific Committee and the results of the evaluation will be sent to the authors by 15 March 2018.

Submission address

Please mail your full papers to following email address:


For any further information regarding the conference, including early submission of conference abstracts and papers and the conference fee, please see our website at the following address:


Or contact:

Prof Vikas Kumar: Vikas.Kumar@uwe.ac.uk

Prof Don Webber: Don.Webber@uwe.ac.uk

Bristol Business School 2017 round up

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As 2017 comes to a close we want to share with you some of our highlights from the past year:

Back in January we launched our new Research Centres and groups.

In February, we helped alumnus Jeremiah Daliel’s launch his first book, inspired by his real life experiences 

Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School students at the UWE Talent awards

At the UWE Talent awards in March, students from the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School won 5 categories and were runners up in 5 categories.

In April, we opened the doors to our £55 million new building which is now home to the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School.

Bristol Business School

We invited our alumni to be some of the first to visit the building at a networking event in May.

In June, we announced our 5 year partnership with Glastonbury Festival.

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Steve West and Fiona Jordan at Glastonbury Festival

July saw us celebrate our student success at our Graduation ceremonies. The ceremonies in July included the first cohort of students from our partnership University, Villa College in the Maldives.

Villa College students graduation
Our Villa College students at Graduation 

Bristol Business School academic Svetlana Cicmil was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Research in August.

Research Achievement Award
Svetlana Cicmil

In September, the Times Higher Education awards shortlisted the Bristol Business School as Business School of the Year.

Bristol Business School nominated for Business School of the Year

October saw our first cohort from the Hire Association Europe and Event Hire Association finish their ILM Level 5 in Leadership and Management. Read about how the Bristol Business School helped them develop a qualification for the industry in this case study.

In November, we announced our partnership with the Aldridge Foundation with a guest blog from Sir Rod Aldridge.

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Sir Rod Aldridge

Finally, in December one of our students was named CIPD West of England Branch Student of the Year.

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CIPD Student of the Year 

To see more of our highlights from 2017 visit our blog. Roll on 2018!

“The chancellor is out of ideas. Today’s budget is one to forget” Associate Professor Dr Jo Michell comments on the budget

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Associate Professor in Economics Dr Jo Michell provides comment on today’s budget: 

It is unlikely that UK Chancellor Phillip Hammond was looking forward to his budget speech. He would have seen the latest economic forecasts from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility. There is no way to spin them as good news.

The newspaper front pages will not make for comfortable reading.

The OBR is tasked with producing detailed forecasts of the UK economy. These forecasts form the basis for evaluation of the Government’s performance against the rules it sets itself on public debt.

In reality, the rules change so often they have little meaning. Today was no exception. By reclassifying housing associations as “private” institutions and fiddling the accounting rules for the upcoming privatisation of RBS, the chancellor conjured up extra £5bn a year of spending – a trivially small amount.

The OBR forecasts of the outlook for the UK economy are of more interest: they are the nearest thing we have to official projections of our future prospects for income, employment and prosperity.

Since its inception in 2010, the OBR has been wrong about one of the most important economic indicators: labour productivity. This is a measure of the goods and services produced on average by each worker. Without productivity growth, living standards can’t rise.

The OBR has consistently over-estimated productivity, as the chart below shows. Twice a year for the last seven years, the OBR has predicted a return to pre-crisis trend growth of two per cent per annum. It was wrong every time: productivity growth has averaged near enough zero over the period.


In its latest forecasts, the OBR admitted defeat and downgraded productivity forecasts to 1.5%, in line with recent projections by the Bank of England. While these look optimistic given the recent performance, the implications for growth, incomes and public services are dramatic. Government revenues are predicted to be £20bn per year lower than previously forecast. By 2022, wages will still be more than £500 per year lower than in 2007. And this is without taking the possible effects of a ‘hard Brexit’ into account.

Against such a dismal backdrop, the chancellor’s announcement of new productivity-boosting measures, such as an R&D tax credit, inevitably rang hollow.

To try and sugar the pill, the chancellor announced a few short-term giveaways. The most headline-grabbing was the abolition of stamp duty for first-time house-buyers. This might sound like a welcome boost for young people looking to get a foot on the housing ladder. But the OBR were quick to debunk this: they predict that the resulting increase in house prices will exceed  savings on stamp duty: “prices paid by first-time buyers would actually be higher with the relief than without it. Thus the main gainers from the policy are people who already own property, not the first time buyers themselves.” (p. 128).

Instead of given a leg-up to young people struggling to own a home, the chancellor has poured petrol on the fire and given another hand-out to the already-wealthy.

This will only increase the severity of the debt problem that the chancellor didn’t mention in today’s speech: the debt of UK households. Research at UWE Bristol has found that, while austerity has so far failed to reduce public debt, it has been accompanied by ever-faster growth of household debt. As the chart below shows, for every £2bn the chancellor has cut from the deficit, the rate at which households take on new debt has increased by £1bn.


Nothing in today’s budget will reverse this trend. With incomes set to stagnate for years, and households already struggling, more will be forced to take on debt to make ends meet.

The chancellor had the opportunity to recognise the scale of the challenges faced by the country – flat productivity, unaffordable housing, stagnant incomes and government services pushed to the limit – and to announce a real change in direction. He should have announced a significant programme of public investment – in infrastructure, in R&D and in housing.

Instead, he did nothing of substance: a couple of new tax cuts and another nudge for house prices.

The chancellor is out of ideas. Today’s budget is one to forget.



















Bristol Business School at the Personal Finance Society Festival of Finance

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In early November, as part of the developing relationship between the Bristol Business School and the Chartered Institute of Insurers, eight students from Accounting Economics and Finance UG and PG programmes accompanied Debbie Sturge, Departmental Academic Director Accounting, Economics and Finance, to the  Personal Finance Society Festival of Finance at the NEC.

The Bristol Business School stand, which was supported by the students, was in the Future Generations area of the Festival. Our students spoke to other delegates and secondary school students to promote the degree programs in the Bristol Business School, as well as networking with financial service firms.

In addition to manning the stand, the students also got the opportunity to attend a variety of talks on subjects as diverse as inheritance tax, demographics and the digital revolution, including the intriguingly titled ‘Sex , chocolate and bucket list planning’.

Speakers included ex pensions minsters Ros Altmann and Steve Webb,  Sir Clive Woodward on ‘Data and  the power of knowledge’ and Sir Vince Cable on ‘The EU, Finance and the City’ .

The event proved beneficial for the students as they managed to find guest speakers for the Accounting Society, explore placement and employment opportunities and investigate new career path options in finance and financial services.


£400m and 8,200 jobs: UWE Bristol’s contribution to regional economy

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The scale of the contribution the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) makes to the regional economy has been revealed for the first time.

Independent analysts have measured the impact the university has on the prosperity of the Bristol area in a special report, compiled by Oxford Economics.

They calculated that one in every 79 jobs in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset and North Somerset was dependent on UWE Bristol’s existence. Altogether, the university supported 8,280 jobs in the region and contributed £400.1m to its economy in 2014/15.

According to the report, the university boosts the city region by stimulating economic activity across a broad range of sectors including construction, accommodation, leisure, transport and tourism. For every £1 million of economic output the university produced during the year examined in the study, a further £430,000 was supported elsewhere in the local economy.

Authors of the report praised the university for helping sustain local businesses through its commitment to purchasing goods and services from local suppliers and highlighted how the spending by its 3,549 staff, 27,800 students and their visitors helped the city to thrive.

The report also underlined the role the university plays in supplying highly-skilled graduates to local employers, attracting students to Bristol from across the globe and developing close links with industry which make a major contribution to innovation, knowledge exchange and business growth.

It says:

“UWE Bristol makes a very substantial contribution to the economy of the West of England. It does so through its own operations, its purchases of goods and services from local suppliers, the wage-financed spending of its staff and the expenditure of its students and their visitors.

“In total, UWE Bristol is estimated to have supported 8,280 jobs in the West of England, or one in every 79 people in employment in the area (1.3 per cent). Some 59 per cent was as a result of the University’s expenditure, with the remainder of jobs stimulated by additional students’ and their visitors’ spending.

“The University contributed £400.1 million to the West of England economy. This is equivalent to 1.3 per cent of the local economy. As a result of this activity, in 2014/15, the University, its employees, students and their visitors supported a £88.7 million tax contribution to the Exchequer.”

UWE Bristol graduates are also a major boost to the workforce and supply of skills to businesses and other employers locally. Close to 7,000 students graduate from UWE Bristol annually including, last year, more than 900 nurses and other health professionals, and nearly 400 engineers and 250 computer scientists. Six months after graduation, 96 per cent of UWE Bristol students are in work or further study – a proportion well ahead of the national average.

The report added:

“The University has a major impact on businesses and the local economy through its role in the supply of graduate talent. A significant proportion of the thousands of graduates from the University annually are employed within the city-region, including many of those attracted to study at UWE Bristol from elsewhere.”

UWE Bristol’s world-leading research, its close collaboration with industry and support for innovation and growing businesses also have a major economic impact.

The report says: “The University makes a major contribution to innovation, knowledge exchange and business growth. UWE Bristol’s iNet innovation programme supported around 1,650 businesses, generating nearly 1,000 jobs, more than 500 new products and £28 million in gross value added.

“Other fast growth high technology businesses have benefitted from Innovation for Growth, a £7 million research and development support scheme run by UWE Bristol and financed by the government’s Regional Growth Fund, now in its second phase. In September 2016 UWE Bristol opened Future Space, one of only four University Enterprise Zones nationally, which provides business acceleration, start-up and grow-on space for businesses and promotes collaboration between businesses and university researchers.”

Professor Martin Boddy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at UWE Bristol, said:

“This new report very clearly demonstrates the major impact of UWE Bristol on the prosperity of the West of England as a whole – not just as one of the region’s major employers but through buying goods and services from local businesses, attracting students from across the UK and globally, supporting innovation and business growth. Not least, the University provides the ready supply of graduates with the skills and aptitudes that businesses and other employers need in order to thrive and succeed.”

‘Replete with folly and injustice’ – Hammond follows in Osborne’s footsteps

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Author Jo Michell, Senior Lecturer in Economics

The media response to the Budget is always reliably low on content and high on hyperbole. Even by these exacting standards, 2017 has been a vintage year. Coverage has focused almost exclusively on the decision to raise National Insurance contributions for self-employed workers – with some side glances to the tax treatment of dividend payments. The macroeconomic implications of the budget have passed almost without comment.

In the days leading up to the budget statement, much attention was focused on Hammond’s proposed £60bn ‘rainy day fund’ – alternatively marketed in some outlets as a ‘war chest’ or ‘gas in the tank’ – to cope with Brexit contingencies.

What form does this fund take? The average reader probably imagines that ‘putting money aside’ involves a transfer of funds into an account somewhere. Maybe the Chancellor will open up an ISA to keep his £60bn safe from the taxman until he needs it?

In fact, the Chancellor’s £60bn ‘fund’ is not yet even in his own hands – it refers to planned additional borrowing between now and 2020.

How, the reader may reasonably ask, is planned borrowing a ‘rainy day fund’? The answer is that – despite determination by politicians and the media to conflate the two – household finances and government finances do not work in the same way. The endless references to ‘living within our means’ and ‘maxing out the credit card’ are deeply misleading – usually intentionally so – when applied to public finances.

Rather than ‘cash in the bank’, the £60bn ‘fund’ is a result of the Chancellor shifting his own fiscal targets around. When he took over from George Osborne, Hammond inherited a ‘fiscal rule’ requiring the government to be in surplus by 0.5% of GDP by the 2020-21 parliament. In plainer language, this means that the government must aim to be repaying its creditors to the tune of half a per cent of GDP by 2020.

In the Autumn Statement, Hammond – taking a leaf from the Gordon Brown rulebook – shifted the goalposts. Instead of aiming at a 0.5% surplus, the new target is a 2.0% deficit. By 2020, the government will aim to be borrowing an amount equal to 2% of GDP per annum.

Incidentally, a 2% deficit by 2020 is pretty much exactly what Labour proposed at the last election. Although denounced as the height of fiscal irresponsibility by the Tories at the time, this has now been spun into a prudent ‘rainy day fund’.

At the time that the Chancellor shifted the goalposts, official figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility showed projected actual borrowing to be a bit less than the target of 2% – by a total of £27bn over the period up to 2020. Since the autumn, official predictions about the public finances have shifted slightly in Hammond’s favour:  as a result of the credit-fuelled post referendum consumer spending spree, tax revenues are now projected to be slightly higher over the next few years.

If the latest round of projections turns out to be correct (they almost certainly won’t) the Chancellor will further undershoot his borrowing target, by a total of around £60bn over the period.

To use the government’s favoured credit card analogy, it is as if you were to obtain a credit card with £1000 limit, and then plan to spend only £400 – leaving you with a ‘rainy day fund’ of another £600.

But this misleading analogy shouldn’t be used. For one thing, the Chancellor is free to set his own limit: the 2% number is arbitrary. He could conjure billions more into his ‘fund’ simply by raising his borrowing target to 3%.

All this of course assumes that he doesn’t make any changes to his tax and spending plans – he could, of course, use public borrowing to fund additional spending on investment and services.

But he won’t do this. He is determined to miss out on the once-in-a-generation opportunity provided by ultra-low interest rates. Rather than taking the advice of the economics profession and spending on desperately needed new infrastructure, the Chancellor presents further austerity as prudence. It is nothing of the sort.

This highlights a more important difference between household and government finances. Spending by an individual household on accommodation, food and clothing will not affect the size of its wage packet. This is not the case for government. Increased public spending leads to higher employment and therefore to higher tax income and lower benefit payments. This is why the ‘credit card’ analogies are so wrong and so pernicious. Government expenditure and income are not independent.

This is what lies behind Keynes’ claim that cuts may not even achieve their narrow aims of reducing government debt. Spending cuts during periods of weak demand lead to lower growth and higher debt ratios.  Recent research finds strong evidence for Keynes’ position: ‘Attempts to reduce debt via fiscal consolidations have very likely resulted in a higher debt to GDP ratio through their long-term negative impact on output.’

In their analysis of the budget, the Institute for Fiscal studies noted that the UK has now gone a decade without growth (on a per capita basis). Average earnings are not projected to reach 2007 levels again until 2022 – by then the UK will have gone fifteen years without a pay rise.

This unprecedented situation is man-made. It is the outcome of seven years of macroeconomic mismanagement. Hammond’s insistence that austerity is prudence brings to mind Keynes’ response to demands for budget cuts in 1930, just after the Wall Street crash: ‘I suppose that they are such very plain men that the advantages of not spending money seem obvious to them.’

Analysis by the Resolution Foundation shows that the burden of cuts in the coming years will fall entirely on those on low and middle incomes, while the better off are set to see their incomes rise.

The emergency Labour budget of 1931 was, Keynes wrote, ‘replete with folly and injustice’. The statement could equally have been made about any budget presented by George Osborne. Hammond appears determined to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps.


National Living Wage a ‘leap in the dark’: UWE economics expert

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The introduction of a National Living Wage next month is ‘leap in the dark’ which may put some smaller companies out of business, says an economics expert from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).

Associate Professor Felix Ritchie said there was a great deal of uncertainty about the impact of raising the earnings of the lowest paid by 50 pence an hour.

Dr Ritchie, who alongside colleagues at UWE Bristol has conducted extensive research on low pay in recent years, said large organisations would be better able to absorb the extra burden on their wage bills but smaller companies may feel the strain and be forced to fold or lay off staff.

He said: “The Government has acknowledged the new rate is a policy decision rather than a research-driven decision. It’s a bit of a shot in the dark and an experiment from the Government, which seems to be willing to accept the risks to employment to provide better wages for workers.

“In the short term, profits will be hit. Bigger companies will be able to absorb the changes but small individual businesses have less flexibility and will feel it most. It might be that some small businesses even fold and blame the new rate for that happening – it could end up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

“In the longer term, there is evidence that companies will find ways to adjust. This is what happened with the introduction of the minimum wage.”

The new National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour, being introduced on April 1, will replace the current minimum wage of £6.70 per hour for employees aged over 25. Chancellor George Osborne plans to increase the rate to £9 per hour across the UK by 2020. The blanket increase covers the whole of Britain, with no special rate for more expensive areas such as London.

Employees aged between 21 and 25 will continue to receive the £6.70 per hour, with those under 21 earning an even lower rate.

Dr Ritchie said another likely consequence of the move – announced in last year’s summer budget – was a knock-on pay increase for those currently on salaries just above the new National Living Wage threshold.

He said: “I expect employees on all the existing minimum wages to see their pay rising more steeply and there to be a ripple effect for those earning just above the new National Living Wage level. Overall, it should give people a bit more money and help families but the issue is – will people keep their jobs and will some employees be traded in for younger workers?

“The introduction of the National Minimum Wage was huge but this isn’t going to be as big a jump – the immediate impact won’t be as great. One area of major concern is social care – this is an industry that is already struggling, and they will find it hard to renegotiate contracts with councils.”

The academic also believes the introduction of a National Living Wage could cause resentment among workers already receiving a Living Wage through existing voluntary schemes, such as employees at Bristol City Council.

Dr Ritchie said: “Bristol is trying to be a UK Living Wage employer and the city council is requiring its workers – and organisations that work for it – to be Living Wage employees, so for lots of people in Bristol it might not change things. People like being on these voluntary Living Wage schemes, partly because it is special for them – it shows that your employer is willing to go beyond the legal minimum. But how are people going to react to it being rolled out everywhere?

“There was research done with the voluntary schemes – these rates are calculated by looking at what the average family needs to earn to live on. The new National Living Wage has just come out of the blue. It’s been based on minimum wages in other countries rather than thinking about how it will impact employees and employers in the UK.”

Dr Ritchie is director of Bristol Economic Analysis (BEA), a research centre based at UWE Bristol which has conducted several studies on low pay. It has produced a number of reports for the Low Pay Commission since 2012, focussing since 2014 on the pay of apprentices.

UWE’s Professor Don Webber led a BEA study in Bristol last year, with employers and employees being asked what impact a Living Wage might have. The study was carried out before the Government announced a National Living Wage was to be introduced.

Dr Ritchie said: “We were interviewing people about their attitudes to the Living Wage and it gave us some interesting insights. We were asking if people would work harder if they were on a Living Wage. Some said they would do but explained that if all organisations were paying the same Living Wage they wouldn’t feel their employer was exceptional. A number of employees were also worried about the effect on their job security because they recognised that some businesses have very tight profit margins.”