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The economics of the private security sector in the UK


   Economics and Finance

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  Dr Matteo Pazzona  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This PhD project seeks to understand the determinants and consequences of the increase of the private protection sector in the UK over the last years.  

Private protection is a flourishing business in the UK and around the world. According to the newspaper The Guardian (2017), in 2017 the global market for private security services was worth an estimated $180bn (around £140bn). In the UK, the private security sector is growing at an even faster rate than in other countries. Many reasons have been proposed to explain the increase of private security in the UK, such as the cuts in the police force budgets and the increased socio-economic inequality (the Guardian, 2020). 

Despite the relevance of this phenomenon, the statistical evidence that would help to precisely characterize and measure it are largely missing. The lack of reliable local statistics has prevented academics and non-academics from answering many policy-related research questions. For example, at the moment it is not possible to evaluate whether areas that invest heavily on private protection are effective in deterring crime and whether there are spillover effects into less protected areas. Also, it is not possible to study the interaction between public and private forces: are these complementary or substitutes? The PhD student is expected to fill the data gap and collect statistics on the British private protection industry at the local level. Most importantly, the PhD student is expected to conduct a rigorous empirical analysis to answer the above questions and link private protection with various socio-economic dimensions. This task consists in using rigorous empirical techniques and mapping software.  

The prospective applicant should have a minimum of a 1st or good 2:1 in a relevant degree. The ideal candidate has a good knowledge of microeconomics techniques and microeconomics theory. Moreover, she/he is interested in analyzing data to investigate real-world problems.  

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