Understanding the Treasury’s distinctiveness in UK economic governance
As the UK’s finance and economics department, the Treasury has a vast role in economic policy making. Yet the department has been relatively under-studied, even within the field of political economy where the role of political institutions and powerful actors in shaping economic development is a core focus of inquiry. This project will examine the Treasury’s role, status and influence in the UK’s highly centralised political-economic structures, interrogating assumptions about its character and norms in order to develop a better understanding of one of the most important economic policy institutions in the world.
The institutional structure and operations of the Treasury – within wider Whitehall and Westminister machinery – will be a central to the project, with a focus on the ideological commitments, material interests and power dynamics identifiable in relevant processes. Specific policy areas that the research will focus on will be determined by the successful candidate in discussion with the supervisory team.
The project will be undertaken within the Future Economies research centre, an inter-disciplinary institute with a particular strength in British and comparative political economy. The supervisory team will be led by Dr Craig Berry, one of the UK’s leading political economists, and a former Treasury official.
Aims and objectives
The department’s influence over economic development in the UK – from how public resources are allocated to how key industries are regulated – is often characterised as both immutable and ideologically driven, irrespective of the outcome of electoral processes.
The role of ideology in Treasury policy agendas such as austerity, or the role of inter-personal relationships in the Treasury’s approach to the finance sector, is often inferred rather than interrogated. The institutional structure and operations of the Treasury – within wider Whitehall and Westminster processes – will be a central focus of the project, with specific case-study policy areas determined by the successful candidate in discussion with the supervisory team.
As well as the significant and distinctive contribution to scholarship envisaged for this project, the research will also make a decisive contribution to the development of new teaching resources and programmes related to economic policy making.
Specific requirements of the project
The successful candidate would normally be expected to have a masters degree (to UK standard), with results of 65% or above (or overseas equivalent). In exceptional cases applicants who do not meet this requirement may be considered.
The candidate should have an academic background in a relevant social science discipline. Candidates that have studied political economy/IPE at undergraduate and/or postgraduate level are encouraged. However, any individual with a degree encompassing a significant focus on public policy from a critical perspective (such as political science, business/management studies, or geography) is welcome to apply, especially if they have completed a research dissertation on a topic related to UK economic policy. Practical experience of economic policy making at the local, national or international level would also be taken into consideration, either in lieu of, or in addition to, academic experience.
This opportunity is open to UK, EU, and overseas applicants. The project includes funding for 3 years for the equivalent of UK/EU fees (overseas applicants will need to pay the difference in fees), plus an annual stipend at the Research Council recommended rate.