University of Kent
  • Research

    The School has a strong research culture and an international reputation in a number of fields.
  • Centres and groups

    We have two research centres that specialise in macroeconomics and agri-environmental studies, plus an active microeconomics research group.
  • Seminars

    We host weekly research seminars by visiting visiting academics from universities and institutions in the UK and abroad.
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zaki wahhaj 120x120The School of Economics will participate in a major study, funded by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), on marketing formal insurance to smallholder farmers in Burkina Faso through their urban migrant family networks. The study will be led by Dr Harounan Kazianga (Oklahoma State University) and Dr Zaki Wahhaj (University of Kent) in partnership with Innovations for Poverty Action and the micro-insurance provider Planet Guarantee.

Last year a pilot study by the same team demonstrated that the potential client base for formal index-based insurance in developing countries is substantially larger than those directly engaged in rural farming, with significant demand from urban migrants with rural family links. The present study will look at the impact of this marketing strategy on the livelihoods of both rural farmers and urban migrants. Its wider objective is to investigate whether marketing formal index insurance to urban migrants with rural family ties is a viable strategy for increasing use of formal insurance among rural farmers in developing countries.

The study, with a total funding of USD 430,000 over the period 2018-2022 is one of six projects worldwide funded by 3ie under its evaluation programme on agricultural insurance.

Photo: Drs Kazianga and Wahhaj in Ouagadougou in 2017 with IPA country director Nicolo Tomaselli and research assistant Oumar Sory.

anthony savagar 120x120by Marta Aloi, University of Nottingham, Huw Dixon, Cardiff University and Anthony Savagar, University of Kent. Discussion paper KDPE 1804, February 2018.

Non-technical summary:

A long-standing debate in macroeconomics is whether labor hours initially increase or decrease across the economy following a technology improvement. We develop a theory that reconciles both outcomes by observing that:

1. New firms enter the economy slowly after a technology improvement. That is, entry is not instantaneous as often assumed.

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zaki wahhaj 120x120by Harounan Kazianga, Oklahoma State University and Zaki Wahhaj, University of Kent. Discussion paper KDPE 1803, March 2018.

Non-technical summary:

Large segments of the population in developing countries, especially in rural areas, have a high level of vulnerability to weather-related shocks, but have limited means to insure themselves against them. In recent years, microfinance institutions have experimented with insurance products, in particular rainfall index insurance, to address this need in different parts of the world. But the uptake of these products has generally been very low because of liquidity constraints and unfamiliarity with formal financial products.

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iain fraser 120x120On Friday 6 April, Professor Iain Fraser (School of Economics), Professor Ben Lowe (Kent Business School) and Dr Diogo Souza-Monteiro (Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University) are hosting a one-day inter-disciplinary workshop on consumer choice and food. The workshop brings together an exciting group of researchers from a range of disciplinary areas (eg marketing, environmental economics, agribusiness, psychology, development and social policy) who will examine various aspects of consumer choice as it relates to food. Based on the presentations the forum will cover themes from Consumer Food Security and Nutrition, Economics and Food Choice and Framing of Information and Consumer Choice. The keynote address is to be given by Professor Klaus Grunert (Aarhus University).

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keynes collegeby María D. C. García-Alonso and Zaki Wahhaj, University of Kent. Discussion paper KDPE 1802, February 2018.

Non-technical summary:

A shared social identity is potentially an important element in ensuring cooperation and the coordination of actions among individuals when formal institutions for achieving these ends are weak. But the construction of group identity also leads to the creation of in-groups and out-groups and thus, the possibility of conflict as people born and raised with diverse identities are compelled to interact due to resource competition, market forces, etc.

These contrasting ideas lead to the following question: Under what conditions do increased social diversity within a population – e.g. due to migration, market penetration – raise the potential for conflict as opposed to harmonious social diversity? If ‘group identity’ plays a key role in shaping conflict and cooperation, a related question that requires consideration is as follows: How does increased social diversity affect identity?

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