Professor Chris HeadyChris Heady, Professor of Economics and an expert on the effect of taxes on growth, is acting as a co-investigator at the newly formed Tax Administration Research Centre (TARC). The Centre was officially launched in February 2013 at a reception in Westminster.

The Centre is a joint partnership between the University of Exeter and the Institute of Fiscal Studies, and received funding of £2 million from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Her Majesty's Treasury (HMT).

The aim of the Centre is to support high-quality research and related activities on tax administration, with a view to strengthening the theoretical and empirical understanding of the delivery and design of tax operations and policies.

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Professor Tony ThirlwallThe Thirlwall Visiting Research Fellowships are named after Professor Tony Thirlwall, for his outstanding contribution to Economics research at Kent over more than 40 years. The Fellowships are designed to attract high calibre academics to interact with our research staff and PhD students and to foster research links.

The first recipient of the Research Fellowship was Dr Hongliang Zhang, Assistant Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He spent two weeks at the School from 26 February until 8 March and gave an interesting seminar on ‘The Mirage of Elite Schools: Evidence from Lottery-based School Admissions in China’.

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Bangladeshi school girlsDr Zaki Wahhaj has won an award for AUD576,683 (c £380,000) from the Australian Government's AusAID for ‘The Role of Secondary Schooling and Gender Norms in the Long-term Opportunities and Choices of Rural Bangladeshi Women’.

The project will investigate how the opportunity of secondary education for rural women in Bangladesh, made possible by the government's gender-focused school subsidy scheme beginning in the mid-1990s, impacted upon their later lives, particularly in terms of decisions relating to marriage, childbirth, employment and investment in their own children.

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Prague

Dr Alex Klein, a Lecturer within the School, has been awarded a three-year grant of 1.1 million Czech Crowns (c £36,000) by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic for his research on ‘Economic Development and the Spirit of Capitalism in Central Europe: Protestant Reformation and the Economy of the Czech Lands in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century’.

Recent economic literature has sought to resurrect Max Weber's theory of a link between religion and economic performance, yet its findings lack robustness because they rely on aggregative data for entire regions or nations. The grant will enable Alex to improve on these approaches by focusing on the level at which religious beliefs are actually held and economic behaviour generated the individual, household, and community.

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Farmer with sheep

Research from the School of Economics could help shape changes to the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) being considered by the European Parliament.

Professor Sophia Davidova, Professor of European Agricultural Policy, is leading an international team of researchers looking at proposals for a new CAP package for the period 2013-20.

Professor Davidova is studying the value of semi-subsistence and small family farming to communities across Europe, using case studies in countries such as Italy, Portugal and Poland as well as the example of Scotland's crofters. Her colleague Dr Alastair Bailey will investigate the contribution of small farms to the rural environment and traditional landscapes.

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