Global Political Economy

Critical perspectives on the dynamics of change in the contemporary global economy.

We research using critical approaches to globalisation, examining the role of organisations, labour, regulators and the nation-state in the reproduction of capitalism. This group brings together staff in international business and management, integrating disciplinary perspectives including from economic sociology and geography, politics, history and global studies. Our cross-disciplinary perspectives enable us to tackle some of the most critical questions facing the contemporary global economy.

We explore the organisation of production and consumption, internationalization of organisations, counter-trends to internationalization including reshoring, uneven economic development, labour mobilities and exploitation, entrepreneurship, financialization and super-rich capitalism. Our research is both theoretical and grounded in engagement with industry and policymakers from across a wide range of geographical contexts including the Global South and North.

What are the main challenges facing individuals, organisations and governments in the contemporary global economy?

We are experiencing a period of extreme turbulence and uncertainty and the reshaping of globalisation and the organisation of capital and labour. There are profound implications for the economic and social wellbeing of communities globally, the environment and likely increases in societal injustices and inequalities.

The work of the GPE group considers the past, present and possible future trajectories of change. We examine economic organisation through multiple lenses including impacts on migration, corporate organisational forms and strategies, financial systems, cities and technological change.

Our work is international, with a focus on the connections between stakeholders. It is underpinned by, and further conceptual development, of core IB theories and interdisciplinary frameworks including social network theory, global value chains, global production networks and global wealth chains. This allows multi-scalar analyses of economic processes, from the micro (individual) through to city, region and global scales and the connections between them.

Understanding the complexity of change in the organisation of economies involves research on the interaction between stakeholders (such as firms, organisations, institutions, entrepreneurs, the public) that are empirically researched in different geographical contexts. We are experienced in conducting research across the world, including Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, China, North America and Latin America.

Contact us

Organisations or individuals interested in working with the Global Political Economy research group, please contact:

Dr Jennifer L Johns

BSc, MA, PhD
Reader in International Business, University of Bristol Business School

Current projects

  • Additive manufacturing and distributive manufacturing 
  • Geographical reconfiguration of sustainable supply chains in garment production: towards circular economies
  • Organisational remembering of corporate social responsibility and alternative food networks
  • Global talent mobility, financial services clustering and the competitiveness of the City of London
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