Professor Robert Elliott

Professor Robert Elliott

The Department of Economics
Director of Admissions and Recruitment

Contact details

+44 (0) 121 414 7700
+44 (0) 121 414 7377
The Department of Economics
JG Smith Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Robert Elliott is an applied economist who works at the intersection of international economics, development economics, environmental and energy economics and international business. He has a particular interest in the Chinese economy, firm behaviour, natural disasters and the impact of globalisation on the environment.

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I joined the Department in September 2003. I obtained a BA (Economics) and MA (Economics) at the Universities of Leicester and Essex and studied for my PhD with Professor David Greenaway, Dr Peter Wright and Robert Hine at the University of Nottingham.


  • Director of Admissions and Recruitment
  • Head of the trade, environmental, development and energy (TEDE) research group

Postgraduate supervision

Professor Elliott is available to supervise PhD students across a broad range of topics including international and development economics and environmental and energy economics. Interdisciplinary topics are encouraged and students will need to be familar with the manipulation of large data sets and econometric techniques and methods.


Trade, environment, development and energy (TEDE) group

My main research covers empirical international trade, environmental, development and labour economics under the broad umbrella of the economics of globalisation. Specific topics include: 

  • China and the world economy
  • Trade patterns, multinationals and foreign direct investmentEconomics of natural disastersEnergy economics in developing countriesThe impact of pollution on economic activity
  • Trade, the environment and industrial restructuringFirm heterogeneityGreen employment
  • Geographical specialisation and the economics of agglomeration
  • Conceptual, methodological and empirical analysis of intra-industry trade
  • International trade structure and labour market adjustment

I am currently involved in a related, Leverhulme Trustresearch projects in the general area of "Globalisation and theEnvironment" with Matthew Cole at the University of Birmingham. 

For a regular commentary on economic aspects of “Globalisation and the Environment” please click here.

For information on our new MSc in Environmental and Resource Economics please click here


ERSC “China – UK energy issues”. Approximately £1 million. Joint with TEDE group members.

Other activities


Discussion papers

Matthew A. Cole, Robert J R Elliott, Okubo, T. and Strobl, E. (2013), "Natural Disasters and Plant Survival: The impact of the Kobe earthquake," Discussion papers 13063, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI). Submitted.

Elliott, R.J.R., Sun, P. and Tong, Z., Urbanization and Energy Intensity: A Province-level Study for China, Submitted.

Elliott, R.J.R. and Lindley, J. Green Jobs and Growth in the United States: Green Shoots or Dead Roots? Submitted.


Elliott, R.J.R. and Lindley, J. (2016), Environmental Jobs and Growth in the United States? Ecological Economics. 

Elliott, R.J.R. and Okubo, T. (2016), Ecological Modernization in Japan: The Role of Interest Rate Subsidies and Voluntary Pollution Control Agreements, Asian Economic Papers, Vol. 15, No. 3: 66–88. 

Elliott, R.J.R., Jabbor, L. and Zhang, L. (2016), Firm Productivity and Importing: Evidence from Chinese Manufacturing Firms. Canadian Journal of Economics. 

Elliott, R.J.R., Strobl, E. and Sun, P. (2015), The Local Impact of Typhoons on Economic Activity in China: A View from Outer Space, Journal of Urban Economics. Vol. 88, pp. 50–66. 

Elliott, R.J.R., Sun, P. and Qiqin X. (2015), Energy Distribution and Economic Growth: An empirical test for China, Energy Economics, Vol. 48, pp. 24-31. 

Elliott, R.J.R. and Zhou, Y. (2015), Globalization, Firm Co-location and Wage Inequality in China: A Spatial Analysis, World Development, Vol. 66, pp. 629-644. 

Albornoz, F., Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Ercolani, M.G. (2014), The Environmental Management of Firms: Motives, Obstacles and the Role of Foreign Ownership, Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 146, pp. 150-163. 

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Strobl, E. (2014), Climate Change, Hydro-dependency and the African Dam Boom, World Development, Vol. 60, pp. 84-98. 

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R., Okubo, T. (2014), International Environmental Outsourcing, Review of World Economics. 

Elliott, R.J.R., Sun, P. and Chen, S. (2013), Energy Efficiency and the Impact of Foreign Direct Investment in China: A City-Level Study, Energy Economics, Vol. 40, C, pp 484-494. 

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Kemerat, K. (2013), Local Exposure to Toxic Releases: Examining the Role of Ethnic Fractionalization and Polarization, Ecological Economics, Vol. 93, pp. 249-259. 

Elliott, R.J.R. and Zhou, Y. (2013), Ownership, Exporting and Productivity in China: A Stochastic Dominance Approach, World Economy, Vol. 36, 8, pp. 1000–1028. 

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R., Okubo, T. and Zhou, Y. (2013), The Carbon Dioxide Emissions of Firms: A Spatial Analysis, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Vol. 65, 2, pp. 290-309.

Elliott, R.J.R. and Zhou, Y. (2013), Environmental Regulation Induced Foreign Direct Investment, Environment and Resource Economics, Vol. 55, 1, pp.141-158.

Ham, Y., Maddison, D. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2013), The Valuation of Landfill Disamenities in Birmingham, Ecological Economics, Vol. 85, 1, pp. 116-129.

Azhar, A.K.M., Elliott, R.J.R. and Liu, J. (2012), Product Quality, Trade and Adjustment: The China-ASEAN Experience, Global Economic Journal, Vol. 12, 2, pp. -.

Azhar, A.K. M. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2011), A Measure of Trade Induced Adjustment in Volume and Quality Space, Open Economies Review, Vol. 22, pp. 955-968.

Barassi, M. Cole, M.A. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2011), The Stochastic Convergence of CO2 Emissions: A Long Memory Approach, Environment and Resource Economics, Vol. 49, pp. 367-385.

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Zhang, J. (2011), Growth, FDI and the Environment: Evidence from Chinese Cities, Journal of Regional Science, Vol. 51, 1, pp. 121-138.

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Okubo, T. (2010), Trade, Environmental Regulations and Industrial Mobility: An Industry-Level Study of Japan, Ecological Economics, Vol. 69, 10.

Elliott, R.J.R. and Virakul, S. (2010), Multi-Product Firms and Exporting: A Developing Country Perspective, Review of World Economics, pp. 1-22.

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Virakul, S. (2010). Firm Heterogeneity and Export Participation: A New Asian Tigers Perspective, World Economy, Vol. 33, 2, pp. 264-291.

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Lindley, J. (2009), Dirty Money: Is there a Wage Premium for Working in a Pollution Intensive Industry? Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Vol. 39, 2, pp. 161-80.

Cole, M., Elliott, R.J.R. and Zhang, J. (2009), Corruption, Governance and FDI Location in China: A Province-level Analysis, Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 45, 9, pp. 1494-1513.

Albornoz, F., Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Ercolani, M.G. (2009). In Search of Environmental Spillovers, World Economy, Vol. 32, 1, pp. 136-63.

Azhar, A.K.M., Elliott, R.J.R. and Junting, L. (2008), On the Measurement of Product Quality in Intra-Industry Trade: An Empirical Test for China, China Economic Review, Vol. 19 (2), pp. 336-344.

Azhar, A.K.M. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2008), On the Measurement of Changes in Product Quality in Marginal Intra-Industry Trade, Review of World Economics, Vol. 144, 2, pp. 225-247.

Barassi, M.R., Cole, M.A. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2008), Stochastic Divergence or Convergence of Per Capita Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Re-examining the Evidence. Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol. 40, 1, pp.121-37.

Elliott, R.J.R. and Lindley, J.K. (2008), Immigrant Wage Differentials, Ethnicity and Occupational Clustering. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Vol. 171 (3), pp. 645-671.

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Wu, S. (2008), Industrial Activity and the Environment in China: An Industry Level Analysis, China Economic Review, Vol. 19, 3, pp.393-408.

Elliott, R.J.R. and Shimamoto, K., (2008), Are ASEAN Countries Havens for Japanese Pollution Intensive Industry? World Economy, Vol. 31, 2, pp. 236-254.

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Strobl, E. (2008), Multinationals and Environmental Spillovers: The Role of Ownership, Training, and Experience, Ecological Economics, Vol. 65, 3, pp. 538-546.

Cole, M.A. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2007), Do Environmental Regulations Cost Jobs? An Industry-Level Analysis of the UK. BE Journals in Economic Analysis and Policy.

Azhar. A.K.M. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2007), Trade and Specialisation in Pollution Intensive Industries: North-South Evidence, International Economic Journal, Vol. 21, 3, pp. 361-380.

Elliott, R.J.R. and Lindley, J. (2006), Skill Specificity and Labour Mobility: Occupational and Sectoral Dimensions. Manchester School, Vol. 74, 3, pp. 389-413.

Azhar, A.K.M. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2006), On the Measurement of Product Quality in Intra-Industry Trade, Review of World Economics, Vol. 142, 3, pp. 476-495.

Brülhart, M. and Elliott, R.J.R. and Lindley, J. (2006), Intra-Industry Trade and Labour-Market Adjustment: A Reassessment Using Data on Individual Workers,Review of World Economics, Vol. 142, 3, pp. 521-545.

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Shimamoto, K. (2006), Globalisation, Firm-Level Characteristics and Environmental Management: A Study of Japan, Ecological Economics, Vol. 59, pp. 312-323.

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Fredriksson, P. (2006), Endogenous Pollution Havens: Does FDI Influence Environmental Regulations? Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 108, 1, pp. 157-178.

Elliott, R.J.R. and Lindley, J. (2006), Trade, Skills and Adjustment Costs: A Study of Intra-Sectoral Mobility, Review of Development Economics, Vol. 10, 1, pp. 20-41.

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R and Shimamoto, K. (2005), Why the Grass is not Always Greener: The Competing Effects of Environmental Regulations and Factor Intensities on US Specialization, Ecological Economics, Vol. 54, 1, pp. 95-109.

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Shimamoto, K. (2005), A Note on Trends in European Industrial Pollution Intensities: A Divisia Index Approach, Energy Journal, Vol. 26, 3, pp. 61-73.

Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R. and Shimamoto, K. (2005), Industrial Characteristics, Environmental Regulations and Air Pollution: An Analysis of the UK Manufacturing Sector, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Vol. 50, 1, pp. 121-143.

Cole, M.A. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2005), FDI and the Capital Intensity of ‘Dirty’ Sectors: A Missing Piece of the Pollution Haven Puzzle, Review of Development Economics, Vol. 9, 4, pp. 530-548.

Azhar. A.K.M. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2004), Economic Integration and the Evolution of Trade: A Geometric Interpretation, Journal of Economic Integration, Vol. 19, 4, pp. 651-666.

Elliott, R.J.R. and Ikemoto, K. (2004), AFTA and the Asian Crisis: Help or Hindrance to ASEAN Intra-Regional Trade? The Asian Economic Journal, Vol. 18, 1, pp. 1-35.

Cole, M.A. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2003), Determining the Trade-Environment Composition Effect: The Role of Capital, Labour and Environmental Regulations, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Vol. 46, 3, pp. 363-83.

Cole, M.A. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2003), Do Environmental Regulations Influence Trade Patterns? Testing Old and New Trade Theories, World Economy, Vol. 26, 8, pp. 1163-86.

Barrios, S., Brülhart, M., Elliott, R.J.R. and Sensier, M. (2003), A Tale of Two Cycles: Co-Fluctuations Between UK Regions and the Euro-Zone, The Manchester School, Vol. 71, pp. 265-292.

Azhar, A.K.M. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2002), On the Measurement of Trade Induced Adjustment”, Review of World Economics, Vol. 139, pp. 419-439.

Brülhart, M. and Elliott, R.J.R. (2002), Labour-Market Effects of Intra-Industry Trade: Evidence for the United Kingdom, Review of World Economics, Vol. 138, pp. 207-228.

Elliott, R.J.R., Greenaway, D. and Hine, R.C. (2000), Tests for Factor Homogeneity and Industry Classification, Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, Vol. 136, 2, pp. 355-371.

Greenaway, D., Milner, C.R. and Elliott, R.J.R. (1999), UK Intra-Industry Trade with the EU North and South, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 61, 3, pp.365-384.

Azhar A.K.M., Elliott, R.J.R. and Milner C.R. (1998), Static and Dynamic Measurement of Intra-Industry Trade and Adjustment: A Geometric Reappraisal,Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, Vol. 134, 3, pp. 404-442.

Brülhart, M. and Elliott, R.J.R. (1998), Adjustment to the European Single Market: Inferences from Intra-Industry Trade Patterns, Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 25, pp. 225-247.

Greenaway, D., Hine, R.C., Milner, C.R. and Elliott, R.J.R. (1994), Adjustment and the Measurement of Intra-Industry Trade, Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, Vol. 130, pp. 418-427.