Dr Paul Lewis

Dr Paul Lewis

Department of Management
Senior Lecturer in Political Economy

Contact details

Birmingham Business School
University House
B15 2TT

Paul is a Political Economist interested in examining and understanding key features of contemporary capitalism. He has an undergraduate background in the natural sciences and the philosophy of science, a post-graduate training in political science and international relations, and professional experience as a management consultant.


PhD Political Economy (Birmingham)
MA Social Science Research Methods (Birmingham)
MA International Political Economy (Birmingham)
BSc Physics and Philosophy (Dunelm)


Paul studied Physics and Philosophy at the University of Durham before spending five years in the private sector working as a management consultant, business development manager in a start-up internet company, and as an internal strategy consultant in a blue chip retail company. His time in business generated an interest in political economy, particularly the related issues of work and distribution, and in 2003 he enrolled at the University of Birmingham to undertake a taught MA in International Political Economy. He subsequently secured an ESRC 1+3 fellowship to undertake his PhD, ‘Understanding Income Distribution in Modern Capitalist Economies’ which examines the theory and empirics of wages and returns to capital at a detailed industry level across the UK, US, France and Germany. During his PhD, Paul was a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG), Cologne,  and the Amsterdam Research Centre for Corporate Governance Regulation, The Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.

Paul comes to Birmingham Business School from the University of Warwick where he held an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, was an Associate of the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR) and a member of the Department of Politics and International Studies. Paul was Research Associate for the Warwick Commission into Reform of the International Financial Architecture and coordinator for the newly formed Political and Economic Sociology Network (PESON) between CSGR, the Political Economy Research Centre at the University of Sheffield and the International Center for Business and Politics at Copenhagen Business School.


Paul co-ordinates and teaches on the following modules:

'The firm and the Business Environment' with Dr. Paolo Di Martino, 1st year UG Business Management, 10 credits, semester 2

'The place of Business in Society', Module outside of main discipline, level 'I' UG, 20 credits, semesters 1 & 2

'Consulting Skills' with Deloitte Consulting, MBA competitive elective, semester 3


Paul contributes lectures to the following modules:

'Employment Relations', 3rd year UG Business Management, 10 credits, semester 1 

'Contemporary Issues in Work, Employment and People Management', MSc. HRM, 10 credits, semester 2

Postgraduate supervision

Paul is currently supervising two PhD students and regularly supervises BSc, MSc and MBA dissertations. He would be interested to receive expressions of interest from prospective PhD students in the broad areas of:

Comparative studies examining national distributions of earnings and earnings inequality

The social and economic consequences of national institutional systems, including, but not limited to the Varieties of Capitalism framework

The causes and effects of the ongoing financial crisis

He is interested in students who wish to employ quantitative or qualitative research methods, ideally students with an interest in both.


Paul’s primary research interest is how economic product is generated and distributed within national economies. He approaches this from both industry and 'factors of production' perspectives utilising comparative statistical and institutional analyses. He is critical of neoclassical approaches to this issue and has an interest in classical and heterodox theories of political economy, and related approaches from the global value chain and business management literatures. He is a critical realist who is sensitive to the constitutive role of ideas in social science and employs both quantitative and qualitative methods in his research.


PI on ESRC Seminar Series Award, ‘Understanding the post-crisis landscape: assessing change in economic management, welfare, work and democracy’, December 2014 – December 2016, £29,937

Other activities

Post-graduate Research Programme Coordinator for the Department of Management

Referee for the British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Comparative European Politics, Journal of Common Market Studies, Industrial Relations Journal and Review of International Political Economy


Journal publications:

Heyes, J. and Lewis, P.C. (2014) ‘Employment Protection under fire: why labour market deregulation will not deliver quality jobs' in Economic and Industrial Democracy, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp.587-607, Sage

Heyes, J., Lewis, P.C. and Clarke, I. (2014) ‘Varieties of Capitalism, varieties of crises’ in Vidal, M and Hauptmeier, M. (editors) The Comparative Political Economy of Work and Employment Relations, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Heyes J., Lewis P.C. and Clarke I. (2012) 'Varieties of Capitalism, neoliberalism and the economic crisis of 2008-?' Industrial Relations Journal, Volume 43, Issue 3, May, pp.222-41

Lewis P.C. and Perry J. (2012) 'Price Wars: The Crisis and the Future of Financialized Capitalism' in Overbeek H. and van Apeldoorn B. Neoliberalism in Crisis, Palgrave, pp.93-116 

Lewis P.C. (2011) ‘Upskilling the workers will not upskill the work. Why the dominant economic framework limits child poverty reduction in the UK’, Journal of Social Policy, Volume 40, Issue 3, January 2011, pp.535-56

Lewis P.C. (2010) ‘The Global Financial Crisis 2007-: Origins, Nature and Consequences’ in ‘Volume 1 of Global Security and International Political Economy’ edited by Bilgin, P. and Williams, P.D. in Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), Developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO, pp.339-68, 2010. http://www.eolss.net

Lewis P.C. (2010) review of Morgan (2009) Private Equity Finance: Rise and Repercussions, Capital and Class, Issue 101, Summer 2010.

Lewis P.C. (2009) ‘(How) do flexible labour markets really work? The role of profitability in influencing unemployment’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Volume 33, Number 1, January, pp.51-77

Lewis P.C. (2006) ‘Global Markets’, ‘Physical Capital’ and‘Triadization’ in Mark Bevir (ed.), Sage Encyclopaedia of Governance.London: Sage, 2006.



Lewis P.C. ‘Towards an IPE of Distribution’

Lewis P.C. and Peng, F. 'Baumol and the post-industrial trilemma: examining the relationship between productivity, prices and wages'



Heyes J. and Lewis P.C. 'Employment Protection under fire: why labour market deregulation will not deliver quality jobs' presented at the inaugural conference of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI), 16-18 July 2012.

Lewis P.C. and Peng, F. 'Baumol and the post-industrial trilemma: Revisting the relationship between productivity, prices and wages' presented at the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) 24th Annual Conference, MIT, Cambridge USA, 28-30 June 2012.

Heyes J., Lewis P.C. and Clarke I. 'Financial Capitalism and the Contemporary Weakness of Labour: The Challenge of Financialisation, Crisis and the State', presented at the European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR) General Conference, University of Iceland, 25- 27 August 2011, 

Heyes J., Lewis P.C. and Clarke I. 'Verities of Capitalism: Neo-liberalism and the economic crisis of 2008-?', presented at the British Universities Industrial Relations Association Annual Conference, ‘Work and Industrial Relations in an Age of Austerity’, University of Greenwich, UK, 7-9 July 2011

Lewis P.C. ‘Transnational and National Logics in the determination of Wages’, Presented at the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) 22nd Annual Conference, Philadelphia, 24-26 June 2010. Published by All Academic Research on behalf of (SASE), http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p428313_index.html

Lewis P.C. (2010) ‘Towards an IPE of distribution’, within the panel ‘Towards Bringing Scientific Realism and Relevant Economic Theory to Global Political Economy’, paper presented at the 51st Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), New Orleans, February.

Lewis P.C. and Perry J. (2009) ‘Price Wars: The politics of the financial crisis as a battle over income distribution’ paper presented at the British International Studies Association (BISA) Annual Conference, University of Leicester, December, and at the 51st Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), New Orleans, February 2010.

Lewis P.C. (2008) ‘Why relative poverty cannot be reduced through policies of upskilling and increased participation in work’, paper presented at BISA Annual Conference, University of Exeter, December.

Lewis P.C. (2008) ‘Explaining relative values ascribed to occupational roles, the influence of the financialisation of the firm’, paper presented at the 49th Annual Convention of the ISA, San Francisco, March.

Lewis P.C. (2007) ‘Notions of value in the labour market, why the neoclassical supply/demand framework cannot explain relative wages’, paper presented at the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change Annual Conference, Manchester, September.

Lewis P.C. (2007) ‘Can relative poverty reduction remain a goal of social justice?’, paper presented at the 48th Annual Convention of the ISA, Chicago, February.

Lewis P.C. (2006) ‘Bringing politics back into distribution: Can the principle of meritocracy support rising inequality’, paper presented at BISA Annual Conference, University of Cork, December.

Lewis P.C. (2006) ‘Understanding Income Distribution within a Modern Capitalist Economy’, paper presented at the 56th AnnualConference of the Political Studies Association (PSA), University of Reading, April.