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 is Director of the Full-time MBA Programme and co-ordinates and teaches on the following modules:

  •  ‘Contemporary Capitalism’ with Dr. Paolo Di Martino, Final year UG Business Management, 10 credits, term 2
  • ‘Models of Capitalism and Financial Crises’ with Dr. Michel Goyer, MBA elective, term 2.
  • 'Consulting Skills' with Deloitte Consulting, MBA competitive elective, term 3
  • ‘Dissertation research methods’, MBA compulsory module, term 2

Postgraduate supervision

Paul regularly supervises BSc, MSc, MBA and PhD 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 meaning, measurement and determinants of value, productivity and competitiveness.
  • The changing nature of work and employment, including the role of AI technologies.
  • The social and economic consequences of national institutional systems, including, but not limited to the Varieties of Capitalism framework.

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

PI on British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, ‘Employment protection, job quality and the distribution of earnings’, September 2012-14, £9,990

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Warwick, April 2009 – 2010, £93,190 fec

Other activities

Research Associate of the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business

Invited Expert Contributor to the United Nations International Development Organisation (UNIDO) International Development Report 2018

External Examiner for the MSc. International Management at King’s College, London, 2014-18.

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


Lewis P.C., Ryner, M. and Peng, F. (2017) ‘Welfare Capitalism in Post-Industrial Times: Trilemma or Power Over Rents?’, New Political Economy, Taylor and Francis, first published November 7, DOI: 10.1080/13563467.2017.1393405

Lewis, P.C. and Heyes, J. (2017) ‘The Changing Face of Youth Employment in Europe’, in Economic and Industrial Democracy, Sage, first published August 24, https://doi.org/10.1177/0143831X17720017

Heyes, J. and Lewis, P.C. (2015) ‘Relied upon for the heavy lifting: Can labour market reforms really lead the EU out of crisis?’, Industrial Relations Journal (IRJ), Wiley Blackwell

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. (2012) ‘Varieties of capitalism, neoliberalism and the economic crisis of 2008-?’, Industrial Relations Journal, Volume 43, Issue 3, May, pp.222-41, Wiley Blackwell

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, pp.535-56, Cambridge University Press.

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, Oxford University Press

Book chapters, reports and articles:

Lewis P.C. and Peng, F. (2018) ‘Manufacturing Productivity and Real Consumption Wages’, Background paper prepared for the Industrial Development Report 2018. Vienna: United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Lewis P.C. (2017) ‘Debunking the UK’s productivity problem’, The Conversation, November 24

Heyes, J. and Lewis, P.C. (2015) ‘Employment protection and the prospects for a jobs-led economic recovery’, in Colin Hay, Jeremy Green and Taylor-Gooby (editors) ‘The British Growth Crisis’, Pagrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

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.

Lewis P.C. and Perry, J. (2012) ‘Price Wars: The crisis and the future of financialized capitalism’, in Overbeek, H. and van Apeldoorn, B (editors) After Neoliberalism, pp.93-116, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Lewis, P.C. (2010) ‘The Global Financial Crisis 2007-8: Origins, Nature and Consequences’ in Bilgin, P. and Williams, P.D. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), Developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO, pp.339-68, 2010. http://www.eolss.net

Recent conference papers:

Bailey, D. and Lewis, P., Critical Political Economy Research Network (CPERN) Midterm Workshop , “Contesting Political Economy: Alternative growth strategies, social grievances and mobilization”, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, (June 1, 2018)

Lewis, P. International Labour Process Conference (ILPC) Annual Conference “Welfare Capitalism in Post-Industrial Times: Trilemma or Power over rents” Sheffield, (April 5, 2017)

Lewis, P., Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) biannual conference, "Employment policy for a post-crisis environment," SPERI, Sheffield, UK. (July 6, 2016).

Lewis, P., Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) 28th Annual Conference, "The Revealed Ontology of Markets," SASE, University of California, Berkeley. (June 25, 2016).

Lewis, P., International Labour Process Conference (ILPC) Annual Conference, "Flexicurity, flexibility or alternatives? Employment policy for a post-crisis environment," ILPC, WZB, Berlin. (April 5, 2016).

Lewis, P., The Political Economy of the post-crisis landscape: assessing change in economic management, welfare, work and democracy, "Funding in the Post-crisis economy: lessons from the crisis," ESRC, City University. (July 9, 2015).

Lewis, P., Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) 27th Annual Conference, "Could collective bargaining reverse labour's falling income share and the increasing compensation-productivity gap?," London School of Economics. (July 3, 2015).

Lewis, P., WOERRC and UACES workshop on Flexicurity, "The viability of flexicurity," University of Sheffield, University of Sheffield. (May 28, 2015).

Lewis, P., ESRC seminar series, "The Political Economy of the post-crisis landscape: assessing change in economic management, welfare, work and democracy," ESRC, University of Birmingham. (December 15, 2014).

Lewis, P., Employment protection, job quality and the distribution of earnings, "Regulating work and employment: recent changes/future prospects," British Academy, University of Birmingham. (December 2, 2014).

Lewis, P., Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) 26th Annual Conference, "Shifting patterns of youth employment in the EU-15," SASE, Chicago. (July 8, 2014).

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