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Dr Robert Read

Senior Lecturer

Lancaster University

The Management School



Tel: +44 1524 594233

PhD supervision

I have to date supervised some 20 successful PhD students. I am always interested in hearing from high quality original thinkers with a good background in international economics with innovative and imaginative doctoral thesis proposals that will enhance ongoing research in any of my general areas of interest: Foreign Direct Investment and multinational enterprises; Growth strategies and determinants of growth performance of small economies; The political economy of international trade; Economic growth, growth policies and governance in emerging and developing economies. If any of these topics stimulate your interest, please refer to my recently published work in the relevant area for possible research ideas.

Current Research

1. International business - foreign direct investment (FDI) and the multinational enterprise (MNE).

  • The strategies and structures of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in international business, including trends in 'the global factory', sub-contracting, innovation and competition.
  • The determinants of foreign direct investment (FDI), with particular reference to size of economy, developmental level and governance;
  • Analysis of the impacts of foreign direct investment and multinational enterprises on host-countries, including direct (growth, employment, trade, technology transfer) and indirect linkages

This research has been published widely in journals (Journal of Business Research, 2022; Journal of Industry, Competition & Trade, 2021Review of Development Economics, 2020; Thunderbird International Business Review, 2016; Journal of International Development, 2008) and monographs, notably chapters in International Business, edited by P.J. Buckley, P. Enderwick & A.R. Cross, Oxford UP 2018; Handbook of Small States, edited by L. Briguglio, Routledge 2018; Multinationals & World Trade: Vertical Integration & the Division of Labour in World Industries, edited by M.C. Casson, R. Read et al., 1986, Routledge Revivals, 2011; and The Growth of International Business, edited by M.C. Casson, 1983, Routledge Library Editions, International Business, 2014. Reports include a project on the growth and linkage (spillover) effects of foreign direct investment in the Pacific for the World Bank's Foreign Investment Advisory Service (FIAS).

2. The growth performance and strategies of small economies encompassing:

  • The economic theory of small economies;
  • Economic policy and growth strategies in small economies;
  • FDI and its impacts on small economies;
  • Economic integration and small economies;
  • Governance and economic performance in small economies.

This research has resulted in numerous publications in leading journals (European Urban & Regional Studies, 1994, 2021; Journal of International Development, 2008, 2020; Canadian Journal of Latin American & Caribbean Studies, 2018; Economic Development & Cultural Change, 2000; World Development, 1995, 1998, 2004; The World Economy, 1998; The Round Table, 2003, 2021) and numerous contributions to monographs (see recent chapters in Handbook of Governance in Small States, 2020; Shaping the Future of Small Islands, 2020; Handbook of Small States, 2018) - often in collaboration with Professor HW Armstrong - as well as work for The World Bank and other international organisations. Linkages & Flow-On Impacts of Foreign Investment in Pacific Island Economies (with Professor N Driffield), FIAS (The World Bank) 2005; Binding Growth Constraints in Small Island Economies: Evidence Focusing On the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (with HW Armstrong & N Picarelli) for the Latin American & Caribbean Section of The World Bank, 2012. Other work includes consultancy for The ACP Group of States, The Commonwealth, The European Commission, The European Parliament, The UK Foreign Office, the UK ODA and The WTO. I also contributed an expert submission to the UNFCCC Expert Group On Economic Diversification for COP-24, Katowice, 2018.

3. The political economy of international trade and the regulatory role of the World Trade Organization.

  • Trade policy, trade liberalisation and economic growth;
  • Trade negotiation strategies;
  • Trade disputes, the WTO's Dispute Settlement Understanding and dispute settlement;
  • Policy issues relating to process and production methods (PPMs) in international trade;
  • The EU-US banana and steel trade disputes.

This research has resulted in numerous publications in journals (Sustainable Development, 2006; The World Economy, 2001, 2005; The Estey Centre Journal of International Trade Law & Policy, 2001, 2004;), edited monographs, including: Trade Liberalisation & Competition & The World Trade Organization (edited with Chris Milner), Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2002; The WTO & the Regulation of International Trade: Recent Trade Disputes Between the EU & US (edited with Nicholas Perdikis) Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2005, and numerous contributions of chapters to monographs, including Critical Perspectives On the World Trading System (edited by K. Anderson), Handbook On Trade Policy (edited by W. Kerr & J. Gaisford), The WTO & Dispute Resolution (edited by . K. Padmaja) and The Caribbean Economies in an Era of Free Trade (edited by N. Karagiannis & M. Witter).

Research Grants

These include:

Leverhume Trust, The Determinants of Intermediate Product Trade in Global Industries, 1982-1983.

UK ODA (now DfID)/ACP, The Effects of the Second Enlargement of The EEC On the Exports of the African, Caribbean & Pacific States, 1983-86.

UK ODA (now DfID), The Economic Performance of Micro-States, 1995-96.

The Commonwealth Secretariat, Special & Differential Treatment for the Least Developed Countries, 2000.

The World Trade Organization, The Characteristics, Vulnerability & Growth Performance of Small Economies, 2000.

United Nations World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER), Growth Economic Development & Structural Transition in Small Vulnerable States, 2001.

University of Lancaster Small Grants Scheme, Bridging the Digital Divide: e-Commerce & Economic Growth in Small Developing States, 2003.

Foreign Investment Advisory Service (FIAS) - World Bank/International Finance Corporation, Linkages & Flow-On Impacts of Foreign Direct Investment in Pacific Island Economies, 2003-2004.

United Nations World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER), Foreign Direct Investment in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), 2006

International Centre for Trade & Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Trade, Economic Vulnerablility, Resilience & the Implications of Climate Change for Small Island & Littoral Developing Economies, 2009-2010.

The World Bank, Binding Growth Constraints in Small Island Economies: Evidence Focusing On the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, 2011-2012.

The European Parliament, EU Island Farming & the Labelling of its Products, 2012-2013.

Research Interests

1. The determinants and growth effects of FDI (growth, employment, trade and spillovers) and the strategy and structures of MNEs and internationalising firms.

2. The economic performance and growth strategies of small states. I am a leading international scholar and researcher in this area undertaking wide-ranging theoretical and empirical research on the determinants of growth, sectoral specialisation and development strategies of small states in the global economy. 

3. International political economy, with particular reference to the role of World Trade Organization (WTO) in regulating international trade. 

4. Growth in emerging economies, with particular reference to East Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.



ESRC doctoral student, Department of Economics, University of Reading

Leverhume Research Fellow, Department of Economics, University of Reading 1983-84.

Lecturer (part-time), Department of Economics, University of Reading 1984-85.

ODA Research Fellow, Department of Economics, University of Reading 1984-86.

Economist, Unilever plc, London 1986-89.

Lecturer & Senior Lecturer in International Economics, Department of Economics, University of Lancaster 1989-

Professional Role

Director of the MSc in International Business, 2005-2013.

Deputy Director of the Economics Department PhD Programme, 2006-2013.


BA Economics, University of Essex, PhD Economics, University of Reading

Current Teaching

Undergraduate: Econ 124, Business Economics; Econ 224, Introduction to Economics for Managers; Econ 334 International Business & Finance. I have also taught the following courses: Applied Business Economics; Introduction to China; Development Economics; Emerging Economies; Economics of the European Union; and International Trade & Commercial Policy.

Postgraduate: MNGT 609, Managerial Economics (MSc Management), EMME Managerial Economics (MSc Management, European Triple Degree - Grande Ecole Lancaster/Lyon/Munchen). I have also taught the following courses: Economics of the European Union; Economic Growth & Industrialisation; Firms in the Global Economy; International Business I & II; International Marketing.

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