Research excellence at the University of Kent

School of Economics

The Research Excellence Framework also assesses the impact that the research has outside academia. The case studies below are a selection of the research submitted by the School of Economics.

Supporting small farms in the EU

Professor Sophia Davidova, Dr Alastair Bailey

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aims to ensure a fair standard of living for the farming community and accounts for about 40% of the EU budget. However, CAP payments have mainly tended to benefit large farms, despite the fact that small and semi-subsistence farms are on the increase and have low incomes.

Research by Sophia Davidova and Alastair Bailey examined the welfare of small farmers in Europe, helping to get this issue on to the EU policy agenda. Eventually, a simplified flat-rate payment scheme to support small farmers was incorporated into the reformed CAP (for the period until 2020). Passed by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament in 2013, it could potentially benefit millions of small farmers.

Small farms

Tax policy for recovery and growth

Professor Chris Heady

An analysis of tax policy by Chris Heady has been used to inform fiscal policy, both in the UK and overseas. The research included a statistical analysis of the effects of tax structure on investment, productivity and economic growth in a range of countries over a period of more than 30 years. The research combined these results with an analysis of how tax policy could affect short-term recovery and inequality.

The main findings were that a shift of taxation away from income taxes (personal and corporate) towards consumption and property taxes could increase growth. In particular, a reduction in the taxation of low-skilled workers would contribute to both the short-term goal of aiding recovery and the long-term goal of securing growth.

The research had a direct impact on public policy, informing HM Treasury’s decision in 2011 to increase the main rate of value added tax and accelerate the reduction in the rate of corporation tax. It has been cited by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as a basis for policy reform to increase employment, and by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the basis for its analysis of tax composition and growth.

Comparing state and independent education

Professor Francis Green, Dr Yu Zhu

Research at Kent has made a detailed comparison between the state and independent education sectors. Francis Green and Yu Zhu, along with researchers at University College London, found that when compared to state schools, independent schools now have twice as many teachers per pupil.

Another important finding was related to the teaching of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Independent schools have dealt with the scarcity of staff in STEM subjects by offering better pay and working conditions, and this contributes to better student performance in these areas.

The findings made a valuable contribution to public debate on education, receiving national media coverage in The Economist, Financial Times, Guardian and BBC News Online.

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Last Updated: 11/02/2015

Banner photo (c) Simon Tollington, DICE