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Political Economy Institute

Theoretical political economy

Our work brings together researchers working from a variety of different theoretical perspectives in political economy.

As such we aim to facilitate conversation and debate between different views of the nature and future of political economy.

Our research includes work in the following areas:

  • Smith, Hume and classical political economy;
  • Marxian political economy;
  • Austrian economics and the socialist calculation debates;
  • Institutional economics;
  • Rational choice and political economy;
  • Political economy, justice and inequality;
  • Political economy and environmental change; and
  • Political economy and unfree labour.


The members of PEI working on theoretical debates in political economy include the following:

  • Gavin Bridge (environmental governance; resource geographies; economic geography and nature)
  • Noel Castree (political economy of environmental change; Marxian understanding of capitalism-environment relationships)
  • Greig Charnock (Open Marxism, neo-Gramscian political economy; Henri Lefebvre)
  • Alan Hamlin (Rational Actor Political Theory and Political Economy; Democratic theory; contemporary contractarianism; the motivation of political agents; institutional and constitutional design)
  • John O’Neill (political economy and the environment; moral economy and the limits of markets; Austrian economics and the socialist calculation debates.)
  • Terry Peach (history of economic thought, currently focusing on Adam Smith).
  • Sally Randles (Karl Polanyi’s ideas of Instituted Economic Process; the organisation of exchange; the emergence of markets and non-market provision; environment and sustainability)
  • Adrienne Roberts (feminist international political economy.)
  • Stuart Shields (neo-Gramscian political economy; historical materialist approaches to international relations; transnational dimensions of the restoration of capitalism in Central and Eastern Europe)
  • Hillel Steiner (Philosophical aspects of freedom, rights and distributive justice; the concept of ‘the just price’; the application of distributive justice to global, and to genetic, inequalities.)
  • Erik Swyngedouw (geographical political economy and on political ecology; the politics of water and of urbanisation).
  • Karen Sykes (anthropological political economy; value in political economy; moral economy) 
  • Thomas Uebel (The left-Vienna Circle; the economic thought of Otto Neurath; the socialist calculation debate; and the foundations of ecological economics; the early history of Austrian economics; the liberal thought of Karl Menger)