Newcastle University Business School

Staff Profile

Professor Colin Wren

Professor of Applied Microeconomics


Research Interests

My research is in the area of microeconomics with applications to regional and industrial economics. It is concerned with examining the impacts and effects of Government interventions on private-sector behaviour, mainly through firm-based initiatives, with implications for regional and national economic development. Issues have a strong policy dimension and are analysed from both applied and theoretical perspectives. Results are disseminated to academics and practitioners, with impacts on the policy process. Recent work has focused on the regional impacts of foreign direct investment.


BA (Hons), Pure Mathematics and Economics, University of Sheffield.

MSc (Econ) with distinction, University of York.

PhD, Department of Economics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.


Current Papers under submission / preparation

‘Does Consumer Search Ability Affect Price Dispersion in Online Markets?’ (with Stephen McDonald).

‘Single Market Access and FDI Location in the ‘New’ Europe: Evidence from the Fifth EU Enlargement' (with Jonathan Jones and Ilona Serwicka).

‘Multi-Brand Pricing and Search Obfuscation in Internet Markets’ (with Stephen McDonald).

‘The Border Effect in FDI Location from European Integration' (with Jonathan Jones and Ilona Serwicka).

‘Does Service FDI Locate Differently from Manufacturing FDI?:A Sub-Regional Analysis for Great Britain’ Regional Studies, E-pub 15th March 2015 (with Jonathan Jones).

The Dynamics of Service FDI Location: A Disaggregated Industry Analysis for Great Britain” (with Jonathan Jones) in Bart Lambregts, Niels Beerepoot and Jana Kleibert (eds), Globalisation and New Patterns of Services Sector Driven Growth, The Dynamics of Economic Space, Ashgate, Farnham, 2016 forthcoming.

Understanding the Location of Foreign Direct Investment (with Jonathan Jones), Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2016, May.

Postgraduate Supervision

Stephen McDonald: Price Dispersion and Search Costs: The Internet Car Insurance Market.

Addulaziz Almahmood: Inward FDI and Saudi Arabia.

Ilona Serwicka: European Economic Integration and FDI Location: The Fifth Enlargement.

Qianyi Zhou: The Location of BRICS Foreign Direct Investment in the European Union, 1997-2010'.

Esteem Indicators

In recent years presentations at numerous international conferences. Invited presentations to HM Treasury, Department of Trade and Industry and World Bank. Evidence to the Welsh Affairs Committee of the House of Commons. Policy-related work, including papers to the Alliance for Regional Aid and consultant to the National Audit Office on regional grants and Government Office for Science Foresight project on the Future of Manufacturing.

Current / recent responsibilities

Project leader on FDI, ESRC Spatial Economics Research Centre,
Member, Editorial Board, Regional Studies.
Director, PhD Programme, Economics.

Chairman, Board of Examiners, Economics.

Drafting Committee, Handbook on Prior Assessment, OECD, Paris.
Steering Committee, UK Evaluation of Regional Grants, DTI, London.
Steering Committee, Evaluation of Global Entrepreneur Programme, UKTI, London.
Economic Analysis Training, ONE North East.
External examiner: University of Strathclyde, 2000-03; Lancaster University, 2004-07; University of Cambridge, 2008-2010; Reading University, 2015-date.


Current Teaching

Microeconomic Analysis (ECO2004).

Economic Modelling (ECO2003)

Public Economics (ECO3014).

Also recently, Economic Appraisal (ECO2010).