Professor Colin Wren
Professor of Applied Microeconomics

  • Email:
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1644
  • Address: Floor 7, Room 7.18
    Newcastle University Business School
    5 Barrack Road
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 4SE, UK.

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).

‘European Economic Integration and the Timing of FDI Location’ (with Jonathan Jones and Ilona Serwicka).

‘Multiple Price Posting and Consumer Search Obfuscation: Evidence from an Online Market’ (with Stephen McDonald).

‘Does Service FDI Locate Differently from Manufacturing FDI?:A Sub-Regional Analysis for Great Britain’ (with Jonathan Jones).

‘On the Relative Importance of Intermediate and Non-Intermediate Goods for Industrial Location’ (with Jonathan Jones).

Postgraduate Supervision

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

Addulaziz Almahmood: Inward FDI and Saudi Arabia.

Ilona Serwicka: FDI Location across the European Union and Enlargement (Peter and Norah Lomas Scholarship student).

Qianyi Zhou: FDI and Growth: Panel Data Evidence.

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.

Current Teaching

Microeconomic Analysis (ECO2004).

Economic Modelling (ECO2003)

Public Economics (ECO3014).

Also recently, Economic Appraisal (ECO2010).