Policy Research

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Ad hoc advice to & collaborations with UK policymakers (Bank of England, Her Majesty's Treasury, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Cabinet Office, Office for National Statistics).

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), 2021 - 2023

Op-ed on BNPL in The FinTech Times.

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)...On Your Credit Card: Research paper, Chicago Booth Review article.

Submitted responses to US (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB) and UK (HM Treasury) consultations on BNPL regulation.

Press coverage includes The Financial Times, The Financial Times Tech Video, Barron's, Fast Company, Mashable, and Raconteur (The Times's Business Supplement).

I have chaired and presented at a series of workshops with industry participants, regulators, and academics on the topic of BNPL.

COVID-19 & Levelling Up Research through role as a TrackTheEconomy Research Fellow. TrackTheEconomy is a UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) funded collaboration between academia and private data providers conducting policy-relevant research and providing real-time, regional data via a dashboard to UK policymakers.

Levelling Up (UK government policy to reduce regional inequality), 2020 - 2022

Levelling up: Designing policy to fit places. Policy paper.

Where are the UK's levelling up funds most needed? Economics Observatory article.

Levelling up live: Measuring local inequalities using real time data. Policy paper.

COVID-19, 2020 - 2022

Academic paper on US Medical Debt during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Summarized in Chicago Booth Review Article & Twitter thread.

VoxEU/CEPR interview on UK covid research.

Paper on UK regional inequality in consumer spending - see Economics Observatory summary article & twitter thread and covered in the Financial Times, Fable Data blog, LSE British Politics and Policy blog, Chicago Booth Review, the Telegraph, and Economics Observatory newsletter

Paper on UK local lockdowns and consumer spending - see Economics Observatory article & twitter thread and covered in Chicago Booth Review, Chicago Booth Review Spring 2021 Print Edition (p.19), the Telegraph, and Fable Data blog.

Pre-PhD policy work, 2014 - 2018

Below lists some research I carried out while at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - the UK financial regulator - on consumer credit products (i.e. credit cards, payday loans and other forms of high cost credit) and credit bureau data. Quite a bit of this work focused on creating and utilizing administrative datasets and surveys to improvement measurement and understanding of household debt to inform potential policymaking.

This included starting a panel of UK credit file data for regulatory use and merging a nationally-representative household panel survey data - Understanding Society - to respondents' credit files.


Who's driving consumer credit growth? (FCA Insight article also on Bank Underground) with Liam Kirwin and Sagar Shah (Bank of England).

This article summarises insights from research to understand the drivers of consumer credit growth.

It was one of the five most viewed Bank Underground posts in 2018.

Press coverage included The Financial Times (front page), FT Adviser, The Telegraph (1), The Telegraph (2), The Guardian, The Observer, CityAM, The Times, The Independent (1), The Independent (2), Reuters, Wall Street Journal, MotorFinance, FinanceNews, Investing.com, CCTA, Grant Thornton, YourMoney.com, Russia Today, RitHoltz and Consejeros.

Lead story on BBC Radio 4's 'You and Yours' programme (10 January 2018 - from 50s) following being initially reported on the Today Programme (9 January 2018 - from 21m48s).

Helping credit card users repay their debt: A summary of experimental research. (with Paul Adams, Lucy Hayes and Stefan Hunt) FCA Research Note. This summarizes research from four research papers (OP42, OP43, OP44, OP45). See here for how this research informed policymaking.


Preventing financial distress by predicting unaffordable consumer credit agreements: An applied framework (also on SSRN) with Stefan Hunt. FCA Occasional Paper No. 28.

The research:

- presents an economic framework for understanding unaffordable consumer credit debt

- applies our framework to data from real lending decisions in the high-cost short-term credit (HCSTC) market

- evaluates data used in creditworthiness assessments.

This research informed policymaking on how to assess affordability in UK consumer credit markets - summarized in the Times op-ed by the FCA's CEO Andrew Bailey. It led to and informed the FCA's market study on credit information.

Credit reference agency (CRA) data analysis of UK personal debt

The research describes the distribution of UK personal debt (pages 3-29) and analyzes less mainstream forms of borrowing (e.g. catalogue credit, home-collected credit) in greater detail. (I recommend reading chapters 5-11 only if you are especially interested in a particular product). This research informed policymaking on regulating high-cost credit products.

Consumer research - survey of consumer outcomes after introduction of price cap on payday lending (technical report of survey design).


Credit card research - brief summary of academic literature on credit card repayments.

Can we predict which consumer credit users will suffer financial distress? (also on SSRN) with John Gathergood (Nottingham). FCA Occasional Paper No. 20.

The research:

- describes the distribution of consumer credit debts in Great Britain

- estimates financial distress in Great Britain

- analyses the relationship between financial distress and well-being

- examines whether financial distress can be predicted

Can financial distress be predicted or is that just life (events)?  Insight article summarises the above research.

High-cost credit call for input - policy document including analysis after payday lending price cap's implementation.

2015: On secondment at Federal Reserve Bank of New York

2014: Research informing setting of UK payday lending price cap

'The keenest wonks' in The Economist. 

CP14/10 Technical annexes - Pages 159-162 summarise demand-side analysis of effect of payday loans on consumers (Regression Discontinuity Design and analysis of credit reference agency and survey data) with pages thereafter describing this analysis in more detail. See here for how this research informed policymaking.

CP14/10 Consumer research - consumer survey technical report and slidepack of results.

PS14/16 - policy document including additional analysis following consultation feedback.

Want more reading? Check out this book chapter summarizing our team's work on the price cap and other projects at the FCA.

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