Sector, Economic and Financial Studies

Sector, Economic and Financial Studies

Focus of our research

The capital account liberalisation and financial reforms since the early 1980s, including eased restrictions on foreign direct investment and short-term portfolio flows, are at the heart of financial globalisation. Financial openness and deregulation can be seen as an essential step in the process of economic development, but can also have detrimental effects, including higher co-dependence, contagion and likelihood of systemic crises. This research team focuses on the study of such economic and financial phenomena and how these impact on economies, industries, individuals, communities and societies, with a particular focus on responsible finances and investments.

This cluster is very eclectic in nature, focusing upon the study of such economic and financial phenomena and how these impact on economies, industries, individuals, households, communities and societies. This includes the examination of wide-ranging issues, including economic growth and social development, inequality, responsible finances and investments.

At the macro, economy-wide level, typical themes include FDI, financial liberalisation/openness/deregulation, financial development and financial crises. At the micro-level, key areas include personal finance, the impact on families and society of financial decisions, long-term financial planning, financial security and financial rights, the operation of and access to financial services, and community finance.

Several levels of analysis characterise this work (from international trends to individual behaviours) and a major but not exclusive lens through which many of the above phenomena are examined is industry specific, including the banking, financial, tourism and sport sectors.

Core Cluster Themes

Four themes represent this cluster’s research interests:

  1. Sector studies and economic and societal impacts
  2. Macro and international finance
  3. Personal and community finance
  4. Foreign direct investment (FDI)

Key Researchers

This cluster is led by Professor Glauco De Vita and Dr Harjit Sekhon, and is supported by a diverse team of researchers and PhD candidates.

Professor Glauco De Vita - Professor in Business Management

Cambridge University alumnus and former senior analyst for an American multinational, Glauco De Vita is a Professor of International Business Economics in the Centre for Business in Society (CBiS).

Glauco joined Coventry University in November 2015, from Oxford Brookes where over the years he held several key roles including Research Area Leader for Economics, Strategy and International Business, and Associate Dean Research and Knowledge Exchange. Glauco has over 60 publications in various areas of economics, international finance and business and management. Some journal high spots include: Economics Letters; Journal of International Money and Finance; Energy Economics; Journal of Financial Stability; Urban Studies; International Journal of Management Reviews; Journal of Small Business Management; Tourism Management; and Journal of Travel Research.

He has published extensively also in management education, where he has also earned an international reputation. He has a track record of successful bid writing, including as ESRC grant award holder (Principal Investigator), and considerable experience of successful supervision of master and doctoral students as well as PhD examining. He is a member of various editorial boards and a Fellow of The HE Academy (UK). He also served as a Member of the Advisory Panel to the UK Government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Dr Harjit Sekhon - Reader in Marketing

Since entering academia, after holding various marketing research and marketing posts in the UK financial services sector, Harjit continues to take a keen interest in developments in financial services. After holding a number of University leadership positions for more than a decade, he joined CBiS as a Reader. His particular areas of interest fall under the broad area of services management and/or marketing with an emphasis on topics such as trust, fairness, professionalism and excellence in financial services.

He has published more than 50 papers on the topic of marketing/ management. These papers have appeared in marketing journals of international and national repute, such as the European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Services Marketing, Service Industries Journal, and Journal of Strategic Marketing, as well as conferences across the globe. As well as mainstream marketing journals, he has published in other journals such as Studies in Higher Education.

Harjit is Chair of the UK Academy of Marketing’s Services & CRM SIG and serves on the editorial board of a number of journals. Harjit has extensive experience of seeing a number of PhD students through to successful completion and has examined numerous PhDs in the UK and overseas.

PhD Opportunities

The Sector, Economic and Financial Studies research cluster welcomes PhD applications aiming to develop an understanding of how alternative financial institutions - such as credit unions and community development finance institutions (CDFIs) - are shaping the responsible finance landscape in the UK. We are also interested in proposals that look into the attitudes towards financial services, particularly from a young person’s perspective, in order to increase engagement levels in pensions. Finally, we welcome applications that propose panel data econometric analyses of the impact of intellectual property rights (IPRs) on foreign direct investment (FDI).

Proposals for the following projects are welcome:

  • Intellectual Property Rights Protection: the impact on Foreign Direct Investment.  An econometric panel data analysis in developed and developing countries (Prof Glauco De Vita).
  • Risk Adoption in Financial Services: understanding consumers’ risk adoption in the financial services sector (Dr Harjit Sekhon).
  • Advocacy Behaviour: its role in financial services and the impact on long-term savings such as pensions (Dr Harjit Sekhon).
  • Responsible Finance: shaping the alternative economic landscape (Dr Lindsey Appleyard).

For all enquiries in the first instance, please contact Professor Glauco De Vita (, Dr Harjit Sekhon ( or Lindsey Appleyard (

Guidance on Coventry University’s PGR eligibility and application process can be found here.

More detail on the Centre for Business in Society can be found here or contact the Centre’s PGR Director, Dr Jason Begley (

Self-funding or corporately sponsored PhD applications are always welcome.  Some fees-only bursaries and full studentships might be available on a competitive basis.

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