The Centre for Applied Finance and Economics (CAFÉ) holds a number of research presentations each month as well as conferences and workshops, which are arranged by Dr Eleni Papagiannaki and Hafiz Rana.

Due to the current climate and Coronavirus pandemic, we have moved to online webinars. 

Upcoming events

Presenters: Dr Bruce Philp and Dr Eleni Papagiannaki

Seminar: Wed 12 Jan  2022  14:00-15:30 : Click here to join the meeting

Title: Decomposing Surplus-Value: An Income Production, Distribution and Inequality Analysis of the UK Economy, 1997-2020.  Authors: Eleni Papagiannaki, Bruce Philp and Daniel Wheatley

Press here for Abstract

 Decomposing Surplus-Value: An Income Production, Distribution and Inequality Analysis of the UK Economy, 1997-2020.  Authors: Eleni Papagiannaki, Bruce Philp and Daniel Wheatley

This paper examines the trajectory of the surplus value rate (rate of exploitation) in the UK economy in the period 1992–2020, using ONS (Blue Book) and Understanding Society data. We initially define productive and unproductive labour, before outlining a method for applying the distinction, combining standard occupational codes (SOC) and standard industrial codes (SIC) to derive empirical estimates of Marxian economic categories. Thereafter, we derive an aggregate model, based on the New Interpretation framework (e.g. Mohun 1994). From this, macroeconomic variables are derived which form the basis for empirical estimates of the rate of surplus value, applying the productive-unproductive labour distinction, for the period in question. Then movements in this rate are decomposed into absolute and relative surplus value changes, which are then examined. As well as the unique contribution to our understanding of capitalism in the last three decades, the way micro-datasets are used to derive Marxian economic categories represents a key contribution to the empirical analysis of capitalism.

Seminar: Wed 16 Feb 2022 14:00-15:30 Assistant Lecturer, Ha Phuong LuongTopic: TBA

Seminar: Wed 16 Mar 2022 14:00-15:30  Senior Lecturer, Dr Danilo SpinolaTopic: TBA

Seminar: Wed 11 May 2022 14:00-15:30  Lecturer, Hafiz RanaTopic: TBA

Seminar: Wed 15 Jun 2022 14:00-15:30  Senior Lecturer, Dr Krish SahaTopic: TBA

Past Events

Dr Muhammad Akbar - Dynamic Effect of Attention Index, Business Conditions Index on the Islamic Securities: Insights from Wavelet Analysis

Seminar Title: Dynamic Effect of Attention Index, Business Conditions Index on the Islamic Securities: Insights from Wavelet Analysis

Time: Wed 8   Dec 2021  14:00-15:30 : What the video recording here.

Presenter: Senior Lecturer, Dr Muhammad Akbar

We examine the relationship of COVID-19 household attention index, ADS business condition index, Islamic stock, and bond index returns during pandemic situations using wavelet analysis. Our findings suggest a negative relationship of COVID-19 household attention index with ADS business condition index, Islamic stock returns, and Islamic bond returns before April 2020, whereas a positive relationship with Islamic bond index returns afterwards. Moreover, in the partial wavelet coherence analysis, the COVID-19 attention index demonstrates long-run relationship with Islamic stock and bond index returns. The joint effect of COVID-19 and ADS business condition index depicts short and long-run correlation where the long-run relationship is more pronounced. Our findings suggest households’ attention towards the capital market during the pandemic.

Prof David Higgins - Black Swan Events and Decision-Making Strategies: A Real Estate Perspective

Seminar Title: Black Swan Events and Decision-Making Strategies: A Real Estate Perspective

Time: Wed 17/11/2021 14:00 - 15:30 - Watch the video recording here.

Presenter: Prof David Higgins, BCU School of Engineering and the Built Environment

The term “Black Swan” describe an extraordinary event that causes extensive damage. The combination of low predictability and major impact makes an upswing in the magnitude of Black Swan events an important factor in the decision-making process. This research provides an introduction to Black Swan Events with a definition and places the extensive range of known unknown events into a conceptual framework as to the impact on the economy, specifically looking at how to manage these events within the real estate context. Creating a comprehensive risk management structure can enhance decision making in a world increasingly affected by large, highly improbable and unpredictable events.

Dr Hafex Abdo - Historical Evolution of Accounting Practices and Regulations for Extractive Industries: A Framework for Harmonisation

Seminar Title: Historical Evolution of Accounting Practices and Regulations for Extractive Industries: A Framework for Harmonisation

Time: Wed 13/10/2021 14:00 - 15:30 - Meeting Link TBA

Presenter: Dr Hafex Abdo – Associate Professor, Nottingham University Business School

Watch the video recording: press here

Via lenses of the positive accounting theory (PAT) and the institutional isomophirc theory (IIT), this study addresses historical evolution in accounting regulations and attempts by international accounting bodies to harmonise the diverse accounting practice by these industries. It proposes a harmonisation framework for the diverse accounting practices of the extractive industries. 

The study takes a three-stage approach. The first stage involves a comprehensive literature review of accounting regulations and practices by extractive industries. The PAT and the IIT are used to explain attempts of accounting regulatory bodies and reactions to these attempts. The second stage involves constructing an accounting practice index for extractive industries. The third stage involves constructing a harmonisation framework. Our harmonisation framework allows comparability of accounts of extractive industries’ firms and can be used by international accounting bodies as a pathway for standardising accounting policies for the extractive industries.  

Whilst this study extends literature on accounting for the extractive industries it offers a comprehensive review to the accounting regulations of these industries and suggest a harmonisation framework that can be used to allow sensible and practical comparability of accounting practices by these industries.   

 Key Words: Accounting Regulations, Extractive Industries, Harmonisation, IFRS, Oil and Gas 
Erez Yerushalmi - Quantifying the benefits of Telemedicine: A General Equilibrium Approach with application to Canada 

University Malaya Webinar Series in Economics : Quantifying the benefits of Telemedicine: A General Equilibrium Approach with application to Canada 
PresenterErez Yerushalmi, Guest Lecturer in Department of Economics, University Malaya

Time: Wed 15/09/2021  09:00-10:30 (UK time)


Compared to traditional in-person healthcare delivery, telemedicine is characterized as the ability to remotely access healthcare services facilitated by using information and communication technologies (ICT). The COVID-19 pandemic has acted globally as a force of rapid digital transformation across many business sectors including how people access healthcare. Increasingly since the outbreak of the pandemic, many primary and special healthcare consultations are moving towards remote consultations and services. But as we discuss in this paper, the rate of adoption is slow and there are many barriers that impede adoption. To contextualize this promising technology in terms of a benefit-cost analysis, the aim of this paper is to quantify the likely potential social-economic benefits which would accrue by permanently increasing the adoption of Telemedicine. To do this, we develop an economy-wide computable general equilibrium (CGE) model which we calibrate to the Canadian economy. The main component in our model that captures the benefits of Telemedicine is an endogenous labor-leisure substitution. Our simulations show that substituting 50 percent of the in-person primary care visits with tele-consultations could save around 65 million hours in Canada and would therefore increase Canada’s real GDP (economic welfare) by 0.21% per year and increase social-welfare by 0.14%.

Prof Alex De Ruyter-  Universal Basic Income in the West Midlands and the UK
Seminar: Universal Basic Income in the West Midlands and the UK

Time: Wed 14/07/2021 10:00 - 11:30  - Watch the recorded video

Presenter: Prof Alex De Ruyter– Director for the Centre for Brexit Studies, Birmingham City University

COVID-19 has shifted attitudes towards the world of work as well as beliefs about what is feasible and desirable. Over the course of the pandemic, over ten million people have been paid, not by their employer, but by the state. It was into this remarkable environment that the current research project was born. We sought to ascertain the current understanding and views towards a Universal Basic Income (a regular cash payment made to all in society) in so-called “red wall” seats in the West Midlands. Respondents were overwhelmingly conscious of employment insecurity for themselves or others in light of the pandemic. Overall, the concept does appear to have the hallmarks of a politically popular policy. These results suggest that it has the potential to be a “vote-winner”. However, proponents of a UBI do have some clear political hurdles to overcome

David Hearne -  Subnational price variation - the case of the UK

Title: Subnational price variation - the case of the UK

Time: Wed 16/06/2021 14:00 - 15:30 - Watch the recorded video.

Presenter: David Hearne – CAFE and Brexit Centre, Birmingham City University

Economists and members of the public have long taken an interest in price differences, both over time and across space over time. Monthly inflation figures are eagerly anticipated and keenly watched. The purchasing-power parity “puzzle” is widely taught in both macroeconomics and econometrics, whilst the Penn World Tables are very widely used in empirical work (and published in the ). Historically, far less attention has been paid to price variation  countries, in spite of a growing body of empirical evidence suggesting that it is empirically significant and economically important. This seminar presents results on the UK from a combination of data sources to build up and increasingly complete picture of subnational price variation. There are ramifications for both macroeconomics as well as regional differences in GDP, productivity, living standards and public service provision. For a country concerned with “levelling up”, such information is likely to prove critical.

Paladini and Yerushalmi -  Blockchain Solution for an Open-Access Fintech Bank: a discussion on the welfare gains and adoption challenges of the removal of banking intermediation

Title: Blockchain Solution for an Open-Access Fintech Bank: a discussion on the welfare gains and adoption challenges of the removal of banking intermediation

Time: Wed 12/05/2021 14:00 - 15:30

Presenter: Dr Stefania Paladini and Dr Erez Yerushalmi – Birmingham City Business School

With bitcoins and their numerous alt-coin competitors soaring in value every day, blockchain is now extremely popular, even though its full potential outside the cryptocurrencies is not widely understood. At its core, blockchain is a decentralized database of information, stored on numerous computers, making it extremely costly for an unlawful actor to change or remove blockchain entries without the approval of all other users. This powerful feature creates an extremely secure system and could potentially remove the need for third-party verification, and thus lead to groundbreaking changes to financial intermediation services alongside many other sectors. There are, however, a few challenges that have prevented this to happen so far. A main challenge is the regulatory framework. To date, there is no clear regulations that incorporates this new technology and harmonises it with the existing privacy laws (e.g., GDPR in Europe). This type of regulation vacuum creates frictions for blockchain, in the present and future, which are not well documented or contextualized. Other challenges cover technological and environmental issues, among a few, that add to the overall complexity. In this paper, we explore and summarize these barriers. We furthermore develop a simple general equilibrium model, with two competing financial intermediation sectors (i.e., traditional versus new), to illustrate how these barriers could negatively affect consumer welfare.

Dr Erez Yerushalmi - Guest Lecturer in the University of Malaya: COVID-19 and the Cost of Vaccine Nationalism

Time: Friday 7/05/2021 09:00 - 10:00 British Summer Time (BST)

Presenter: Dr Erez Yerushalmi – Birmingham City Business School

Dr Erez Yerushalmi is a guest lecturer in the University of Malaya and will present his research on COVID-19 and the Cost of Vaccine Nationalism. The presentation is online, 7 May 2021, 9am BST and all are welcome (follow the zoom link).

Zoom link:

Erez and co-authors develop a multi-country computable general equilibrium model to quantify the cost to 30 high-income countries if low and middle-income countries miss out on initial access to COVID-19 vaccines. We find that an unequal allocation of COVID-19 vaccines could cost the global economy up to $1.2 trillion a year in GDP terms. Even if some countries manage to immunise their populations against the virus, if the virus is not under control in all regions of the world, there will continue to be a global economic cost associated with COVID-19 (Link to the working paper)

Dr Danilo Spinola – Macroeconomic impact of public and private R&D networks

Dr Danilo Spinola –Macroeconomic impact of public and private R&D networks

Time:  Wed 17/03/2021 14:00 - 15:30

Online: Join Zoom Meeting,

Presenter: Dr Danilo Spinola – Senior Lecturer, Birmingham City Business School


In this paper, we investigate the relative role of public and private R&D as well as R&D collaboration configurations on market and aggregate dynamics, using a macroeconomic model with endogenous technological change, building on the Keynes meets Schumpeter (K+S) family of models (Dosi, Fagiolo, & Roventini, 2010). Our model explains emergent aggregate productivity and economic growth processes from the interaction between public and private actors within a R&D network, and their impact on the creation and diffusion of technology within the economy. In this framework, we study the effect of different industrial policies affecting the weight and position of public actors, the structure of innovation networks and the appropriability of knowledge.

 Dr Muhammad Akbar – Stand Still and Do Nothing: COVID-19 and Stock Returns and Volatility

Stand Still and Do Nothing: COVID-19 and Stock Returns and Volatility

(CAFE Working Paper 7)

Time:  Wed 10/02/2021 14:00 - 15:30

Online: Watch a recording of the presentation here.

Presenter:  Dr Muhammad Akbar  – Birmingham City Business School


Dr Muhammad Akbar will present his new CAFE Working Paper 7. We examine the intraday returns and volatility in the US equity market amid the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Our empirical results suggest increase in volatility overtime with mostly negative returns and higher volatility in last trading session of the day. Our Univariate analysis reveal structural break(s) since the first trading halt in March 2020 and that failure to account for this may lead to biased and unstable conditional estimates. Allowing for time varying conditional variance and conditional correlation, our dynamic conditional correlation tests suggest that COVID-19 cases and deaths are jointly related to stock returns and realised volatility.

Dr Mohamed Elmahoub – Extended audit report, key audit matters and cost of debt

Extended audit report, key audit matters and cost of debt

Time:  Wed 13/01/2021 14:00 - 15:30


Presenter:  Dr Mohamed Elmahoub  – Birmingham City Business School


This study examines the impact of the extended audit reporting (EAR) on the pricing of debt capital. Using an extensive sample of UK firms for the recent 8-year period in which we cover pre- and post-substantial structural changes in the audit market regulation, our results are threefold. First, our findings suggest that an EAR is significantly and negatively associated with the cost of debt. Second, our results indicate that the number and/or length of risk of material misstatements that are disclosed as key audit matters have a significant and positive impact on the cost of debt. Finally, we find that the tone of an EAR is related to the cost of debt, with a net positive tone is negatively associated with the company cost of debt. The results are consistent with our predictions that EAR can reduce the information gap between auditors and financial report users in general, but debt providers in particular.

Dr Xiehua Ji (Richard) – Capital Structure Choice Under Asymmetric Information and Overconfident Managers

Capital Structure Choice Under Asymmetric Information and Overconfident Managers

Time:  Wed 09/12/2020 16:00 - 17:00


Presenter:  Dr Xiehua Ji (Richard) – Birmingham City Business School

Traditional pecking-order theory (POT) cannot explain why good-quality firms issue equity: this is often considered to be an empirical puzzle. We build a model of capital structure that has elements of both asymmetric information and behavioural finance. Firms have private information about their expected performance. The model also includes overconfident managers. Our model predicts that high-quality firms may issue equity in equilibrium, which contrasts the results in Fairchild (2005). Unlike in Fairchild (2005), managers are not equally overconfident and no exogenously given bankruptcy costs exist in our model. We test our model using a large set of data from the U.S. market and find strong empirical support.

Dan Wheatly – Remote Working and the Crisis

Remote Working and the Crisis

Location: Webinar - platform ZOOM. Please see Bruce's email with ZOOM weblink and password.  (If you want to attend but haven't received Bruce's email, please contact Dr Eleni Papagiannaki and Hafiz Rana).

Time: Wednesday, 29 April, 2-3.30 pm

Presenter:  Dan Wheatly – University of Birmingham

 Prof. Alexandros Psychogios – International online lecture: To Panic or to...Panic? Allow your brain to guide you on how to embrace crisis and lead people

International online lecture: To Panic or to...Panic? Allow your brain to guide you on how to embrace crisis and lead people

Date/Time: 15 April 2020, 10 am UK time (11 am Central European time, and 12 pm Eastern European time). 

Place: Online webinar. Registrations open online. Alternatively, go to the Facebook page to book.

Presenter:  Prof. Alexandros Psychogios – Birmingham City University

Dr. Peter Backus – Criminalizing the purchase of sex: Effects on the sex market, sexual violence and public health

Time: Wednesday 5 February 2020 

Presenter: Dr. Peter Backus – The University of Manchester


Peter Backus and Thien Nguyen

We study the effects of criminalizing participation in the market for sex. This approach to the regulation of the market for sex an approach is often referred to as the Nordic Model of sex market regulation and over the last 20 years has been adopted in a number of countries, including Canada. In 2015, Northern Ireland adopted the Sex Buyer law, the only part of the United Kingdom to do so, and we use this unusual case of a sub-national change in sex market regulation to estimate the causal effects of the criminalization of the purchasing of sexual services. Using newly constructed data sets, our results suggest the Sex Buyer Law reduced the size of the sex market in Northern Ireland and lead to decreases in sexual violence and in rates of sexually transmitted infections. Using panel data on sex market transactions, we find weaker evidence of the law reducing prices. Taken together the evidence suggests that the Sex Buyer Law can have positive effects it may leave sex workers themselves worse off in terms of income.

Dr Erez Yerushalmi - Imputing the Social Value of Public Healthcare: a General Equilibrium Simulation of Israel

Time: Wednesday 11 December

Presenter: Dr Erez Yerushalmi


General Equilibrium Simulation of Israel

Countries with universal healthcare have experienced a rising demand for healthcare services without a corresponding rise in public supply. This has led to a debate on whether to increase private healthcare services - especially in hospitals and second-tier healthcare. Proponents for increasing private healthcare highlight gains in efficiency and innovation, while opponents emphasize its risk to social welfare. However, the monetary value of these gains and losses is seldom quantified.

The aim of this paper is to impute the minimum social value of public healthcare that corresponds to indifference between gains in economic efficiency with losses to social welfare. To do this, we develop a general equilibrium model that distinguishes between public-private healthcare services and public-private healthcare financing. Our approach resembles contingent valuation methods that introduce a hypothetical market. However, it is different because we use numerical simulation techniques to compare a regulated with a deregulated health-labour market, and the social value is modelled as a byproduct of healthcare services. The model is then calibrated to our unique health-focused Social Accounting Matrix of Israel, and simulates the introduction of a hypothetical health-labour market (which is heavily regulated in the baseline).

Using a Monte-Carlo method, we estimate the minimum social value at around 26% of public healthcare financing. We furthermore simulate a deregulated healthcare scenario that internalizes the imputed value of social value. We show that when assessing the best type of healthcare, policy makers should weigh the economic gains of deregulation with the lost social value. Well-being may even decrease in cases of over-privatization.

Find out more