Professor Nigel O'Leary
Telephone: (01792) 602113
Room: Office 212 - 212
Second Floor
School of Management
Bay Campus

Nigel O'Leary is an Associate Professor in the Labour Economics Section in the School of Management at Swansea University

Areas of Expertise

  • Economics of education
  • Public sector wage determination
  • Economics of wellbeing
  • Regional economics
  • Economics of discrimination


  1. Murphy, P., Blackaby, D., O'Leary, N., Staneva, A. Understanding What Has Been Happening to the Public‐Sector Pay Premium in Great Britain: A Distributional Approach Based on the Labour Force Survey British Journal of Industrial Relations
  2. Mann, S., Blackaby, D., O’Leary, N., O'Leary, N. Sexual identity and wellbeing: A distributional analysis Economics Letters 181 133 136
  3. Blackaby, D., Murphy, P., O’Leary, N., Staneva, A., O'Leary, N. Regional pay? The public/private sector pay differential Regional Studies 1 13
  4. Kidd, M., O'Leary, N., Sloane, P. The impact of mobility on early career earnings: A quantile regression approach for UK graduates Economic Modelling 62 90 102
  5. O’Leary, N., Sloane, P., O'Leary, N. Too many graduates? An application of the Gottschalk–Hansen model to young British graduates between 2001–2010 Oxford Economic Papers 68 4 945 967

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  • MN-2021 Micro-economics 2

    To provide students with a thorough grounding in the basic principles of market allocation, the nature and properties of market equilibria and the causes of market failure.

  • MN-D011 Dissertation - Economics (NCH)

    The dissertation is intended to enable a student to deepen his or her understanding of a particular area of Economics and economic communication. It gives students the opportunity to choose a topic independently, and work with a supervisor to produce a work of academic research of approximately 15,000 words in length, including a lay summary article of approximately 1,000 words. The dissertation prepares the student for a career in research, policy analysis, or journalism. The student should seek to publish the lay summary in a newspaper, magazine, blog, or other relevant publication. Dissertations can take a variety of forms, from literature reviews to empirical or case study work. Students are encouraged to use their knowledge, experience and ideas from any previous studies outside Economics. However, in order to be acceptable as part of the MA Economic Policy and Communication, the dissertation must be deemed to be written on an economic topic.

  • MN-M045 Communication and Public Understanding of Economics (NCH)

    This module introduces students to the analysis of communication, and combines the study of communication with reflection of economics as a field of knowledge. The objective of the module is to enable students to critically analyse economic writing and communications from a wide range of producers, including print and electronic media as well as social media. Students are invited to consider the specific challenges of the public understanding of economics as opposed to the natural sciences, including the often asymmetric nature of economic information, and the tendency of economists to disagree on assumptions and policy recommendations. This module is the first part of series of three economic communication modules that prepares students for communicating specialist economic knowledge to different audiences.

  • MN-M046 Microeconomic Principlies (NCH)

    This module introduces the key principles of microeconomics. The behaviour of firms and of individuals is analysed, and students are familiarised with supply and demand analysis. Insights from welfare economics are used to examine concepts such as competition and market power. Students then use this knowledge to critically evaluate segments of popular bestselling books that have melded pop culture with microeconomics (such as Freakonomics).

  • MN-M047 Public and Industrial Economic Policy (NCH)

    This module draws on three specialisms in microeconomics to address questions about people¿s daily economic lives. The module first draws on Industrial Organisation to ask questions about the goods and services we buy. Are we getting a bargain? Does the legislative framework protect us if things go wrong? Then, the module uses Public Economics to raise critical awareness about when the government might be required as an alternative to a free market. In this topic, we address questions such as how money can be raised through taxes whilst simultaneously limiting any disincentives they may cause. Finally, the module draws on Behavioural Economics to question whether people act in the way traditional economists have assumed. How might inconsistencies in how we discount leave us vulnerable to exploitation? To what extent can governments use insights from behavioural economics to help `nudge¿ us into better choices?

  • MN-M048 Statistics and Quantitative Research Skills (NCH)

    This module prepares the student for economic data analysis on other modules, including the Research Design and Data Collection and Dissertation modules. The course assumes no prior knowledge of Statistics or Mathematics. This course is intended to accustom students to using statistical methods systematically in their studies by contextualising why statistical skills are useful, introducing students to data analysis, and fostering quantitative research skills. There are dedicated sessions to teach data analysis functions of Microsoft Excel, and students are set a small Statistics project at the end of the module, which forms part of the assessment.

  • MN-M575 Ethics and Evaluation of Communication (NCH)

    This module invites students to analyse communications as a link between academic scholarship and the world of public communication. In the field of public understanding of science, students will develop their skills by observing lectures given by established scientists and specifically designed for lay audiences. The Science Literacy part of the module exposes students to different styles of communication and enables students to develop their skills in appraising the work of others, and using the experience for their own professional development as communicators. The Applied Ethics part of the module enables students to consider ethical dilemmas that economic communicators might face. This module is the final part of series of three economic communication modules that prepares students for communicating specialist economic knowledge to different audiences.

  • MN-M576 International Economic Policy (NCH)

    This module prepares the student for understanding what an economy is, how macroeconomic policy is formulated, how countries trade, and the ideas and assumptions on which these processes are based. The module is a concise summary of national economic questions in three interlocking areas. The economic growth and development topics invite students to consider the trajectories of diverse types of economies over time. The macroeconomic management and international economics topics introduce students to how globalised economies are managed in the real world. The themes have been selected due to their frequent appearance in economic and business news, election campaigns, and other types of public discussion. Each topic is treated rigorously and with reference to current scholarship. Policy is examined from a number of angles, and students are invited to engage not only in policy analysis, but also the formulation of new policy and, equally importantly, the evaluation of existing policy.

  • MN-M577 Macroeconomic Principles (NCH)

    This module introduces the key principles of macroeconomics. Students are introduced to models that have been perceived to explain the relationships between economic variables such as GDP, unemployment, inflation, savings, and investment. Fiscal policy and monetary policy are introduced, together with critical consideration of how and why governments can use these. This module also considers the recent global financial crisis, and how it has led macroeconomists to reassess traditional models. Students then use this knowledge to critically evaluate popular bestselling books that have melded pop culture with macroeconomics, such as Freefall.

  • MN-M578 Research Design and Data Collection (NCH)

    The Research Design and Data Collection module prepares students for writing an extended piece of independent economic research, by helping students choose and refine a dissertation topic and research design. It follows the Statistics and Quantitative Research Skills module, which prepares students for working with economic data, and the work completed for Research Design and Data Collection should form a basis for the student¿s work for the Dissertation module. The focus of the Research Design and Data Collection module is to locate appropriate academic literature and/or data for an informed choice of a topic area and an initial research question, gain practice in presenting early research ideas both verbally and in writing, and accustom students to receiving feedback and acting on it.

  • MN-M579 The Making and Communication of Economic Knowledge (NCH)

    This module is intended to enable students to consider how economists produce knowledge, and how this knowledge can best be disseminated to a range of audiences. Students are introduced to concepts of economics, some of them also covered elsewhere on the programme, and asked to reflect on them specifically from the point of view of communication and public understanding. Students are invited to consider limitations of modern economics, such as why theoretical paradoxes exist, or the ability of quantitative models to incorporate unobservable or intangible factors. Throughout, students are expected to reflect on how such complex matters should be meaningfully communicated to non-expert audiences. This module is the second part of a three-part set that prepares students for communicating specialist economic knowledge to different audiences.


  • Sexual Orientation and Wellbeing (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof David Blackaby
  • Essays on trust, corruption and welfare (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof David Blackaby
  • Subjective wellbeing, inequality and accessibility: country and neighbourhood level analyses (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Phil Murphy
    Other supervisor: Prof David Blackaby
  • Understanding the gap between the retail and wholesale electricity price in the UK electricity market (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Jinke Li
  • The effects of remittances and migration on labour markets in the MENA region (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Hany Mohamed
  • Untitled (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Jinke Li
  • Essays in International Trade (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Brian Varian
    Other supervisor: Dr Dario Debowicz
  • Skills, the Industrial Strategy and spreading prosperity throughout the UK (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof David Blackaby
  • Knowledge based economy in developing countries: Measurements and impacts (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Hany Mohamed

    Other supervisor: Prof David Blackaby
    Other supervisor: Prof Phil Murphy
    Other supervisor: Dr John Moffat
  • An investigation of the socio-economic relationship between civil society and social capital on subjective well-being (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Prof Phil Murphy
    Other supervisor: Prof David Blackaby