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Personal profile

Biography

Jack Newman is a Research Associate at The Productivity Institute and the Department of Politics, University of Manchester. Jack’s current research sits within the Productivity Institute’s ‘Institutions & Governance’ theme, asking whether UK productivity is constrained by the structure of its political institutions.

Previously, Jack worked at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, collaborating with the Institute for Government on a review of the UK constitution. This followed a post at the University of Surrey on the LIPSIT research project, which analysed the link between local economies and the design of political institutions. Across these projects, Jack has written academic papers, media pieces, and policy reports about English devolution, the “levelling up agenda”, and the effectiveness of place-based policymaking.

In 2019, Jack completed a PhD at the University of Leeds, focused on the underlying (ontological) assumptions of UK social policy and the Conservative governments of the 2010s. He also holds an MA Politics from Leeds (2014) and a BA Politics from the University of Liverpool (2010).

Jack is active in academic networks relating to British politics, regional studies, and critical realism, contributing to the running of academic journals, professional networks, and research seminars.

Research interests

Jack’s current research is focused on the Productivity Institute’s ‘Institutions & Governance’ theme, considering whether UK productivity is constrained by the structure of its political institutions. This particularly considers whether UK governance is too centralised, too fragmented, and too short-termist to improve productivity and tackle regional inequalities.

More broadly, Jack’s research concerns how institutional structures and underlying assumptions affect the policymaking capacity of the UK’s political institutions. This overarching interest entails several specific strands of research:

  1. The development of devolution and central-local relations in England.
  2. The impact of governance structures on place-based policymaking and regional inequality.
  3. The underlying (ontological) assumptions of social and economic policy in the UK.
  4. The influence of the private sector on politics and policymaking.

This research is underpinned by mixed-methods approaches and an active engagement in the philosophy of social science, with a particular focus on critical realism, social ontology, network analysis, and critical discourse analysis.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Areas of expertise

  • JA Political science (General)
  • JF Political institutions (General)
  • JN101 Great Britain
  • British Politics
  • UK Constitution
  • England
  • JS Local government Municipal government
  • English devolution
  • Devolution
  • Local political economy
  • Local Governments
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Elite Interviewing
  • Methodology
  • Epistemology
  • Ontology
  • HM Sociology
  • Structure and agency
  • Material and ideational
  • Change and Stability
  • Morphogenetic Approach
  • B Philosophy (General)
  • Ontology
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Critical Realism

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • The Productivity Institute

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