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John Gathergood

Professor of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

John Gathergood is Professor of Economics and Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange in the Faculty of Social Sciences. His research focuses on understanding consumer behaviour in financial markets. As Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor he is the portfolio holder for research in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

John commenced his studies at the University of Nottingham as an undergraduate student in the year 2000, graduating in 2003 before studying for an MSc (2004), PhD (2008), Postdoctoral Fellowship (2008-2010); prior to joining the faculty as an Assistant Professor (2010), becoming Associate Professor (2013) and subsequently Professor (2019) then Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor (2020). His PhD study was kindly funded by Experian plc. He publishes in leading academic journals in economics and finance including the American Economic Review, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of the European Economic Association, Economic Journal and Management Science. He also publishes in journals in a wider range of disciplines, including the Journal of Marketing Research, Nature Human Behaviour, and Social Psychological and Personality Science.

He has received more than £6.5million in research funding from the Economic and Social Research Council including a Postdoctoral Fellowship, Starting Grant, Centre Grant, Large Grant and Covid-19 Rapid Response Grant.

John has advised the Bank of England; Competition and Markets Authority; Department for Business, Enterprise, Innovation and Skills; Financial Conduct Authority; Her Majesty's Treasury; and the Open Banking Implementation Entity. He has conducted research in partnership with Argus Analytics, Barclays Stockbroking, Experian, Lloyds Banking Group, National Employee Savings Trust, Natwest Markets and Rightmove. He has also undertaken pro bono advisory work for the third sector including the Money Advice Trust and Stepchange debt advice charities. Much of his research involves collaboration with firms and policymakers on research useful for both knowledge and practice.

Recent Collaborations

Real Estate: John is currently working on a number of collaborations with the UK's largest property website, Rightmove.co.uk, including a randomised control trial and analysis of linked listing-sales data. This work is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Gambling Behaviour: In a collaboration with Lloyds Banking Group and colleagues at the Universities of Warwick and Oxford, John is studying the effects of gambling on individual financial, health and wellbeing outcomes. This work, published in Nature Human Behaviour, has been drawn upon by the Gambling Commission and All-Parliamentary Group on Gambling.

Individual Investor Behaviour: In a series of projects with Neil Stewart (University of Warwick), John is studying the behaviour of individual investors using data provided by Barclays Stockbroking. International collaborators on this project include David Hirshleifer (University of California at Irvine) and George Loewenstein (Carnegie-Mellon University).

Credit Card Debt Paydown: In a series of projects using data provided by Argus Analytics and involving randomised control trials administered by credit card companies and the Financial Conduct Authority, together with co-authors John is studying card holder behaviour in the credit card market. Studies include paydown of multiple credit cards (published in the American Economic Review), mental accounting (Management Science) and the role of minimum payment defaults (Journal of Marketing Research).

Regulation of Payday Lending: John's research on the effects of payday loans on consumers, undertaken jointly with Ben Guttman-Kenney and Stefan Hunt (economists at the UK Financial Conduct Authority) and published in the Review of Financial Studies, was used by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as the evidence base for the design of a price-cap on payday lending. The research, conducted in 2014, drew on the near-universe of UK payday loan applications over a two year period and employed a regression discontinuity design. The original FCA consultation document including the research technical appendices and the FCA final policy also reproduce the research paper findings in full. The resulting policy limited interest and charges on payday loans and has saved consumers over £600m in interest and charges since it was introduced in 2015. John testified before the UK parliament on the implications of this research for policy, including appearing before the Treasury Select Committee Inquiry on Consumer Financial Management. John provided expert witness testimony on a variety of topics, including the Price Cap for Payday Lending. Testimony before UK parliament. John further advised the FCA on the design and implementation of research on the 'Rent-to-Own' credit market in the UK.

Modelling Over-Indebtedness: Since 2009, John has authored a series of studies commissioned by UK government on the causes of over-indebtedness. The first project for the Department of Business scrutinized the existing definitions of 'over-indebted' and analysed the causes of household over-indebtedness at the individual level, published in the project report 'Drivers of Over-Indebtedness' A second report focused on the potential for using individual-level data held by the consumer counselling sector as an alternative and potentially higher quality data source to better understand the causes of over-indebtedness at the individual level, published as 'Understanding Consumer Over-Indebtedness Using Counselling Sector Data'. John subsequently testified about this research at the Business Select Committee. Select Committee Inquiry Report. In 2016, John conducted an updated analysis for the Financial Conduct Authority "Can We Predict Which Consumer Credit Users Will Suffer Financial Distress?" (with Ben Guttman-Kenney), also see FCA Insight Coverage.

Other Engagements: Throughout 2009 - 2012 John was an Adviser to the UK Treasury Debt Strategy Group. Throughout 2015-16, John served as Academic Adviser to the UK Competition and Markets Authority Retail Banking Market Investigation. See the CMA webpage here.

University Service

John has served as Deputy Head of School, Chair of the School Research Excellence Framework Strategy Group and as REF Unit Co-ordinator for the School's submission to REF 2021. As Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor he sits on the Faculty Directorate and Executive Board, and is Chair of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Board. At University level he serves on the Research Committee, Knowledge Exchange Committee and Research Performance Board. He is co-Chair of the five-yearly University Research Strategy Review and sits on University Steering Committees overseeing the University's relationships with Experian and KPMG.

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