Associate Professor in Economics

+44 (0)113 3434484
Academic, Applied Institute of Research in Economics (AIRE), Economics
G.16, Maurice Keyworth Building
Curriculum Vitae:
Peter Howley CV

I received my PhD from University College Dublin in 2008 in Economics and Environmental Policy. Since then I have worked as an economist for an agricultural/rural development agency in Galway, Ireland (Teagasc), a Lecturer and then subsequently Senior Lecturer in Economics within the Environment Department at the University of York. I took up my current position as an Associate Professor in the Economics Division here at the University of Leeds in May 2018. My work lies at the intersection between economics and psychology, while also drawing on insights from other disciplines such as sociology and human geography.

My current research is principally in the area of applied microeconomics (most often using panel data methods) with a particular focus on the ‘economics of happiness’. I am currently PI on a project funded by the Nuffield foundation looking at the relationship between immigration and subjective well-being in the UK. Some of the other ‘well-being’ related topics that I have worked on include the role of status effects (relative position) for happiness, the determinants of well-being (e.g. health, social capital, air quality) and adaptation to life-events.

I also have a keen interest in agricultural economics. My previous research in this area has shown the importance of considering non-monetary drivers such as non-pecuniary benefits, productivist attitudes and risk aversion when seeking to understand farmers’ behaviour. Related to this work, I am currently a Co-I on an interdisciplinary project, I Know Food, funded by the Global Food Security Programme addressing the topic of food system resilience. Within this project, I am looking at, among other things, the application of key principles from the behavioural economics sphere in influencing farmers’ behaviour.

Finally, I have worked on a number of issues in the environmental and resource economics domain. This includes the effect of weather on interpersonal violence, non-market valuation and the determinants of pro-environmental behaviour. While I principally use quantitative methods, I also dabble with qualitative research methods on various projects mostly led by talented postgraduate students.

I currently supervise a number of PhD and postdoctoral researchers working on areas related to the work described above. I am interested in hearing from enthusiastic potential PhD students (or anyone else for that matter) interested in working in any of these areas. The funkier the idea the better!


Research funding

  • Howley, P. Moro, M., Heron, T. and Delaney, L. (£181,000) Immigration and well-being. Nuffield foundation. PI.
  • Sccarpa, R., Howley, P., Panzone, L. and Thankappan, S. (£29,000) Cost-effective supply chain for livestock in Ethopia. N8 Strategic pump priming, 2017-2018. Co-I.
  • Doherty, B., Christiansen, P., Ensor, J., Grieve, B., Halford, J., Heron, T., Howley, P., Ozanyan, K., Petrie, H., Pickett, K. and West, C. (£3.4m), IKnow Food, BBSRC, 2016-2020.Co-I
  • Howley, P. and McClean, C. ESRC PhD Studentship co-financed with Environment Department, (£51,000), 2014-2017. PI.
  • Doherty, B. et al. N8 Industry Innovation Forum (£27,000), 2015.
  • Howley, P. Offaly Local Development Authority (€30,000), 2012.
  • Howley, P., Buckley, C. and O Donoghue, C. (€88,000) Public attitudes towards water quality. Environmental Protection Agency, 2011-2012. PI.
  • Howley, P., Buckley, C. and O Donoghue, C. (€86,000), The drivers of river water quality. Environmental Protection Agency, 2011-2012. PI.

Current postdoctoral supervision

PhD Students


  • Eric Marr: Food Production or Biodiversity Protection? Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship. Completed September 2018
  • Xiaowen Wang (co-supervised with Murray Rudd) Pharmaceuticals and Personal care Products in the Environment in China. Completed September 2016.


  • Fari Aftab (co-supervisor with David Spencer and Juliane Scheffel). The economic and social integration of migrants in the UK 
  • Karine Rassool (co-supervisor with Bryce Beukers-Stewart): Social, economic and cultural value of the fisheries sector in the Seychelles.
  • Juan C. Trujillo: Extreme weather events, health and well-being. Funded by the Economic Development, Institutions, and Public Policies for the Progress of the Colombian Caribbean.
  • Sarah Knight (co-supervisor with Colin McClean): Environmental amenities and well-being. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
  • Alda Toma (co-supervisor with Jon Ensor): Ecosystem based adaptation to climate change in Mozambique
  • Jennifer Chapman (co-supervisor with Alistair Boxall): Assessment of socio-economic and ecological impacts of veterinary drugs in the environment. Funded by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.



I have substantive experience developing and teaching a wide variety of modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level including Applied Economics, Environmental Economics, Environmental Valuation, Resource Economics and Research Methods.



Some selected recent papers over the last three years – see CV for complete list.

Health and well-being

  • Ocean, N., Howley, P. and Ensor, J. (2018) Lettuce Be Happy: A longitudinal UK Study on the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and well-being, Social Science and Medicine, In press.
  • Howley, P., Waqas, M., Moro, M., Delaney, L. and Heron, T. (2018) Immigration and self-reported well-being in England. Under review.
  • Howley, P. and Knight, S. (2018) Staying down with the Joneses: Neighbourhood differences in the well-being effects of unemployment. Under review.
  • Howley, P. (2017) Less money or better health? Evaluating individuals’ willingness to make trade-offs using life satisfaction data. Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation, 135-53-65.
  • Howley, P., Dillon, E., Heanue, K. and Meredith, D. (2017) Worth the risk? The behavioural path to well-being. Journal of Agricultural Economics 68, 534-552.
  • Howley, P., O Neill, S. and Atkinson, R. (2015) Who needs good neighbours? Environment and Planning A, 47, 939-956.

Farmer behaviour

  • Howley, P. (2015) The happy farmer: the effect of nonpecuniary benefits on behaviour. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 97, 1072-1096.
  • Howley, P., Buckley, C., Donoghue, C. and Ryan, M. (2015) Explaining the economic ‘irrationality’ of farmers’ land use behaviour: the role of productivist attitudes and non-pecuniary benefits. Ecological Economics, 109, 186-193.
  • Dillon, E.J., Hennessy, T., Howley, P., Cullinan, J., Heanue, K. and Cawley, A (2018) Routine intertia and reactionanry response in animal health best practice. Agriculture and Human Values, 35, 207-221.

Environmental behaviour/Preferences

  • McNally, H., Howley P. and Cotton, M. (2018) Public perceptions of shale gas: framing effects and decision heuristics. Energy, Ecology and Environment, 3, 305-316.
  • Truilijo, J. and Howley, P. (2018) The effect of weather on crime in a Torrid Urban Zone. Revised and resubmitted, Environment and Behaviour

Qualitative research

  • Marr, E. and Howley, P. (2018) The accidental environmentalists: factors affecting farmer’s adoption of pro-environmental activities in England and Ontario. Revised and resubmitted, Journal of Rural Studies
  • Taherzadeh, O. and Howley, P. (2017) No net loss of what, for whom? Stakeholder perspectives on Biodiversity Offsetting in England. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 1-24.


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