Professor David Spencer

Professor David Spencer


I joined the University of Leeds in 1998 as a Lecturer in Economics, having previously completed my PhD at the same institution. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2004 and to Professor in 2013.

My research lies in labour economics and political economy. I adopt an interdisciplinary approach in both research and teaching and engage with ideas from the history of economic thought. My research focuses on the conception of work within economics and other disciplines. I am eager to explore the nature and limits of economics as a way to understand the world as it exists now and how it might exist in the future.


  • Head of School

Research interests

My main research interests are in the area of the economics and political economy of work. My published research covers several areas, from theories of work and well-being through to automation and the future of work. I retain broader research interests in political economy and the history of economic thought. I am commited to seeking ways to extend the understanding of work in social scientific research and to explore ways in which economics can engage constructively with other disciplines in forging a better understanding of work and social reality more generally.


  • PhD Economics
  • MA Economics
  • BA (Hons) Economics

Student education

My teaching is informed by a commitment to pluralism and an exploration of alternative perspectives in economics. I have taught across a range of modules at both UG and PG. I teach LUBS3925 The Political Economy of Work that draws directly on my research. I also contribute lectures on business ethics and schools of thought in economics.

Research groups and institutes

  • Applied Institute for Research in Economics

Current postgraduate researchers