Prof. Aoife Hanley, Ph.D.

Kiel Institute Researcher
Innovation and International Competition

Topics: International Trade, Climate, Emerging Markets & Developing Countries


Main research interests

  • The way in which international outsourcing affects profits and R&D
  • Firm level productivity
  • International outsourcing
  • Innovation and Exporting: whether exporting promotes R&D

Broadly speaking my current research has two main strands: 1) the use of outsourcing/offshoring on host and home economies and 2) innovation, R&D, firm survival and productivity.

My PhD at University of Edinburgh (graduated 2002) focussed on enterprise finance and credit scoring, a subject of some earlier publications in Small Business Economics and the Journal of Business, Finance and Accounting.
This earlier work ties in with current work on topic 2) on innovation, firm survival and productivity.

Work on effects of international outsourcing began when I teamed up with Holger Görg and Eric Strobl using firm level Irish data to answer questions such as whether buying in services and materials from international suppliers enhances firm productivity.

A spin-off from this work was to examine issues like secrecy and other protection mechanisms in the outsourcing relationship (e.g. the Gooroochurn and Hanley 2007 article in Research Policy).

Work on secrecy and outsourcing neatly synthesised my existing work on my two main research strands. I currently collaborate with several UK and German economists to investigate the extent to which UK exporting firms apply innovation to make their products ‘greener’ and cut energy costs.

Most of my research applies econometric tools in order to analyse micro level data. Our research, especially the work on outsourced services is of policy relevance and has been used by policy makers such as the European Commission and more recently CEPII. In April 2007 joint work on outsourcing appeared in the OECD publication on outsourcing called Compendium with studies on global value chains, edited by Pilat and Backer. This publication materialised after working for the year to bring together individual pieces of work and country datasets, preliminary paper which were presented at the OECD on November 15th 2006 (OECD workshop on the Globalisation of Production). Our joint work on offshoring was used by the UK former Department of Trade and Industry as part of the background consultations for their work on the 2004 White Paper on Trade and Investment.