Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Dr Susan Johnson

Susan Johnson

Senior Lecturer

3 East 3.32
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 6292

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My main research interest is in investigating the means through which social and cultural factors influence the economy and in particular how these factors influence the operation of markets in developing countries. I therefore investigate at the boundary of economics and other social sciences, in particular drawing on economic anthropology and economic sociology to investigate the social and cultural dimensions of market transactions and market development. My research can also be characterised as empirically driven and methodologically inductive in seeking to understand this boundary through the study of actually existing markets and the processes through which they are instantiated.

Having started my career as a development practitioner, my priority is research that engages theory with policy and practice. The core focus of my work to date has been on microfinance and the wider financial markets it operates within. I have therefore been engaged with a number of research and action research projects relating to the microfinance sector. More recently through my engagement with the Wellbeing in Developing Countries research programme (WeD) I have considered how markets relate to this wider goal.

Research interests

  • Poverty, inequality, wellbeing and sustainable livelihoods
  • Markets - social and cultural dynamics and the role of institutions
  • Microfinance and microenterprise
  • Gender analysis of development interventions
  • Regional focus: Africa – particularly Eastern Africa
  • Development management with a particular focus on monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment
  • Research methods: use of mixed methods, participatory and qualititative methods


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