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Dan Wood

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PhD Candidate

Contact Details

Please use the correct email address for your queries. Using the incorrect email address may significantly delay response to your enquiry.

Any enquiries related to my PhD research should go to my research email.

Research Email:

Any enquiries related to my teaching should be addressed to my teaching email.

Teaching Email:

Advice and Feedback Hours

I host an in-person advice and feedback session in D2.09 on

Mondays 15:00-16:00

Other advice and feedback sessions will be hosted on request via MS Teams. Please email my teaching email to book an appointment.


I am a PhD candidate within the Department of Politics and International Studies. My research is focussed on International Political Economy, specifically the politics of global finance. My PhD is supervised by Professor Lena Rethel and Dr Chris Clarke. I have previously obtained an MA in International Political Economy at the University of Warwick and a BSc in Economics and Political Science at the University of Birmingham. I also work as a senior graduate teaching assistant within PAIS.


My PhD is focussed on the politics of passive investment. Passive investment is an investment strategy. The strategy suggests that investors should try to match the market rate of return by holding a diversified portfolio that represents the whole market and maintain that portfolio for the long run. This is in contrast to active investment strategies that seek to outperform the market often through regularly trading. The logic behind passive investing is that it is difficult to be able to outperform the market, with no certainty that it can be done (statistically nearly 50% of investors must underperform the market average) and trying to outperform the market comes with significant costs. Therefore, passive investment has become prominent because it is able to match the average return of the market and at much lower costs. Passive investment has grown significantly in recent years and some estimates suggest more than $20 trillion of assets globally are managed this way.

Why is this political and not just a natural change that happens in financial markets? Firstly, I explore the historical origins of passive investment to explain why it was this strategy that became so prominent and the ways in which that development changed global finance. Secondly, I consider the power of passive investment today. The high finance of stocks and shares and investment strategies is something that can feel quite distant from our everyday lives. From control over companies that we interact with everyday, to the contents of our pensions, I try to demonstrate that passive investment is not something that happens in a neutral, technical and detached space but something that affects all of us.

My wider research interests include:

  • The Political Economy of Global Finance
  • Historical Political Economy
  • The Politics of Knowledge
  • Everyday International Political Economy
  • The works of Robert Cox


For the 2022/23 academic year I am teaching PO107 Introduction for Politics.