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Economics has a profound impact on everyday life and policymaking, but this value isn’t always obvious. Dr Tho Pham is determined to show just how significant economics is to everyday life through her research.

Social media and economics

Tho is raising the profile of the real-life impact of economics through her research on the influence of social media on people and outcomes, such as voting results. Tho is studying twitter posts relating to the EU referendum and the US Election in 2016 to see whether the increase in bot posts is linked to an increase in human posts of the same or opposite opinion.

If bot posts, despite being fake news, do influence other users, then they have implications for economics and politics.

Research with real-world impact

Tho’s social media research was picked up by the UK Parliament during their debates on Russian interference in the US elections, and stock markets are also now looking at the influence of twitter posts, especially posts created by bots, on the market.

Tho’s research is highlighting that economics truly does have impact on our everyday lives and provides important implications for policymakers. Tho is also working on a project in collaboration with the National Bank of Ukraine, on wage inflation. Tho is using big data analytics to analyse online vacancies to understand the labor market and its relationship with inflation. The research, if successful, will have implications for monetary policymaking.

Tho feeds her banking research into her teaching – at the University of Reading she teaches on the undergraduate module “Economics of Banking” and the postgraduate module “Economics of Financial Markets”.

Tho enjoys her interactions with students and by communicating her research to students she is learning to make it more accessible.