Dr Olayinka Oyekola

Room 2.03, INTO Building - University of Exeter

Stocker Rd, Exeter EX4 4PY

E-mail: o.oyekola@exeter.ac.uk

I am a Teaching Associate at INTO, University of Exeter, and a Research Associate at the Julian Hodge Institute of Applied Macroeconomics. I graduated from Cardiff University in 2016 with a PhD in Economics. After moving to the UK from Nigeria in 2006, I have attended Cardiff University, completing a BA with Honours in Economic and Social Studies in 2010, a MSc in Economics in 2012, and an MRes in Advanced Economics in 2013.

I am an applied economist, studying issues at the intersection of governance, political economy, development economics, and economic history. I have a particular interest in how the evolution of democratic politics and practices shapes socio-economic, environmental, and health outcomes across and within countries. A further area of research I am pursuing concerns the co-evolution of formal and informal culture and institutions, with a focus on addressing the pervasive question of how to eradicate poverty, eliminate early-life mortality, and improve equality of opportunity and outcomes.

You can find my cv here.


Working Papers


"Life may be unfair, but do democracies make it any less burdensome?"

Using a large panel of countries, this article studies whether, or not, democracies can disproportionately produce better economic outcomes for the poor than non-democracies. To deal with the endogeneity of democracy and inequality, a regional democratisation wave is used to isolate the exogenous variation in country-level democracy. Our main finding is that the exogenous component of democracy significantly and robustly decreased inequality, after controlling for key inequality determinants. We identify that two potential mechanisms through which democracy affects inequality are structural transformation and middle-class bias channels.

"Democracy and the poor reassessed"

By using life expectancy as our core indicator of a country's health status, this paper empirically reassesses the political foundations of human biological development. Our overarching question is: does democracy drive the health of nations? To investigate this, we use both the level and change measures of democracy in our regressions. Our overriding discovery can be summarised as follows: accounting for the various country and time features, a one standard deviation increase in the level of democracy, of 0.35, is associated with a 0.11 standard deviation increase in life expectancy. This is equivalent to an increase in life expectancy of around 5 years for a country initially with a mean life expectancy of 54 years. However, we do not find the change measure of democracy to be consistently influential. These results are robust to employing alternative model specifications, to using different subsamples of the data, and to alternative estimation techniques. Additionally, we find that these critical effects are retained when using other measures of health performance. In particular, we see that as the level of democracy rises, each of infant mortality, child mortality, and crude death falls. We, therefore, conclude that the material role of a democratic system, and its institutions, in promoting human welfare, is of first-order relevance.

"Finance and inequality in a panel of US states"

We examine the impact of sector-based reform on income inequality, concentrating on state banking deregulation in the US, for which we employ annual balanced panel data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, covering the period from 1970 to 2000, for our baseline analysis. The estimation strategy exploits the variation across states and years in the enactment of laws that remove restrictions on in-state bank branch geographical expansion and cross-state bank business operational expansion to compute the effects of developments in the financial sector on income inequality. We find evidence that inequality on average decreases with within-state branching reform, whereas it on average increases with between-state banking deregulation. Utilising five different measures of inequality (top decile income share, Atkinson index, the Gini coefficient, relative mean deviation, and Theil entropy index), we determine that our finding materially depends on which measure of income inequality is being considered. We argue that this has not been stressed in the previous literature.

"Where do people live longer?"

Can historical exposures of non-European countries to European migrants explain part of their current health outcomes? We find that higher European share of the colonial population robustly raised life expectancy and reduced both fertility and infant mortality rates of present-day population in these former colonies. A causal interpretation is given to these results by considering various identification strategies. Overall, our results indicate that health fortunes around the world on average improved because of European colonial settlers and that differences in the current levels of health performance can be traced back to differential levels of European colonial settlements, where countries that experienced higher influx of colonial Europeans have better health prosperity nowadays than countries with lower inflow of colonial Europeans. We demonstrate that differences in the functioning of institutions and human capital accumulation appear to be the main intervening factors through which the European share of the colonial population has impacted current levels of national health, even though there appears to be a degree of support for gender inequality, culture, and self-reported perceptions of well-being to play some roles in transmitting the benefits of colonial European migration policies to health outcomes today.

"Energy Business Cycles"

(with David Meenagh and Patrick Minford) 

We find that, when estimated, a two sector computable dynamic stochastic general equilibrium open economy model of the U.S. that formally admits energy into the production process can generate plausible parameter values that can be applied to deal with a broad range of economic issues. As a benchmark, we require that the model fits the data for output, real exchange rate, energy use, and consumption: output because it serves as a measure of a country's total income; real exchange rate because it serves as a determinant of a country's relative competitiveness; energy use because it serves as an indicator of special inputs into a country's production process; and consumption because it serves as a yardstick for evaluating a country's standard of living. Finally, we argue that this model, with appropriate extensions, some of which we also propose, can help future modelers to tackle other research questions.

"The Role of Global Shocks in Explaining US Output and Real Exchange Rate: Evidence from Unfiltered Data"

(with David Meenagh and Patrick Minford)

We investigate the role of global shocks in the determination of US business cycle fluctuations, with a particular focus on their relative contribution to explaining the dynamics of output and real exchange rate. To this end, we develop a two-sector open economy dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model with oil demand that, in addition to global shocks, also incorporates productivity, mark-up and demand shocks. Using unfiltered data, this model is estimated within an indirect inference (II) framework. Our findings reveal that global shocks are among the chief drivers of movements in many US macroeconomic aggregates, including output and the real exchange rate between 1949 and 2013. Consequently, we establish that productivity, mark-up and demand shocks alone cannot sufficiently account for the observed volatilities in the variables of interest.

Work in Progress


"A cross-country analysis of the roles of border openness, human capital and legal institutions in economic development"

"Too much laissez-faire?"

"Ideology, individualism, and nature"

"Health accounting in 124 countries: An historical perspective"

"Resource exploitation in developing countries: the role of institutional development"

"Are they banking on your life? The impact of financial reforms on vital statistics across America"

“Banking reforms and the health of nations”

"Redistributing the wealth"

"Are babies good for the environment?"


"Economics 1," International Year 1. 2019--.

"Economics 2," International Year 1. 2019--.

"Maths for Business," Foundation Year. 2019.

"Microeconomics 1," International Year 1. 2018.

"Investments," Graduate Diploma. 2017--.

"Business Dissertation," Graduate Diploma. 2017--2019.

"Principles of Economics (Microeconomics)," International Year 1. 2016--.

"Principles of Economics (Macroeconomics)," International Year 1. 2016--.

"International Finance," Undergraduate Year 3. 2011-2015. 

"Macroeconomic Analysis," Undergraduate Year 3. 2012-2015. 

"Introduction to Economics," Undergraduate Year 1. 2011-2015.

"Industrial Economics," Undergraduate Year 3. 2015.

"Mathematical Finance," Postgraduate Economics and PhD Year 2. 2015.

"Pre-Sessional Mathematics and Statistics," Postgraduate Economics. 2013, 2015. 

"Microeconomics of Uncertainty," Postgraduate Economics. 2014. 

"Macroeconomics," Postgraduate Economics. 2013.

"Quantitative Methods," Postgraduate Economics and Finance. 2012.

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