Edmund Cannon

Professor of Economics, University of Bristol, edmund.cannon@bristol.ac.uk

I am a Fellow of the Pensions Institute and am a visiting professor at the University of Verona, where I also teach regularly. In April-May 2014 I was a visiting fellow at Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin.

The Department of Economics is part of the School of Economics, Finance and Management. My contact details are:

Prof Edmund Cannon,

School of Economics, Finance and Management,

Priory Road Complex,

Priory Road,



My office hours for the Spring term of 2018-19 are: Mondays 10.30-11.30 and Wednesdays 9.00-10.00. Unless something exceptional occurs I shall be in my office at these times to see students (i.e. no appointment necessary).

FAX: +44 (0)117 928 8577

TEL: +44 (0)117 928 8401

Select a link:

[Teaching] [Research] [Economic Policy] [Research in progress] [Refereed Journal Papers] [Unpublished Research] [Books] [Reports] [Book Chapters] [Outside Academia]


I teach two undergraduate units. One is an optional third-year unit called "Current Economic Problems" and uses economic theory to analyse contemporary topics: the topics change from year to year. Unfortunately the Greek debt crisis has remained on the syllabus longer than initially expected. Until recently I taught the compulsory second-year econometrics unit "QM3" at Bristol: this unit has now disappeared due to changes in the structure of our degrees and I now teach a second-year Economic History unit. University of Bristol students who want more details about these units can find information on the electronic learning tool Blackboard, which is not available to people outside the University of Bristol). Within the Department of Economics at Bristol I have the dubious privilege of being in charge of teaching matters (such as the allocation of teaching to staff). I am also an editor of the International Review of Economics Education and an associate of the Economics Network, which is a loose organisation to promote better teaching of economics in the UK higher education sector.


My two main areas of research are in pensions and in economic history. My pensions work has been concentrated on annuity markets, usually in conjunction with Ian Tonks (University of Bath). (Life) annuities are interesting products because they are a combination of a long-run savings product and an insurance product. The latter raises questions about adverse selection. Because people have little experience of annuities, they are a good candidate for testing behavioural economics. The UK annuity market is also interesting because it has been the largest in the world and is undergoing massive changes due to recent government policy. I am also interested in issues of historical development and I work with Liam Brunt on a range of historical issues from the UK's industrial revolution. In particular we are interested in the role of credit markets and transport networks in improving the conditions for economic growth.

Economic Policy

The academic research on the annuity market with Ian Tonks resulted in us being asked to produce two reports for the UK's Department of Work and Pensions, which are detailed below. Together with David Blake, we have also made contributions to the UK's change in annuity policy in 2010-11, where the requirement to use one's pension wealth to buy a pension (annuity) was relaxed. This has since been changed by the abolition of the annuitisation requirement altogether: for the effect of this see the NIER paper (details below) that I wrote with Ian Tonks and Rob Yuille.

Research in progress

Adverse selection in the UK annuity market and the 1956 Finance Act (joint with David de Meza and Ian Tonks)

The economics of grain storage in England, 1663-1846 (joint with Liam Brunt)

Integration in the English wheat market 1828-42 (joint with Liam Brunt)

Refereed Journal Papers

Click on the title of the paper to go to the final published version: this may link to a site for which one has to pay. Where an earlier (and possibly incomplete) version is available freely as a working paper, there is a link to that after the full bibliographic reference. I have recently started to add data sets and appendices (work in progress: please e-mail me if there is something that you want).

"Cohort mortality risk or adverse selection in annuity markets" (joint with Ian Tonks) Journal of Public Economics, 114, September 2016, pp.68-81. [Working paper] doi: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.07.002

"The Effect of the Reforms to Compulsion on Annuity Demand" (joint with Ian Tonks and Rob Yuille) National Institute Economic Review, 237, August 2016, pp.R47-R54. doi:10.1177/002795011623700116

"Surprising Selection Effects in the UK Car Insurance Market" (joint with Giam Pietro Cipriani and Katia Bazar-Rosen), Oxford Economic Papers, 68(4), June 2016, pp.879-897. [Working paper][Data and do files] doi: 10.1093/oep/gpw030

"Variations in the price and quality of English grain, 1750-1914: quantitative evidence and empirical implications" (joint with Liam Brunt) Explorations in Economic History, 58. October 2015, pp.74-92. [Working paper] doi: 10.1016/j.eeh.2015.06.001

"Price Efficiency in the Dutch Annuity Market" (joint with Ian Tonks and Ralph Stevens) Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, 14(1), January 2015, pp.1-18. [Working paper] doi: 10.1017/S1474747213000279

"Measuring integration in the English wheat market, 1770-1820: new methods, new answers" (joint with Liam Brunt) Explorations in Economic History, 52, April 2014, pp.111-130. [Working paper][Appendices][County wheat price data][Stata files for panel regressions] doi: 10.1016/j.eeh.2013.10.003

"The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: The English Corn Returns as a data source in economic history, 1770-1914" (joint with Liam Brunt) European Review of Economic History, 17(3), August 2013, pp.318-339. [Working paper] doi: 10.1093/ereh/het010

"The Value and Risk of Defined Contribution Pension Schemes: International Evidence" (joint with Ian Tonks) Journal of Risk and Insurance, 80(1), March 2013, pp.95-119. [Working paper] doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6975.2011.01456.x

"Comment on Chen and Lin "Does Downloading Power-Point Slides Before the Lecture Lead to Better Student Achievement?" International Review of Economics Education, 10(1), May 2011, pp.83-89. doi:10.1016/S1477-3880(15)30039-6

"Euro-Illusion: A Natural Experiment" (joint with Giam Pietro Cipriani) Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, 38(5), August 2006, pp.1391-1403. [Working paper] doi: 10.1353/mcb.2006.0066

"U.K. Annuity Price Series, 1957-2002" (joint with Ian Tonks) Financial History Review, 11(2), October 2004, pp.165-196. [Annual annuity data - but see Mitchell et al book below for more up-to-date data]

"U.K. Annuity Rates, Money's worth and Pension Replacement Ratios, 1957-2002" (joint with Ian Tonks) The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, 29(3), July 2004, pp.371-393. Data for the following figures are available: [Fig 1: Annuity Rates] For up-dated versions of other figures, see Mitchell et al book below.

"The Irish Grain Trade from the Famine to the First World War" (joint with Liam Brunt) Economic History Review, 57(1), February 2004, pp.33-79.

"Human Capital: Level versus Growth Effects" Oxford Economic Papers, 52(4), October 2000, pp.670–676.

"Economic Growth and Geographic Proximity" (joint with C.L.F.Attfield, D.Demery and Nigel W.Duck) Economics Letters, 68(1), July 2000, pp.109–112.

"Galton's Fallacy and Economic Convergence" (joint with Nigel W.Duck) Oxford Economic Papers, 52(2), April 2000, pp.415–419.

"Economies of Scale and Constant Returns to Capital: A Neglected Early Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth" American Economic Review, 90(1), March 2000, pp.292–295.

Unpublished articles which are still interesting

"Estimation and pricing with the Cairns-Blake-Dowd model of mortality" University of Verona, Dept of Economics, Working Paper No. 65, December 2009.

"A Grain of Truth in Medieval Interest Rates? Re-examining the McCloskey-Nash Hypothesis" (joint with Liam Brunt) University of Bristol, Department of Economics Working Paper, 98/462, January 1999.


Annuity Markets (joint with Ian Tonks), Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN-13: 978-0-19-921699-4, October 2008.


"Independent Review of Retirement Income: Consultation", March 2015. This summarises the responses to the review. [Here is the link to David Blake's full report.]

"Annuity Markets: Welfare, Money’s Worth and Policy Implications", (joint with Ian Tonks) Netspar Panel Paper No. 24, June 2011.

 Ending Compulsory Annuitisation: Quantifying the consequences (joint with David Blake and Ian Tonks) Pensions Institute Report No. 8, September 2010.

 Ending Compulsory Annuitisation: What are the consequences (joint with David Blake and Ian Tonks) Pensions Institute Report No. 7, July 2010.

Invited submission to House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee inquiry concerning "Tackling Pension Poverty Today in Great Britain" (joint with Ian Tonks) March 2009.

"Money's Worth of Pension Annuities" (joint with Ian Tonks) Department for Work and Pensions, Research Report 563, February 2009.

"Survey of Annuity Pricing" (joint with Ian Tonks) Department for Work and Pensions, Research Report 318, July 2006.

Book Chapters

"Compulsory and Voluntary Annuities Markets in the UK", (joint with Ian Tonks) in Mitchell, Piggott and Takayama Securing Lifelong Retirement Income: Global Annuity Markets and Policy Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-959484-9, May 2011. This is also available as a discussion paper. Data for the following figures are available: [Fig 10.5 (annuity rates)] [Fig 10.7 (money's worth)]

"The behaviour of UK annuity prices from 1972-2002" (joint with Ian Tonks) in Fornero and Luciano Developing an Annuity Market in Europe Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. ISBN 1-84376-476-8, 2004.

Outside Academia

I am married to Alison and have sixteen-year old twin boys. Much as many people learn about Keynes' General Theory through Hicks' exposition, one gets to the town where I live (Keynsham) via Hicks Gate roundabout. I am a member of the Church of England (with whose negative position on LGBT issues I disagree) and have twice been a church warden. I was a school governor for the local secondary school (Broadlands) for nine years.

As a student I was a competitive ballroom dancer, preferring Quickstep and Viennese Waltz (ie fast dances) to Foxtrot and English Waltz (ie slow dances). My wife and I still dance regularly, although not competitively. I sing tenor in a Keynsham choir called the Ammonites and in the Bristol Phoenix Choir. On the rare occasions when I have time, I play the clarinet. My longest-standing hobby is military history, especially the Napoleonic period. My favourite poet is T.S.Eliot.

These pages last up-dated on 10 October 2018.