top of page

Do We Have Confidence in Economic Institutions?
Research Project

Opening the Black-box of the Household

A Qualitative Investigation into ideas and Practices of Cultures of Expertise

Scroll Down


Principal Co-Investigator: Dr. Johnna Montgomerie

Johnna is a reader in International Political Economy at King’s College London. Her research unpacks the significance of debt-dependent growth in the contemporary global political economy. In particular, she focuses on the spatial relations of debt and the importance of place in determining who has access to, and ultimately benefits from, financialisation.


Principal Co-Investigator: Dr. Ryan Davey

Ryan Davey is a social anthropologist specialising in debt and class inequality based at Bristol. His research has used ethnographic fieldwork on a housing estate in England to argue that de-industrialisation and financialisation have transformed the foundations out of which class-based identities arise.

Co-Investigators: Ryan Davey (Bristol), Ann Pettifor (PRIME Economics), and Sue Himmelweit (Open University & Women’s Budget Group).

Project Summary

The Institutions Hub pilot study, ‘Opening the Black-box of the household’ seeks to offer a proof of concept that the household - an institution with a recognisable set of socio-cultural relations that are deeply integrated into market society – is an important concept that will contribute to the rebuilding of macroeconomics. The research design triangulates three qualitative methods to produce a comprehensive breadth of evidence to provide proof the validity of the household as a recogniseable and deployable concept in macroeconomic policy making. First, an in-depth thematic literature review of different strands of feminist critique of economics and alternative conceptualisations of the household they put forward.


Second, textual analysis of institutional documentation from the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority (2009-19). Discourse analysis illustrates how the household is made visible within the macroeconomic landscapes of monetary and financial regulation: (i) for conceptual stretching beyond the quasi-legal regulatory boundary imposed by the agency remit; (ii) for reductively reforming the household into a simple, but recognisable, balance sheet. This is significant because the household is not invisible in public policy making, indeed it is deployed as a useful tool.



Opening the Black-Box of the Household in Macro-Institutional Cultures of Expertise

Johnna Montgomerie | July 29, 2021

Anchor 1
bottom of page