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Professor Kevin Farnsworth

BA (Hons) in Social Policy, MSc in Research Methods, PhD in Social Policy.

  • Reader in Social Policy
  • Director of The School of Social and Political Sciences

Visit Dr Kevin Farnsworth's profile on the York Research Database to see a full list of publications and browse his research related activities.


Recent highlights

Areas of expertise

  • Political economy of welfare states
  • The power and influence of business on social and public policy
  • Corporate welfare
  • Welfare states and economic crisis


I joined the University of York in September 2014. Prior to that I was senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield and I’ve held visiting Professorships at the University of Toronto and Carleton University, Canada. I hold a BA (Hons) in Social Policy, MSc in Research Methods and PhD in Social Policy. I have published widely on business and public policy, corporate power, corporate welfare and economic crisis and welfare states.

Professional activities

  • Joint Editor of the Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy
  • Joint organiser of 2013 and 2014 Social Policy Association Annual Conferences in Sheffield (with Zoe Irving)
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the UK Social Policy Association, 2005-2008


I teach across a number of modules at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. My modules cover a range of issues, but two key questions are at their heart: why does inequality persist, and why do some governments appear to be so unwilling or unable to do anything about it? My aim is to arm students with the necessary tools - theoretical and empirical - to critique their own perceptions of who benefits from the welfare state, who (or what) shapes it and what are the effect of social policies (or a lack of social policies) on individuals and society more broadly. I encourage students to not only reflect upon the key problems and challenges that confront societies, but to come up with solutions to those problems. I currently convene Welfare States and the Economic Crisis and teach on The Policy Process.



My research interests centre on three key areas:

  1. the relative power and influence of business and labour on governments, especially with regard to social and public policy;
  2. the economic crisis and welfare states;
  3. corporate welfare (state assistance to corporations) and its relationship with social welfare within various welfare systems.

My current work includes a book on British Corporate Welfare and two further books on the impact of austerity politics on welfare states (with Zoe Irving).

Contact details

Professor Kevin Farnsworth
Director of The School of Social and Political Sciences

Tel: 01904 32 1207

corporate welfare watch database kevin farnsworth

Corporate Welfare Watch Database - which companies are receiving financial assistance from the Government


Social Policy in times of austerity, policy press, September 2015, Zoe Irving Kevin Farnsworth

Farnsworth, K & Irving, Z. (eds.) (2015) Social Policy in Times of Austerity, Policy Press


journal of international and comparative social policy, zoe irving Kevin Farnsworth editors

Farnsworth, K. & Irving, Z. (eds.) Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy