Labour Market Policy, Welfare reform politics, Unemployment, Critical Discourse Analysis, social security, Work, Archival Research and Document Analyses
Jay’s research concentrates on the politics of labour market policy and the governance of public employment services and social security administration. Recent work includes; analysis of the class politics of job retention schemes in the UK and examination of financialisation, employment programmes and social impact investment markets. He is currently involved with the ESRC-funded project, headed up by Morgan Currie (PI) looking at automated services and claimant experience in the UK's Universal Credit system.
Jay is also interested in the political and policy discourses connected to social security and labour market reforms and how this relates to the agency of 'dominant' and 'dominated' actors within public policy. He is currently collaborating on a discourse analysis of the 2019 social security reforms in Brazil and previous work has explored the emergence of a social democratic imaginary in Scotland as an alternative to UK Government discourse around 'welfare reform'.
During 2016-17 Jay was engaged in research for the project: 'Bringing labour back in: class antagonism, labour agency and Britain’s active labour market reforms', supported by a fellowship from the Independent Social Research Foundation. The study focused on the evolution of active labour market policy in Britain from the 1970s. Drawing on the research conducted for this project Jay is currently writing a book on the politics of unemployment policy in Britain between 1973 and 2023.
Prior to moving to Edinburgh, Jay held a lectureship in social policy at Queen’s University, Belfast and has held research positions at the University of Manchester and the University of Nottingham.
Jay is interested in supervising doctoral students in the following areas and welcomes expressions of interest regarding this.
- The politics of labour market and social security policy.
- The governance of public employment services and social security administration.
- Social impact investment and/or public sector quasi-markets in the welfare state.
- Critical policy discourse analysis and the political economy of welfare state reform.
- UK devolution and varieties of 'welfare reform'.
If you are interested in being supervised by Jay Wiggan, please see the links below for more information:
PGCHET (Queen's University Belfast) PhD (University of Nottingham) MA (University of Leeds) BA (Uclan)
Jay is currently Co-ordinator for Postgraduate Teaching in the Social Policy Subject Area and Course Organiser for the postgraduate course Political Issues in Public Policy. Jay has previously served as Programme Director of the MSc Public Policy and MSc Comparative Public Policy and as Course Organiser of the postgraduate course Global and International Social Policy. Jay has also contributed teaching to the undergraduate courses; Social Policy & Society; Rethinking the Financial Crisis; The Politics of the Welfare State.
Wiggan, J. & Grover, C. (2022) The politics of job retention schemes in Britain: The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Temporary Short Time Working Compensation Scheme, Critical Social Policy, online first, 1-24.
Wiggan, J. (2018) 'Policy Boostering the Social Impact Investment Market in the UK', Journal of Social Policy, Vol. 47, Issue 4: 721-738
Jantz, B. Klenk, T. Larsen, F. Wiggan, J. (2018) 'Marketization and Varieties of Accountability Relationships in Employment Services: Comparing Denmark, Germany, and Great Britain', Administration & Society, pp 321-345. Vol. 50. No. 3.
Wiggan, J. (2017) 'Contesting the austerity and “welfare reform” narrative of the UK Government: Forging a social democratic imaginary in Scotland', International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, pp 639-654. Vol 37. Issue 11-12
Rafferty, A. L. & Wiggan, J. (2017) 'The time-related underemployment of lone parents during welfare reform, recession and austerity: A challenge to in-work conditionality?' Social Policy & Administration. pp 511-538. Vol. 51, No. 3.
Wiggan, J. (2015) 'Reading active labour market policy politically: An autonomist analysis of Britain’s Work Programme and Mandatory Work Activity', Critical Social Policy, pp 369-392, Vol. 35, No. 3.
Wiggan, J. (2015) Varieties of marketisation in the UK: examining divergence in activation markets between Great Britain and Northern Ireland 2008-2014, pp 115-132, Policy Studies, Vol. 36, Issue 2.
Wiggan, J. (2012) 'Telling stories of 21st Century Welfare: the UK Coalition Government and the neo-liberal discourse of worklessness and dependency ', Critical Social Policy, pp 383-405, Vol. 32, No. 3.
Wiggan, J. (2012) ‘A kingdom united? Devolution and welfare reform in Northern Ireland and Great Britain’, pp 55-70, Policy & Politics, Vol. 40, No. 1
Rafferty, A. & Wiggan, J. (2011) ‘Choice and welfare reform: lone parents’ decision making around paid work and family life’, pp 275-293, Journal of Social Policy, Vol. 40, No. 2.
Wiggan, J. (2010) 'Managing time: the integration of caring and paid work by low income families and the role of the Uk's tax credit system', pp 631-645, Policy Studies, Vol. 31, No. 6.
Talbot, C. & Wiggan, J. (2010) ‘Public Value of the National Audit Office’, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 23, Issue 1.
Wiggan, J. (2009) ‘Mapping the governance reform of welfare to work in Britain under New Labour , International Journal of Public Administration, pp 1-21, Vol. 32, Issue 12.
Brookes, S. & Wiggan, J. (2009) ‘Reflecting the Public Value of Sport: A game of two halves’, Public Management Review, pp 401-420, Vol. 11, Issue 4.
Wiggan, J. (2007) ‘Reforming the United Kingdom’s public employment and social security agencies’, International Review of Administrative Sciences, pp 409-424, No. 3, Vol. 73, September.
Wiggan, J. (2007) ‘Administering economic reform: labour and the governance of social security’, Policy & Politics, No. 4, Vol. 35, October.
Wiggan, J. & Talbot, C. (2006) 'The benefits of welfare rights advice', Benefits – The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, pp, 235-239,Vol. 14, No. 3, October.
Wiggan, J. (2019) 'Financialisation, Social Impact Bonds and the making of new market spaces in social policy', in Whitworth, A. (ed.) Towards a spatial social policy: bridging the gap between geography and social policy, Bristol University Press, Bristol.
Wiggan, J. (2016) 'Austerity Politics', Chapter 21, Alcock, P. Haux, T. May, M. Wright, S. (eds.) The Student's Companion to Social Policy, 5th Edition, Wiley-Blackwell.
Wiggan, J. (2015) 'What variety of employment service quasi-market? Ireland's JobPath as a private power market', in Irving, Z. Fenger, M. and Hudson, J. (eds) Social Policy Review 27, The Policy Press, Bristol.
Wiggan, J. (2011) 'Something old and blue or red, bold and new? Welfare reform under the Coalition Government' in Holden, C. Kilkey, M and Ramia, G (eds) Social Policy Review 23, The Policy Press.
Wiggan, J. (2007) ‘Department for Work & Pensions’, pp 110-117 in Talbot, C. & Baker, M. (eds.) The Alternative Comprehensive Spending Review, Manchester University Press.
Wiggan, J. & Talbot, C. (2006) ‘Take-up of Entitlements and Pensioner Poverty: A Review of the Literature’, Chapter 6, pp 47-58, Progress in Tackling Pensioner Poverty: Encouraging Take-up of entitlements – Technical Report, Comptroller and Auditor General, HC1178-11, Session 2005-2006, TSO, London.
Research Reports and commentary
Wiggan, J. (2020) Short time working programmes and mass unemployment in Britain: it was acceptable in the 80s, Autonomy Institute.
Rafferty, A. & Wiggan, J. (2008) Lone Parents and the reform of UK Public Employment Services: Examining the role of private recruitment agencies, Recruitment and Employment Confederation/ Adecco Institute, December.
Talbot, C. & Wiggan, J. with Hendey, N. Rafferty, A. Calcraft, R. Freestone, M. & Wyatt, B. (2005) Jobcentre Plus customer service performance and delivery: A qualitative review, Research Report No. 276, Department for Work and Pensions, Corporate Document Services, Leeds.