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Professor William Brown (22nd April 1945 - 1st August 2019)
Faculty of Economics Obituary
Darwin College Obituary

Research Interests

Collective bargaining; payment systems; minimum wages; impact of legislative change; trade union recognition; employment contracts; arbitration

Professional Interests

Chair of the National Fire Brigades’ Resolution Advisory Panel
Member of the ACAS Panel of Arbitrators
Member of the Supervisory Board of the Union Modernisation Fund


Emeritus Professor of Industrial Relations. Past member of the Low Pay Commission and of the Council of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Industrial mediator and arbitrator. Honorary Professor of Renmin University of China. Awarded CBE for 'services to employment relations' in 2003. Currently on a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship researching the protection of international labour standards.

Recent Publications

Published Papers

Lee, C-H, Brown, W and Wen, X What Sort of Collective Bargaining Is Emerging in China?, (2014) British Journal of Industrial Relations
Brown, W. and Trevor, J. Payment Systems and the Fall and Rise of Individualism, (2014) Historical Studies in Industrial Relations
Wright, C.F., and Brown, W. From Centre Stage to Bit Player: Trade Unions and the British economy , (2014) Singapore Economic Review
Brown, W. The Australian Accord from an international perspective, (2014) Journal of Industrial Relations
Brown, W. The Ending of Unauthorised Strikes in the West: Some Policy Implications for China , (2013) The International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations

Cambridge Working Papers in Economics

Brown, W. Industrial Relations in Britain under New Labour, 1997-2010: a post mortem, (2011) CWPE1121

Chapter in Book

Wright, C.F. and Brown, W. The emergence of socially sustainable sourcing : a mechanism for protecting labour standards in the context of collective bargaining decline, (2013) in the book: Resocialising Europe in a time of crisis - Cambridge University Press
Brown, W.A. Talking one's way out of strikes, (2010) in the book: Deadlocks in multilateral negotiations - Cambridge University Press

Recent Activities

Professor Willy Brown 1945-2019 - Publication Date: 2019-08-06
The Faculty of Economics is saddened to announce the sudden and unexpected death of Professor William (Willy) Brown on 1st August 2019. Professor Brown held the position of Professor of Industrial Relations from 1985 (Emeritus from 2013) at the Faculty of Economics.

British Legislative Influence on Union Membership? - Publication Date: 2018-11-23
Professor William Brown's research was mentioned in an Economist article. The paper argues that British legislative change has not exerted a major influence on union membership.

20 Years of the National Minimum Wage - Publication Date: 2018-10-29
This year marks 20 years since the passage of the National Minimum Wage Act – a politically controversial intervention in the British labour market at the time. Professor William Brown was centrally involved as a member of the Low Pay Commission in designing and implementing the 'most successful policy of the past 30 years'.

Research Grants

The Protection Of Labour Standards In A Global Economy (Leverhulme Trust)
Basis And Characteristics Of Mutually Benefical Employer/Trade Union Relations (Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC))
The Future Of Collectivism In The Regulation Of The Employment Relationship And Pay In Britain (ESRC)

Professor William Brown

(22 April 1945 - 1 August 2019)
Montague Burton Professor of Industrial Relations

Research Group:
Empirical Microeconomics

CV: Curriculum Vitae

Contact Details
Room: Darwin College
College: Master of Darwin College