Professor Tianshu Zhao

Professor of Finance


School/Department: Economics, Finance and Accounting, Department of; Business, School of



Prof. Tianshu Zhao is an applied micro-economist with a particular interest in exploiting the micro-economic foundation of financial development for economic growth. Her recent research focuses on the spatiality of the financial system and regional disparities in entrepreneurial activity, financial inclusion, and social inequality. Prof. Tianshu Zhao has published in top journal articles in the fields of Economics, banking, and Finance, including the Journal of Banking and Finance, Regional Studies, The Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Economic Geography, and the Journal of Financial Intermediation. Prof. Tianshu Zhao has successful record of capturing large ESRC grants. 

Field of Research: Financial intermediation; Microeconomics of banking; Microeconomics foundation of finance for development; Empirical corporate finance

Prof. Tianshu Zhao welcomes PhD applicants in the field of research interest.



PhD scholarship, University of Reading, £63,000, 2004-2007
Royal Economics Society Conference Grant, £300, 2011
Carnegie Trust Research Grant, £2000 for “Relationship banking and competition”, 2012.
DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme Call 3 (2015/2016), “Delivering inclusive financial development and growth”, co-investigator, £2,062,615, 1/4/2016- 31/09/ 2021
ESRC-NSFC Developing financial systems to support sustainable growth in China, Shadow banking and the Chinese economy: A micro to macro modelling framework, co-investigator, £330,000, 1/1/2017-1/03/2021
ESRC festival £600; 2016.
Graduate Research Assistant Funding of Birmingham Business School, £3,370, 2017
Nottingham Ningbo, overseas visiting scholar travel funds, £3,700, 2017




• “Competitive conditions among the major British banks”, Journal of Banking and Finance, Volume 31 (7), 2007, pp. 2025−2042. (with Kent Matthews and Victor Murinde) 

• “Deregulation and productivity growth: a study of Indian commercial banking”, International Journal of Business Performance Management. Volume 10(4), 2008, pp. 318-343. (with Barbara Casu and Alessandra Ferrari)

• “Restructuring for Competitiveness: The Financial Services Sector in Africa’s Four Largest Economies” The Africa Competitiveness Report 2009, World Economic Forum, p.49-83. (With Louis Kasekende, Kupukile Mlambo and Victor Murinde)

• “The impact of regulatory reforms on cost structure, ownership and competition in Indian banking” Journal of Banking and Finance, Volume 34, 2010, pp. 246–254. (With Barbara Casu and Alessandra Ferrari) 

• “Bank Deregulation and Performance in Nigeria” African Development Review, 2011, Volume 23, pp.30-43 (With Victor Murinde).

• “Financial reforms, competition and risk in banking markets”. In: Fiordelisi, F., Molyneaux, P. and Previati , D. (eds.) New issues in financial and credit markets. 2011, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 111-122. (With Barbara Casu and Alessandra Ferrari)

• “How Does the Institutional Setting for Creditor Rights Affect Bank Lending and Risk-Taking?” (No. 2011-03), 2011, University of Stirling, Division of Economics (with Kupukile Mlambo., Victor Murinde.)

• “Financial Sector Reforms, Bank Competitiveness, Efficiency and Economic Growth: A Case Study of Zambia”, 2012, in Murinde V (eds) Bank regulatory reforms in Africa. Palgrave Macmillan.

• "Regulatory Reform and Productivity Change in Indian Banking", The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2013, Vol. 95, pp. 1066-1077 (With Barbara Casu and Alessandra Ferrari) 

• “Cross-Selling, Switching Costs and Imperfect Competition in British Banks”. Journal of Banking and Finance, 2013, Volume 37, pp. 5452–5462 (with Kent Matthews and Victor Murinde)

• “SMEs, banks and the spatial differentiation of access to finance”,  Journal of Economic Geography, July 2017, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp. 791–824 (with  D Jones-Evans) 

• “Relationship Banking and SME Financing: The Case of Wales”, International Journal of Banking, Accounting and Finance, 2017, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp.93–118.  (with Hans Degryse and Kent Matthews) 

• “SMEs and access to bank credit: Evidence on the regional propagation of the financial crisis in the UK”, Journal of Financial Stability, 2018, V. 38, pp53-70.(with Hans Degryse and Kent Matthews) 

• “Soft information and the geography of SME bank lending” Regional Studies, 2021, 55(4), 679-692. (with Kul B. Luintel and Kent Matthews)

• “Relationship lending, trust, and SME bank financing in the UK”, 2021, (No. E2021/24). Cardiff Economics Working Papers (with Hans Degryse and Kent Matthews)

• “Competition and bank risk: the effect of securitization and bank capital”, Journal of Banking and Finance, 2022 , 138, 106451. (With  Yener Altunbas,  David Marques-Ibanez, and  Michiel van Leuvensteijn)

• “Neither True-friend nor Fairweather friend: Relationship Banking and SME borrowing under Covid-19”, 2022, European Journal of Finance (With Kent Matthews and Max Munday)

• “The Dark Side of Liquidity Regulation: Bank Opacity and Liquidity Risk” (With Arisyi Fariza Raz and Danny McGowan), Journal of Financial Intermediation 52 (2022): 100990.



Tianshu welcomes PhD applications in the areas of financial intermediation, microeconomics of banking, microeconomics foundation of finance for development, and empirical corporate finance, or other relevant areas.


EC7093 Principles of Banking 



External reviewer of quality and standards of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland, 2013
Secondment for the review of SMEs’ access to finance and the feasibility study of regional development bank in Wales, Aug, 2014-Apr, 2015
Organizer of “the special session of regional finance” in 2015 Money Macro and Finance conference in the Cardiff Business School. Oct 2015
PhD External examiner Salford University, the U.K., Mar, 2017
PhD External examiner Bangor Business School, the U.K., Aug, 2017
Reviewer of the project proposal “Spatial Dynamics and Inequality: The Role of Connectivity and Access to Finance” the Czech Science Foundation, Aug, 2018
A written response to Welsh Government consultation on Access to Banking 2017
Co-organizer of the international conference on Brexit, Covid-19 shock, and financial system in Birmingham Business School in July 2021
Guest editor of the special issue of Economic Modelling “ Post Brexit: Uncertainty, Risk and Coronavirus Challenges”, Nov, 2021
The Committee member of the Money Macro and Finance Society (MMF), 2022 - present
OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE) a panel discussion at workshop on the topic of “What helps firms grow in regions”, invited, Feb, 2022
Special session organizer “Banking, Finance, Digitalisation and Uneven Spatial Development” The 6th Global Conference on Economic Geography Conference, June, 2022.
Special session organizer “SS65: Finance, Geography, and Regional Differentiation in Real Activities” 2023 RSA Annual Conference Ljubljana, Slovenia, June, 2023.
PhD External examiner Aston Business School, June, 2023


Full-Time overseas postgraduate scholarship, University of Reading, September 2004-September 2007
Visiting scholar: Bangor Business School, September 2005 – September 2007
Visiting scholar: University of Leuven, Belgium. February 2012 – September 2012
Visiting scholar: Cardiff Business School, May 2015 – October 2015
Visiting scholar: Central Bank of Uganda, April 2018 – May 2018
Visiting scholar: Nottingham Ningbo Business School, July 2018- August 2018


B.A. in Economics (Hons); MSc in Economics (Distinction), PhD in Economics 2009; Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification (Gained through examination); SRS full Accredited Researcher, 2021

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