School of Business and Management

Dr Mirela Barbu


Lecturer in Global Supply Chains

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8988
Room Number: Francis Bancroft Building: 3.37
Office Hours: Tuesday 2-4pm


After graduating from the Academy of Economic Sciences in Bucharest, Dr Mirela Barbu undertook an MSc in Economics in Turin, followed by a doctoral studies in Economic Geography at the University of Sussex. Having lived in Romania during the socialist period under Ceausescu’s dictatorship and then, after 1990, studying and working in Italy and the UK, Mirela developed a strong interest in understanding the extraordinary transformation of Europe after the fall of the ‘iron curtain’ and the impact that the neoliberal economic restructuring had on the uneven development of the enlarged Europe.

Before joining the School of Business and Management, Mirela held a lecturer position at King’s College London and following that, a postdoctoral research associate position in the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London.  


Mirela teaches at both UG and PG levels in the area of studies related to the investigation of economic processes of globalisation, specifically Global Supply Chains (BUS326) and Global Supply Chain Management (BUSM091).

She also teaches on topics related to World Economy and Development (BUSM090), on joint Masters Programmes with the School of Politics & International Relations, and the School of Geography.  


Research Interests:

Mirela's research focuses on three interrelated research areas:

a) Industrial change in global value chains/ global production networks, focusing on economic and social upgrading/downgrading in textile and clothing industries in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans, and the challenges posed by South Asian emerging economies on the pan-Euro-Mediterranean system.

b) The EU’s trade and investment policy in relation to national strategies for industrial development, focusing on the role of multilateral regulations and private initiatives in shaping differentiated sectoral development, the changing power-relations between firms, and the ways in which these policies intersect with the wider political economy within which firms operate.

c) Labour markets in the global economy and the political economy of the welfare state restructuring, focusing on labour mobility, work insecurity, labour-related inequalities, informality and unfree labour.


Journal Articles

  • Harrison J., Barbu M., Campling L., Richardson B. And Smith A. (forthcoming) Governing Labour Standards through Free Trade Agreements: Limits of the European Union’s Trade and Sustainable Development Chapters, Journal of Common Market Studies, DOI: 10.1111/jcms.12715
  • Smith A., Barbu M., Campling L., Harrison J. and Richardson B. (forthcoming) Labour Regimes, Global Production Networks and Trade Policy: Labour Standards, the European Union and Export Production in the Moldovan Clothing Industry, Economic Geography, DOI: 10.1080/00130095.2018.1434410
  • Barbu M., Dunford M. and Liu W. (2013) Employment, entrepreneurship and citizenship in a globalized economy: the Chinese in Prato, Environment and Planning A, 45(10): 2420–2441
  • Dunford M., Dunford R., Barbu M. and Liu W. (2013) Globalization, cost competitiveness, international trade: the evolution of the Italian textile and clothing industries and the growth of trade with China, European Urban and Regional Studies, published on line before print DOI: 10.1177/0969776413498763

Policy - Related Publications

  • Mirela Barbu (Queen Mary University of London), Liam Campling (Queen Mary University of London), Franz Ebert (Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg), James Harrison (University of Warwick), Deborah Martens (Ghent University), Axel Marx (Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies), Jan Orbie (Ghent University), Ben Richardson (University of Warwick), Adrian Smith (Queen Mary University of London) (authors listed in alphabetical order) (2017) A Response to the Non-paper of the European Commission on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters in EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), 26 September 2017 document available from the authors
  • Barbu M., Smith A, Campling L., Harrison J. and Richardson B. (2017) “Note on the State Labour Inspectorate in the Republic of Moldova”, technical note for the chairs of the Domestic Advisory Groups under the EU-Republic of Moldova Association Agreement, document available from the authors.
  • Harrison J., Barbu M., Campling L., Richardson B. and Smith A. (2016) “Labour standards in EU free trade agreements”, GREAT Insights, ECDPM’s Magazine, vol. 5, issue 6, Dec16/Jan 17, 32-34
  • Smith A., Barbu M., Harrison J., Campling L. and Richardson B. (2016) “Labour Provisions in the European Union – Republic of Moldova Association Agreement”, in Handbook on Assessment of Labour Standards in Trade and Investment Arrangements, International Labour Organization, Geneva
  • Barbu M., Lisi S., Mammoliti E., Silani L. and Valentini L. (2009), ‘Policy Analysis and The Service Model’, Policy Notes 4: Work & Development, second part, 127-240 (policy report prepared by the Italian Agency for Active Labour Policies for the Ministry of Labour)
  • Barbu M. (2001) Cooperation and Socially Useful Jobs. The Value of a Price-less Policy, Rivista della cooperazione [Journal of Cooperation] no. 4: 9-14