Peter Riach was a student of economics at the University of Melbourne and the London School of Economics. He was Professor of Economics and Head of Department at DeMontfort University in Leicester from 1989 to 2000; previously he had been Reader in Economics at Monash University in Melbourne. His research has included the theory of aggregate income distribution, origins and impact of the "real wage gap", labour market discrimination, wage bargaining practices and post-Keynesian employment theory. He has been conducting field experiments of employment discrimination, with Judith Rich, since 1983. He has published in B.E.Journals in Economic Analysis and Policy(Advances), Cambridge Journal of Economics, The Economic Journal, Journal of European Economic History, and KYKLOS. He served on the Prison Service Pay Review Body from 2005 to 2010.
He joined IZA as a Research Fellow in February 2006.