He has researched complexity, complex systems, nonlinear feedback, the boom and bust cycle of business and economic competition. Ormerod uses a multidisciplinary approach, making use of biology, physics, mathematics, statistics and psychology as sources of results that can be applied to economics.
Ormerod completed his undergraduate economic studies at Christ's College, Cambridge and his postgraduate studies at St Catherine's College, Oxford, for which he was awarded a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in economics. Upon graduation he worked as a forecaster at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
In 1994 his book The Death of Economics was released. The book criticized mainstream economic practice, and made suggestions for reform.
He has founded several companies including the Henley Centre and Volterra Partners. The Henley Centre was later sold to a FTSE100 company. Volterra Partners, was founded in 1998 with Bridget Rosewell and he has remained a partner as of May 2014.
He believes shale fracking should not be opposed by environmentalists and that top down measures are ineffective at reducing environmental harm. He has argued that capitalism and the profit motive have reduced global inequality. 
Paul Ormerod has written several books, many articles and a blog. His books are:
- The Death of Economics (1994) St. Martin's Press ISBN 978-0-312-13464-8
- Butterfly Economics
- Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economics
- Positive Linking: How Networks Can Revolutionise the World
- "About Us". Volterra Partners. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
- "Why environmentalists should embrace fracking – not sacrifice". City AM. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
- "Institute of Advanced Study : Paul Ormerod - Durham University". Durham University. Retrieved 2008-03-09.
- "High Anxieties - The Mathematics of Chaos". Youtube.
- "How the global economy became more equal – thanks to capitalism". City AM. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
- "The Death of Economics". Wiley.
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