Families, welfare and children

This theme investigates the impact of UK welfare reform on families and children.

An economic analysis of parental choice of primary school in England (Deborah Wilson, Simon Burgess, Ellen Greaves and Anna Vignoles (Insitute of Education))

Since the 1988 Education Reform Act, parents in England have had the right to choose the school their child attends. In theory school choice leads to higher quality schools, as schools compete with one another to attract children and parents. Of course for school choice to have this effect parents must have genuine choice. In England, for some parents at least, choice is feasible (estimates of the proportion of parents able to exercise choice range from one in five to one half). However, different types of parents may have different preferences and thus make different choices. To understand how giving parents the ability to choose their child's school impacts on the school system, we must start by understanding more about the school choice process.

Cross-country study of the effect of parental resources and public policies on inequality in early childhood outcomes (Liz Washbrook)

The focus of the study is inequality in early child outcomes across four Anglo-American countries: United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Despite the fact that each of these countries is characterised by relatively high levels of income inequality, they differ in their levels of social mobility.

Structural Models of Individual Wage Dynamics and Matched Employer-Employee Data: Theory, Estimation and Policy Implications (Fabien Postel-Vinay)

Understanding differences in wages - both between individuals (wage inequality) and over time (wage dynamics) - is a fundamental motivation of labour economics as a research field. The main thrust of this research will be to investigate how theoretically-founded job-search models can explain individual wage dynamics and eventually produce policy recommendations. This will be achieved through the construction of theoretical models of individual careers, which will be confronted with matched employer-employee data.

Social Mobility
(Paul Gregg and Lindsey Macmillan)

This multidisciplinary project mainly funded by the ESRC explores a range of evidence about the development of social gradients in child development, from education, health through to risky behaviours.  One stream of the research has focused on social mobility in the UK and in particular comparing the evidence across different cohorts and across countries.