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Our Research

Responding to the Covid-19 crisis

All areas of MiSoC research are relevant to and will be impacted by the repercussions of the current coronavirus pandemic. Here our researchers outline how their current and future work can provide valuable evidence for the policy response to the evolving situation.

Ethnic and racial harassment of minorities

Health, social and economic inequalities will be exacerbated by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Renee Luthra and Alita Nandi’s work highlights how this raises the risk of racially aggravated responses towards certain racial and minority groups.

Perceptions of health and economic insecurity and decision-making under uncertainty

Health and economic uncertainty will significantly increase during and following the pandemic. MiSoC work by Adeline Delavande and colleagues on modelling decision-making under uncertainty and measuring subjective expectations from survey data will be vital in understanding how individuals and households will respond to the various shocks they face.

Housing, health and inequality

Housing is an important social determinant of health. The unprecedented restrictions on people leaving their homes highlight inequalities in housing and the repercussions for health. Amy Clair is investigating the impact of the lockdown on people’s housing experiences and consequent wellbeing.

Education: children, parents and schools

The closure of all schools and childcare settings for an indefinite period during the coronavirus crisis could mean a potential increase in the inequalities between home environments in terms of parental investment and resources to help children in the acquisition of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. MiSoC researchers including Director Emilia Del Bono, Adeline Delavande, Birgitta Rabe, Laura Fumagalli and Ayse Guveli are examining the long-term repercussions on children’s educational and mental health outcomes.

Domestic violence

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, there has been a dramatic surge in reports of domestic violence. MiSoC research by Sonia Bhalotra and colleagues show that cash flow problems and unexpected extended periods of time couples are having to spend together because of involuntary unemployment are contributing to this phenomenon.

Young people and the labour market

The drop in economic activity resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic will have a uniquely damaging effect on those entering, or about to enter, the labour market this year. MiSoC research conducted by Emilia Del Bono and Greta Morando highlights the risks of a new economic recession exacerbating inequalities between graduates from different SES backgrounds, while Angus Holford explores the long-run harm caused by the disappearance of extra-curricular opportunities and part-time work for teenagers still at school.


MiSoC’s research programme covers four main areas. Cutting across all four is a programme of methodological research.

Children, education and families

The returns to social skills in the labour market and the implications for employment and wage distribution, how young people acquire skills, and the role of the family in influencing gender differences in behaviours and outcomes

Contact: Dr Birgitta Rabe

Changing family life-courses and inequalities

Why families are changing, how family relations are being shaped by changing housing and labour markets, and the implications for inequalities in living standards and wellbeing

Contact: Professor Susan Harkness

Changing populations: ethnicity and migration

The persistence of ethnic inequalities in education and the labour market, intergenerational mobility in an increasingly diverse society, using transnational data sources and innovative statistical techniques to allow comparisons across borders

Contact: Dr Renee Luthra

Inequality, the labour market and welfare policy

How inequalities in living standards, and between-gender and within-household inequalities, are changing, including the role of policy

Contact: Professor Mike Brewer

Methodological research

Machine learning for causal analysis, Big Data and genealogy, and innovation in measurement

Contact: Professor Paul Clarke

MiSoC also coordinates a research network on preference and expectation formation. Read more here.

A full list of all ISER’s research

Read MiSoC’s themed Explainers