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At any one time, ISER is involved in a wide range of cutting edge social and economic research across many disciplines.


Understanding and improving data linkage consent in surveys

Maximising informed consent by investigating what influences the decision of survey respondents to allow their data to be linked to administrative records.

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Impact of the Universal Free School Meal policy

Assessing the success of the Free School Meals policy in improving children’s educational achievement, social behaviour and health.


Investigating people-place effects in the UK using linked longitudinal survey and administrative data

Providing new evidence for the UK on the presence and relative contribution of place effects to individual social and economic outcomes.

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European Cohort Development Project (ECDP)

Building a case for a European Research Infrastructure that will provide comparative longitudinal survey data on child and young adult well-being over the next 25 years.


Inequality, early adult life courses and economic outcomes at mid-life in comparative context (EQUALLIVES)

A cross-country investigation into how education, labour market and family choices create inequality across the life-course.

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Integrating research infrastructure for European expertise on inclusive growth from data to policy (InGRID-2)

Follow-up to the successful InGRID project aiming to advance the integration and innovation of distributed social sciences research infrastructures on ‘poverty, living conditions and social policies’ as well as ‘working conditions, vulnerability and labour policies’.

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Access to health care, health outcomes and hospital performance in Brazilian cities

Assessing the impact of recent innovations within Brazil’s national health system on mortality and hospitalization rates, and on the efficiency of the health system.

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Welfare dependence and poverty traps: evaluating the contribution of health shocks and health policy using administrative data

Investigating the extent to which public health provision enhances the capacity for social protection in Brazil.

Blood pressure

The impact of a personalised blood pressure warning on health behaviour

Assessing to what extent clinical information on an individual’s health status could influence their behaviours.

Age poverty

Developing a longitudinal study of indebtedness

Charting people’s experience of debt and utilisation of debt advice.

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Risk aversion, earnings uncertainty and labour supply

Examining the relationship between the growth in insecure and unstable forms of employment and peoples’ behaviour in relation to seeking and remaining in work.

Older fitness

Exploiting the existing biomarker data available in CLOSER: social position, age and allostatic load

Cataloguing the biomarker data available in the Cohort & Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resource (CLOSER) and other significant longitudinal studies, to develop a gold standard for allostatic load measurement, while informing the scientific community of the availability of biomarkers for research in the social- biological agenda.


Investigating and reducing non-sampling errors on EU-SILC

Investigating the extent and nature of non-sampling errors and exploring ways of reducing such errors in the future.

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Respondent-targeted survey design features

Targeting design features to reduce survey costs and improve survey participation.


The prevalence and persistence of ethnic and racial harassment and its impact on health: a longitudinal analysis

Groundbreaking research into the prevalence and persistence of ethnic and racial harassment and its impact on health.

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Understanding household finance through better measurement

Transforming our understanding of the dynamics of living standards.

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Income and fertility: evidence from Norway in the last two centuries

Investigating how the timing of births varies across the business cycle.

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Convergence of minimum benefit schemes in Europe: evidence at the micro level

Simulating reform scenarios of the minimum income benefit level in several European countries to estimate the effects on household incomes.

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Female politicians and economic growth: evidence from state elections in India

Investigating whether women’s participation in politics stimulates economic growth in India.

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Methodological innovations in data collection in longitudinal studies

Producing resource documents to set an agenda for the CLOSER network by investigating the use of mixed-mode data collection in longitudinal surveys, how new technologies can be used to measure health and health behaviours, and how new technologies can be used to measure non health topics.

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SOUTHMOD: simulating tax and benefit policies for development

New microsimulation models to explore the impacts of social protection and tax systems in developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia

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EUROMOD extension to indirect taxation

Extending the model’s simulation tools for indirect tax policies to a wider range of European countries

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Causes of gender, disability, and ethnic pay gaps

Investigating the causes of pay inequalities for women, ethnic minorities and disabled people

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Application of microsimulation models in the analysis of taxes and social benefits in Croatia (AMMATSBC)

Applying microsimulation models of Croatian taxes and benefits in public policy and academic analysis to demonstrate their effectiveness

Campus students

BOOST2018, the ground-breaking study of student life

BOOST2018 is a study undertaken by researchers at the University of Essex to better understand students’ life at university, the issues they may face in their daily life, their aspirations, expectations, attitudes, and their outcomes.

Health biomarkers

How can biomarkers and genetics improve our understanding of society and health?

A ground-breaking £1.4 million ESRC-funded study is gathering evidence to help policy makers understand how behaviours and socio-economic factors impact on the nation’s health

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Inequality in higher education outcomes in the UK: subjective expectations, preferences, and access to information

Higher education is a priority in UK government policy, but access to university is still unequal, with students from well-off families being more likely to apply for a degree


Feasibility and added value of a European unemployment benefit scheme

What impact would a European-wide unemployment benefit scheme have on income stabilisation and social outcomes?


Information, expectations and transition to higher education

Examining which expectations and perceptions are held by students that may make them stay on in full-time post-compulsory schooling and apply to university.

Tax calculator

Tax Shifting of Direct and Indirect Taxation in Italy and Spain

Extending the policy scope of EUROMOD to include indirect taxes

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Inequalities, Insurance, Incentives and Immigration: Challenges and Solutions for the Welfare State

This research project examines how recent challenges, such as increased economic uncertainty and ethnic diversity, have affected inequality and support for the welfare state in European countries.

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Measuring Youth Well-Being (MYWeB)

Assessing the desirability and feasibility of setting up a Europe-wide longitudinal study of the well-being of children and young people.

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Poverty across ethnic groups through recession and austerity

Updating evidence on how the recession has affected economic well-being and economic vulnerability for different ethnic groups.

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Income and poverty dynamics: measuring instability, volatility and persistence

Providing new evidence for Britain earnings instability and improving the measurement of household living standards

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Poverty and ethnicity: the impact of occupational segregation

A new study attempting to better understand the role of occupational segregation in ethnic minority poverty

Transmitting educational disadvantage

Transmitting educational disadvantage? Measuring intergenerational mobility in migrant families

A comprehensive, innovative project, providing an insight into the determinants of educational success amongst the children of immigrants.

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Disparities in children's health and behaviour: The importance of race/ethnicity in the UK and US

Examines ethnic/racial disparities in early child development – comparing the UK and US.

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Programme Evaluation for Policy Analysis

Examining the processes and methods used to evaluate the effectiveness of state interventions

Framing effects loss aversion

Framing effects and loss aversion in labour supply responses to work disincentives: Is there an endowment effect?

An EssexLab experiment designed to see if taxes and the withdrawal of benefits have different impacts on individuals’ willingness to work

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Understanding non-response on Understanding Society

Seeking to understand and reduce non-response in panel surveys

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Understanding the mechanisms of in-work benefits: Can they improve employment retention among lone parents?

A comprehensive investigation of time-limited incentives to work on short and medium-run employment outcomes.


Inclusive Growth Research Infrastructure Diffusion (InGRID)

Integrating existing European social sciences research infrastructures to develop and innovate evidence-based policies for inclusive growth

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The distribution and dynamics of UK citizens’ environmental attitudes, behaviours and actions

Expanding our understanding of environmental attitudes and behaviours.

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Lone parents obligations: an impact assessment

A comprehensive evaluation of the change to benefits entitlement for lone parents introduced in November 2008

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Survey data quality in panel surveys: trade-offs between nonresponse and measurement errors

Seeking to improve longitudinal data quality and reduce survey costs

Job polarisation

Job polarisation and job quality

Understanding the causes of polarisation, its features and its implications

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Assessing the effects of prenatal hormone exposure on the human life-Course

Breaking new ground in assessing how pre natal hormone exposure may influence the life course

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Life transitions and travel behaviour

Examining what changes in our lives influence car ownership and commuting

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The effect of free childcare on maternal labour supply and child development

Exploring the effects on maternal labour supply of different types of free childcare

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Disability and care needs in the older population

Providing robust, independent empirical evidence on reform of care services and disability benefits for older disabled people

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UK-Australia Network Promoting Longitudinal Survey Methods and Analysis

Creating an international partnership between ISER and the Universities of Melbourne and Queensland in Australia

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Making work pay: single parents and Universal Credit

Analysing the impact of Universal Credit on single parent families and asking if the Government is ‘making work pay’.

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The Church Growth Research Programme

A comprehensive study of the causes of church growth and decline.

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Religious and secular morality in Britain and Europe

A detailed and timely study asking how values are changing in Europe and how much of this change might be due to the waning influence of religion.

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Analysing the interaction of the national minimum wage with the tax and benefits system

Examining the likely impact of Universal Credit on the incomes and incentives of families containing National Minimum Wage workers

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Poverty Reduction in Europe: Social Policy and Innovation (ImPRovE)

Using EUROMOD to measure the impact of past policy decisions on poverty outcomes in Europe

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The how, why and when of web surveys for the general population

A network of experts exploring the implications of taking probability-based social surveys online.

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Flexible working and couples’ coordination of time schedules

A ground-breaking project using previously unexploited data

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Partnership dissolution and formation: how do they affect income, employment and well-being?

Exploring the economic outcomes of women, men and dependent children affected by partnership dissolution, and the impact of family breakdowns on mental health and well being.

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The effect of school inputs and educational attainments

Studying the effect of school inputs on pupils’ educational attainments at the age of 16

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Understanding the impact of recession on labour market behaviour in Britain

Investigating the behaviour of individuals and households in response to economic recession

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Maternal smoking and low birth weight: comparative evidence from the smoking bans in Italy and the UK

A ground-breaking project comparing the impact of smoking bans in Italy and the UK on the level of smoking in pregnant women and of maternal smoking on unborn children.

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How we save for retirement

The second major study of the pension habits of 25,000 workers

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Impact of the National Minimum Wage on earnings, employment and hours through the recession

Investigating the possible impact of the National Minimum Wage on job entry by the unemployed

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Who benefits the most from post-secondary schooling?

A cross-national comparison of selection and the economic returns to post-secondary education

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EU Social Situation Monitor (formerly European Observatory on the Social Situation)

Providing evidence on the current EU socio-economic situation to inform policy decisions

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Assessing the implications for the European labour markets of the four broad types of processes in the societies: socio-ecological transition, demographic changes, spatial dynamics and skills transition

Being in britain

Being in Britain

Part of a cross-national study of new immigrants in Europe

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The effects of breastfeeding on children, mothers and employers

A comprehensive study examining the effects of breastfeeding on children, mothers and employers

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Analysis of Life Chances in Europe

Examining life chances and living standards across the EU

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Improving the comparability, scope and applicability of tools, methods and data for the measurement of income and the analysis of the effects of policies on inequality, poverty and social inclusion

Research home

Research home


Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest