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Analysis of Life Chances in Europe

This research project has been completed. Please contact a team member for further information.

Analysis of Life Chances in Europe is an integrated programme which examines life chances and living standards across both the “old” and the “new” member states of the European Union. ALICE is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). It consists of four linked projects:

Income distribution and redistribution: “old” Europe and the new member states

The aim of this project is to analyse household incomes, poverty incidence and poverty dynamics across the new Europe, with a particular focus on in-work poverty. As well as taking a standard approach to these issues, based on reported incomes from survey data, we will also use microsimulation models to examine income distributions and poverty rates, and to assess the role of taxes and benefits on income distributions within and between countries.

Gender, family and employment

This project focuses on employment as a determinant of income levels, and particularly on women’s employment and wages as drivers of income and poverty. Mother’s employment rates vary markedly between countries; here, we seek to understand the outcomes of these variations, but also the reasons behind them, in the context both of micro-level factors and of macro-level factors such as social attitudes, the supply and price of childcare, and provision for flexible working.

Cross-national comparative samples: methodology and comparability

Here we investigate the impact of sample design on cross-national comparisons. We will estimate design effects and mis-specification effects. The former will demonstrate the impact of design on the accuracy of estimates and the extent to which this varies between countries. This will be done for a range of variables and countries using two different survey data sets. The work on mis-specification effects will demonstrate the result of failing to correctly take sample design into account in analysis. This will be assessed by replicating the substantive analysis on gender, family and employment with and without correct design specification.

Measuring, explaining and interpreting differences between countries

Cross-country variations in living standards and other outcomes may arise for a number of reasons, including economic factors, social policy regimes, cultural differences, and variations in the characteristics of people living in different countries. In this project we review the statistical techniques which may be used to identify and explain the magnitude of these “country effects”; we also revisit the literature on welfare regime types, assessing the extent to which new member states fit into existing typologies.

Project Details

ALICE is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council under grant number RES-062-23-1455, with a total budget of £390,000.

The research team is led by Maria Iacovou and Richard Berthoud.

Download more details about this project ALICE_details.pdf

Project Meetings

February 2 2010

ALICE’s second project meeting took place on February 2nd at Essex University, as part of the ECASS-funded “Colloquium on Cross-national Methods for the Analysis of Incomes and Inequalities”


March 12-13 2009

ALICE’s first project meeting, between the research team and the internal and external advisory panels, took place on March 12th – 13th 2009 at Essex University.


Links and resources

Team members

Professor Richard Berthoud

Research Professor - ISER

Dr Mark Bryan

Reader in Economics - University of Sheffield

Francesco Figari

Tina Haux

Dr Maria Iacovou

Director of Social Science Research Methods Centre - University of Cambridge

Professor Stephen Jenkins

Visiting Professor - ISER

Dr Olena Kaminska

Survey Statistician - ISER - University of Essex

Professor Peter Lynn

Professor of Survey Methodology - ISER - University of Essex

Dr Alari Paulus

Research Fellow - ISER - University of Essex

Alexandra Skew

Professor Holly Sutherland

Research Professor and Director of EUROMOD - ISER - University of Essex

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Photo credit: robdeman