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LSE Research Laboratory (RLAB)

Latest RLAB News

Below are the latest headlines for CEP and STICERD. For full coverage see the CEP News and Visitors Site and the STICERD News and Visitors Site

The Times
Itís time we stopped treating the self-employed as an afterthought

A report published by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics shows, the self-employed have not fared well over the past couple of years. Even by the end of this summer they were still reporting incomes well down on pre-pandemic levels, with many saying that they were struggling financially.

CEP announcement
Job market best paper awards for Amanda Dahlstrand and Nikhil Datta

Congratulations to Amanda Dahlstrand and Nikhil Datta who have won UniCredit Foundation Econ Job Market Best Paper Awards.

Dahlstrand, a PhD candidate in economics at LSE, has won an Econ Job Market Best Paper Award for her paper Defying Distance? The Provision of Services in the Digital Age which looks at how digital platforms are transforming health care services in Sweden.

Datta, a research assistant at CEP and a PhD candidate at University College London, won for his paper Local Monopsony Power which studies the extent of monopsony power in a low pay labour market in the UK and explores its determinants.

The Econ Job Market Best Paper Award competition is run by UniCredit Foundation in co-operation with the European Economic Association. It was run for the eighth time in 2021.

The Economist
Britainís economy does not lack oomph, but productivity is lagging

Joint research from the Centre for Economic Performance and the Resolution Foundation suggests that financial officers expect the amount of workers moving from shrinking to growing companies will speed up in the coming year.

New research project launched focusing on children's information

The Nuffield Foundation has awarded £2.8 million for an ambitious research programme to improve the lives of children and families by better understanding their needs and experiences.

Over the next five years, Professor Leon Feinstein, Director of the Rees Centre at the University of Oxford, will lead this innovative collaboration between local authorities and universities, including the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the LSE, to transform how information about and from children and families is gathered, interpreted and used in child and family social policy at both local and national level.

The project will focus on children and families who need additional support from local authority children’s services, who are often the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in society. For example, this will include children and families referred to children’s social care services; younger children who need help to have a good start at school; and children in care and young people leaving care.

Statistical or ‘administrative’ information about children and families - commonly known as data - can improve practice and policy, but there are gaps and complexities in how this information is used. Other types of information, particularly the views and expertise of children and families, are vitally important. This project aims to ensure children’s and families’ voices, and the views of practitioners, are heard and used to improve practice, services and policy.

The project includes five Local Sites. Greater Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, North Yorkshire and Hampshire local authorities will work with academics from Oxford University, the University of Sussex and CASE at LSE, University College London and Manchester Metropolitan University to build capacity and understanding about how to better use administrative data, children and families’ voices and information from practitioners to improve services.

Researchers will collaborate with children, young people, parents, carers, professionals and policymakers to understand and shape how information can be used ethically and effectively. Local Sites will also explore how the use of these different types of information can be co-designed with children and families, and how to support sustainable learning and change. The project has not yet been named, as the intention is to include children and families and practitioners in deciding the name.

A series of workshops, webinars and podcasts will share learning with all those working with children and families, including researchers, practitioners and managers, and policymakers. Academic thinking in this field will also be shaped by a range of research outputs. A Learning Network, run by Research in Practice, will bring together 20 local authorities to test out the findings from the five Local Sites and to develop learning materials to support better information use across England.

Further information about this collaboration can be found here

New Research Assistant position

We are looking for an enthusiastic graduate Research Assistant (RA) to assist Prof Gough on his Leverhulme Foundation funded research, ‘Valuing What Matters: From efficiency to sufficiency’. The appointment will last for 12 months starting November 1st 2021. The RA will be appointed at pre-doctorate level and is part-time at 40% of full time equivalent post. The starting date and the pattern of work-time are reasonably flexible. The RA will be based in Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at the London School of Economics (LSE). LSE is committed to building a diverse, equitable and truly inclusive university.

Details of the background, scope and goals of the research project are given in the attached document: the proposal made to and accepted by the Leverhulme Foundation. The research intends to develop a theory of value that counterposes human needs to wants or preferences. In empirical terms the goal is to determine minimum and sustainable maximum limits to consumption and income/wealth and the implied differences between essential and inessential labour. The combination will develop a theory and applied operationalisation of the concept of ‘sufficiency’ in a world with mounting ecological constraints.

The RA will conduct inter-disciplinary desk research in two major areas.

  • To discover, collate and synthesise a wide range of research sources on minimum incomes and assets, on necessary and luxury consumption, and on essential and inessential work.
  • To analyse recent practices on citizen dialogue as a vehicle for achieving consensus on these issues.

Key Elements of the Role
Specific elements of the role include:

    • Undertake literature reviews relevant to the project in academic and ‘grey literature’ and in social and other media.
    • Undertake specific research tasks and write up case studies and research briefings.
    • Collect and assess recent debates in the media on themes including wellbeing, sustainability and sufficiency.
    • Track relevant seminars and conferences, and assist in the preparation of presentations.

Person Specification
1. Essential Knowledge/Experience

The RA should be someone with excellent research and analytical capabilities, who is able to turn their hand to a wide remit, and learn quickly on the job. The successful applicant should have a broad social science knowledge, an enthusiasm for the topic and an interest in developing their skills. They should be passionate about the challenges of achieving fair levels of human wellbeing in the contemporary context of growing ecological constraints. In particular:

  • A well-informed knowledge of and interest in debates on climate change, sustainability and wellbeing.
  • A relevant first degree in social science
  • Background academic training in at least one of the following: philosophy, political theory, economics, ecological science, environmental policy, social policy.
  • Strong interest in research and applied policy
  • Experience of research, including literature reviews
  • An ability to think critically
  • A passion for alternative thinking on approaches to such problems

2. Preferred/Optional

  • A masters level degree

3. Key Skills

  • Strong time management skills
  • Good writing and summarising skills
  • Good IT skills, including a high level of proficiency in Microsoft Office software and experience in academic research through internet searches and the management of bibliographic databases
  • Confident communication skills
  • A creative thinker

This unique opportunity offers the successful applicant the chance to work with leading experts at the interface of sustainability and equity issues.

Please email a concise CV together with a short statement (no more than 500 words) as to why you consider yourself appropriate for this post; to Ms Nora Takacs: marked for the attention of Professor Gough by October 31st 2021.

Unfortunately we will not be able to sponsor candidates for a visa for this role so you must have eligibility to work in the UK.

A Better State of Welfare: A symposium in honour of John Hills

A symposium was held on 9th of July 2021 in honour of John Hills as part of the Social Policy Association conference.
Following opening remarks by Professor Julian Le Grand, four former doctoral students of the late Professor John Hills discussed aspects of their subsequent work that had been inspired and informed by him.

  • Dr Francesca Bastagli, Director of Equity and Social Policy at the Overseas Development Institute, considered Universal child benefits: concepts, evidence and Practice.
  • Dr Ellie Suh from the Department of Education at the University of Oxford, talked about Social origin and wealth mobility: the case of Britain’s younger generation.
  • Dr Ben Baumberg Geiger, senior lecturer at the University of Kent, discussed Performing trustworthiness: The ‘credibility work’ of prominent social scientists.
  • Dr Tania Burchardt, associate director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics, considered The state of welfare over 46 years.

The video recording of the symposium is available on Youtube here.