Professor of Economics, University of Oxford
ERC Starting Grant, 2021-6
Editorial Board, Review of Economic Studies
Governing Council, Royal Economic Society
Specialist Advisor, UK Parliament Equalities Select Committee
Affiliations: Citizens Advice, IFS, CEP, CEPR, IZA, Bonavero Institute
I am the co-founder of the Covid Inequality Project. We provide real-time survey information on the labour market impacts of the pandemic to provide decision-makers with timely information on economic security and the effectiveness of policy initiatives. Our work is regularly featured in news outlets around the world and has been drawn upon by multiple UK government departments and Select Committees.
Beyond the pandemic, my research has three main themes. First, I develop empirical methods to bring new models of decision-making to data. Much of behavioural economics is confined to lab experiments because it is difficult to measure and quantify irrationality. I ask what we can learn from real-world data about the drivers (rational or irrational) of choices and develop practical tools for applied researchers to use in their work. Another key research stream concerns family decision-making. Poor data and restrictive models often mean that economists end up making strong assumptions about how families behave, increasing the risk of unintended consequences when formulating policy. In 2020, I was awarded an ERC Starting Grant to develop this research agenda.
Second, I expoit large-scale datasets to better understand modern labour markets. I have a number of projects using job vacancy text to provide new insights on changing employment contracts and diversity in the workplace. A particular interest is in understanding why gender inequalities persist.
Third, I develop frameworks for quantifying access to justice in the UK legal system. There have been a big reforms to the process by which individuals can enforce their rights. Alongside Jeremias Adams-Prassl, I analyse the impact of these changes on claimants and provide theoretical frameworks for assessing the legality of reforms. Our work on employment tribunal fees led to the UK Supreme Court declaring them unlawful in 2017.