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News Archive 2022

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Research Excellence Framework 2021 results

We are proud that CASE research led to Impact Case Studies that were awarded a 4* world-leading grade in REF2021. Our research contributed to the Social Policy department (along with the Departments of Health Policy, Psychological and Behavioural Science, Gender Studies, and Methodology) receiving a 4* world-leading grade for the Unit of Assessment’s (UoA’s) Research Environment and 99 per cent of research outputs rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Research by CASE on poverty and inequality has influenced how critical social problems are measured and understood, resulting in an Impact Case Study that has been awarded a 4* world-leading grade. This work has highlighted previously hidden or neglected disparities, and, in so doing, given visibility and voice to marginalised groups. CASE researchers have developed systematic and comprehensive monitoring frameworks for social disadvantage and multidimensional inequality. To date, four frameworks have been developed: the Equality Measurement Framework (EMF), Children’s Measurement Framework (CMF), and Human Rights Measurement Framework (HRMF) for the UK; and the Multidimensional Inequality Framework (MIF), developed in conjunction with Oxfam for international use. These frameworks have been used by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission and campaign and advocacy groups. CASE research on child poverty highlighted how “money matters” in shaping children’s life chances and research on the measurement of child poverty contributed to an amendment to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill committing the government to continuing to publish income-based child poverty measures.

A lifetime of engaging with neighbourhood housing management, to enhance tenant participation and meet housing needs, was recognised in the 4* world-leading grade accorded LSE Housing and Communities’ Impact Case Study. It demonstrated direct influence on policy development at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (now Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities), including through the Lessons from Grenfell research programme. Through the Housing Plus Academy, which tackles key public issues of the day, such as fuel poverty, low energy efficiency, and fire safety, LSE Housing and Communities have connected social housing tenants, front-line staff, senior decision-makers, government, and third-sector organisations to promote greater inclusion of tenant and on-the-ground perspectives within housing policy.

In addition, Case Associate Stephen Jenkins’ ground-breaking research has improved the measurement of top incomes and changed official practice. His Impact Case Study showed how supplementing household survey data on incomes with information from income tax data about the very richest individuals leads to more accurate estimates of income inequality levels and trends. Part of this research showed that inequality in the UK today is as high as it was just before World War II. Stephen’s work directly informed how the Office for National Statistics constructed its new official data series for income inequality.

News Posted: 12 May 2022      [Back to the Top]

Review of material deprivation questions and methodology

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has commissioned CASE to conduct a review of the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) material deprivation measures and the questions in the Family Resources Survey (FRS) which are used to derive these measures.
Specifically, the review will explore:

  • which material deprivation items for families with children, families with working-age adults and families with pensioners should be included in the FRS
  • what are the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches for determining who is materially deprived
  • what are the advantages and disadvantages of developing a “core” set of questions for the whole population alongside measures aimed at specific family types
  • do the advantages of changing the material deprivation items and methodology/methodologies outweigh the disadvantages, for example a break in the time series

Abigail McKnight will be the principal investigator, with Irene Bucelli, Tania Burchardt, and Eleni Karagiannaki as co-investigators.

Find out more about the project.

News Posted: 05 May 2022      [Back to the Top]

New research finds that the two-child limit is has a very small effect on fertility so will increase child poverty

Does cutting benefits for low-income families with children reduce fertility? When George Osborne announced the two-child limit on social security benefits, he said the aim was to ensure that families in receipt of benefits faced the same financial choices about having children as those supporting themselves solely in work. Five years on from the introduction of the limit, Nuffield Foundation-funded research by the London School of Economics, King's College London and the University of York finds the policy led to only a small decline in fertility among those households directly affected.

This implies that the main result of the two-child limit is to deprive families living on a low-income of approximately £3000 a year. This will inevitably lead to dramatic increases in child poverty among larger families. This comes on top of existing and sharp increases in child poverty among larger families due to social security cuts over the last decade. Since 2013/14, child poverty among larger families has risen dramatically; almost half of all children living in families with more than two children are in poverty. Our results suggest that this will be worsened considerably by the two-child limit.

Mary Reader, Research Officer at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at the LSE and lead author of the paper, said: "This research shows that the ostensible rationale behind the two-child limit is fundamentally flawed. The policy assumed that cutting child-related benefits for low-income families would disincentivise families from having more than two children. But our research shows that fertility has declined only slightly. This is likely to be in part due to low awareness of the policy, but we also think it may be due to the relative 'stickiness' of fertility preferences: if someone really wants to have a child, they are unlikely to decide not to just because they won't receive state support for that child."

Alex Beer, Welfare Programme Head at the Nuffield Foundation said: "Over the past five years, the two-child limit has only had a small effect on whether families had a third or subsequent child. Instead, the policy has withdrawn significant resources from larger families living on a low-income, which was putting their mental health and wellbeing at risk, even before the recent cost of living increases."

The research found that the two-child limit has led to a decline in the number of third and subsequent births of approximately 5,600 a year, just under 1 percent of total annual births in England and Wales. It examined fertility trends among adult women of childbearing age, both those affected by the policy and those who were not, allowing for differential fertility trends between low-income women and others, and between those who already had two or more children and those who did not. This analysis suggested that the two-child limit had a measurable, but relatively small, impact on the number of births to affected families; the probability of having a third or subsequent child declined by 0.36 percentage points (or 5 percent) after the limit was introduced.

This is a much smaller effect than one would expect given existing evidence on welfare and fertility; previous research, based on the impact of benefit increases in the early 2000s, suggested that increases in child-related benefits lead to relatively large increases in fertility - approximately 3 times as large as our estimate.

You can reaad the paper and a non-technical summary on the project website.

This research was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, an independent charitable trust with a mission to advance social well-being. It funds research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare, and Justice. It also funds student programmes that provide opportunities for young people to develop skills in quantitative and scientific methods. The Nuffield Foundation is the founder and co-funder of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Ada Lovelace Institute. The Foundation has funded this project, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the Foundation. Visit

News Posted: 06 April 2022      [Back to the Top]

The ESRC John Hills Impact Prize 2022

The Economic and Social Research Council opened the call for its prestigious Celebrating Impact Prize. This is an annual opportunity to recognise and reward ESRC-supported researchers who have created or enabled outstanding impact. Among other categories, the ESRC will be awarding a special prize in memory of the late Professor Sir John Hills who is remembered across the social science and policy community for his leadership and contribution to social policy, especially in relation to poverty and inequality.

This category will recognise a social scientist (either self-nominated or nominated by a third party) whose work demonstrates how the economic and social sciences benefit wider society and who has encouraged or facilitated positive, lasting and profound changes in the quality of the lives of a significant number of people over a sustained period.

The finalist will have a film professionally made about their work and impact, and the winner is awarded £10,000 to spend on further knowledge exchange, public engagement or other impact related activities. The winner is announced at a high-profile awards ceremony.

Applications close: 16:00 UK time 17 March 2022

For more information on eligibility, closing dates, how to apply to the call and assessment criteria, please visit the ESRC website.

News Posted: 10 March 2022      [Back to the Top]