Professor Susan Harkness
BA, MA, PhD
I am interested in how income inequality and poverty is shaped by gender and family structure. Using quantitative methods, I focus on less advantaged groups, including part-time and low-paid workers, and single-mother families.
- women's employment, gender pay gap, single mother families, poverty, inequality, welfare policy
ProfessorSchool for Policy Studies
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My research focuses on how gender and family structure relate to inequality and poverty. I am currently the labour market lead and co-investigator at MiSoc (2019-2024), an ESRC funded research centre based at ISER, University of Essex. I am the lead Principal Investigator on a cross-country comparative project, funded under the NORFACE Dynamics of Inequality research program (EQUALIVES, 2017-2021). This research project is examining cross-country differences in how inequalities evolve over the life course with colleagues in Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, and Germany. Other current or recently funded projects include research for the Low Pay Commission (2017-2020) on the minimum wage and earnings progression, for the Government Equalities Office (2018-19) on occupation downgrading following childbirth, and an ESRC funded project on wage growth following childbirth (2021-2023). Previous research has been funded by the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation, OECD, and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. I am a visiting professor at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics and Topic Champion for Social Policy for Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Survey. I was previously Associate Director for Policy, Understanding Society and Professor of Public Policy at ISER, University of Essex. Prior to this, I worked at the Universities of Bath, Sussex and the London School of Economics. I hold a Ph.D. in Economics from University College London, an M.A. from Sussex University, and a B.A. from Cambridge University (Queens' College).
I am a Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Centre for Poverty and Social Justice in the School for Policy Studies.
My research focusses on how gender and family structure relate to inequality and poverty. I am co-Investigator of the ESRC funded research centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC) and lead Principal Investigator on a cross-country comparative project, funded by the NORFACE Dynamics of Inequality program, on how inequalities evolve over the life course together (with colleagues in Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, and Germany), and co-investigator (with Silva Avram, PI) on an ESRC project on pay progression and gender equality. Other recently funded projects include research for the Low Pay Commission on the minimum wage and earnings progression, and for the Government Equalities Office on occupational downgrading following childbirth. Previous research has been funded by the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation, OECD, and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
I am a visiting professor at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics and the topic champion for social policy at Understanding Society. I was previously the Associate Director for Policy, Understanding Society, and Professor of Public Policy at ISER, University of Essex. I previously worked at the Universities of Bath, Sussex, and the London School of Economics and hold a Ph.D. in Economics from UCL, a MA from Sussex University, and a BA from Cambridge University.
ESRC (2020-2022), “The gender gap in pay progression: job mobility and job ladders” (co-investigator with S. Avram, Principal Investigator, and D. Popova), £298k.
ESRC Research Centre on Micro-social change (MiSoc), 2019-24, Co-Investigator and research lead on labour markets and institutions. £7.8 million.
Low Pay Commission, ‘The Living Wage, wage progression and wage differentials,’ April 2018- September 2020, £60k, Co-investigator, with Silvia Avram (ISER).
NORFACE Dynamics of Inequality Across the Lfecycle (DIAL), EQUALIVES, 2018-2021, Euros 1,430,000, Susan Harkness (Principal Investigator), with co-investigators Anette Fasang (Humboldt), Jani Erola (Turku), Mads Meier Jaeger (Copenhagen) and Thomas Leopold (Amsterdam).
Government Equalities Office, “Occupational Downgrading after Childbirth,” July 2018-April 2019, £23k (Principal Investigator, with Co-Is Magda Borkowska and Selcuk Beduk, ISER).
ESRC Seminar Series (2015-2018), Child Poverty and Social Mobility, 2014-2017, £30,000, Susan Harkness (Principal Investigator) with Lynn Prince Cooke, Paul Gregg, Lindsey Macmillan and Matt Dickson (CIs) and the Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission.
ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative, 2013-2014, Changes in the Nature and Consequences of Lone Parenthood, Susan Harkness (Principal Investigator) & Paul Gregg, 2013-2014, £196,000.
Nuffield Foundation, £49k, 2013-2014, Partnership Dissolution and Formation, co-investigator with Mike Brewer, Principal Investigator, Essex.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, £10k, 2011, The Causes of Poverty, Susan Harkness (Principal Investigator) with Paul Gregg and Lindsey MacMillain (Bristol)
Nuffield Foundation, £96k, 2010-2011, Lone Parents, Depression and Work, Susan Harkness Principal Investigator. Work in collaboration with Martin Evans (Oxford) and Gingerbread.
ESRC Placement Fellowship, £33k 2009-2010, Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, Cabinet Office.
OECD (2009-2010), The Future of Families to 2030 (lead author on Low-income Families and Social Cohesion), E30,000.
01/02/2021 to 31/01/2023
01/10/2019 to 30/09/2024
EQUALLIVES: Inequality, early adult life courses and economic outcomes at mid-life in comparative context
DescriptionEqualLives is one of 13 concurrent transnational research projects funded by NORFACE to investigate the “Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course” (DIAL). Researchers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark…
01/04/2018 to 01/04/2021
01/06/2002 to 01/06/2004
Child Indicators Research
- E-pub ahead of print
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
- Accepted/In press
- E-pub ahead of print
American Journal of Sociology
- Accepted/In press
I convene the second/third-year unit on poverty and social justice.
I am external examiner for UCL's Masters in Social Policy.