INEQUALITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION OUTCOMES IN THE UK: SUBJECTIVE EXPECTATIONS, PREFERENCES, AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Lead Research Organisation: University of Essex
Department Name: Inst for Social and Economic Research

Abstract

Higher education is a priority in UK government policy, but access to university is still unequal, with well-off families being strongly over-represented among university students. Moreover, among university students, inequalities continue to emerge with differences in dropout rates, degree class and labour market outcomes by socio-economic status. Any policy aimed at reducing inequality in university outcomes can only be successful if the underlying mechanisms are clearly understood. This proposal aims to understand how differences by socio-economic status in perceptions about own academic ability, beliefs about the factors to success at university, willingness to take risk and invest in the future, access to information and job search strategy contribute to inequality in university attainment and labour market outcomes of university graduates in the UK.

We first propose to use linked administrative data to provide a comprehensive description of the association between parental socio-economic status and dropout rates, degree class, employment, earnings, and participation in post-graduate education in the UK over the last decade. We then propose to explore specific mechanisms for the emergence of these inequalities and evaluate interventions that could reduce them. Earlier literature points to several factors which may undermine disadvantaged students' success at university. Students from disadvantaged groups tend to be more present-biased and less likely to plan ahead and invest in the future; they tend to have less information about their own academic ability and other relevant aspects of university outcomes; and they tend to have social networks containing more people in unemployment or on benefits.

By conducting a new field experiment on a cohort of university students, we aim to assess whether interventions aimed at providing new information about the relationship between university outcomes and labour market outcomes, and at changing students' time perspective (i.e. the tendency to live in the past or only for the moment), modify students' beliefs, preferences, working habits, job search strategy and ultimately impact their academic and labour market outcomes. Using secondary data analysis, we will also explore whether early performance in university exams affects dropout and degree class differently by socio-economic characteristics, and examine whether socio-economic differences in access to social networks and local labour markets are partly responsible for inequality in employment and earnings.

This proposal is highly innovative on several dimensions. It employs a variety of methods, such as randomised experiments, specifically intended to uncover causal relationships. It analyses several different datasets, including linked administrative records, a new field study involving panel surveys, and qualitative interviews. It adopts a multidisciplinary approach, combining models of decision making from economics and psychology and collecting measures of expectations, preferences, and other important individual traits. Most importantly, it focuses on the mechanisms through which, and the levels at which, inequalities in university attainment and labour market outcomes occurs and evaluate specific interventions: it therefore is ideally placed to provide concrete policy recommendation.

Planned Impact

Potential beneficiaries from this research include:
- Young people in the UK, and especially those from underprivileged background, who could achieve better university outcomes conditional on participating in higher education.
- Civil servants, politicians and other policy-makers. Our research will directly evaluate the impact of two specific interventions aiming at improving higher education outcomes (including employment) of UK undergraduates, and will inform policy makers about the type of support that youths from disadvantaged backgrounds most need, and when the best time to provide support is. It will therefore provide valuable information that enables policy makers to review and improve their current policies and strategies. Our findings will be of direct relevance to - and inform policy decisions of - officials in the Department for Education, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, the Child Poverty Unit (which seeks to raising the achievement of disadvantaged children), the Equality and Human Rights Commission (which seeks to promote fairness and equal opportunity in the UK's future economy) and the Department for Work and Pensions.
- Data owners, such as HESA, and DfE. Our analyses require the use of linked administrative datasets, the creation and validation of longitudinal identifiers (HESA Student Records), the use of consistent indicators of attainment and socio-economic status over time. We will work in partnership with these data owner organizations to create resources which will be of long-lasting value to the wider research community.
- Practitioners and non-governmental organisations. Our project will benefit think-tanks and non-governmental organisations with an interest in higher education policy. As well as the Early Intervention Foundation, with which we are already in contact with, these include the Sutton Trust, Child Poverty Action Group, the Resolution Foundation. Interested practitioners include universities (in particular the University of Essex and the University of Leeds), including for example widening participation offices, and secondary school teachers and managers. They will gain a greater understanding of the type of interventions that can help improve access and university outcomes from young people from disadvantaged groups.
- Media/the general public. We anticipate that the outputs of this project will be of interest, as issues related to inequality in higher education are popular topics with the media. Many people will relate to, or have an opinion about, our findings, so the public will benefit from a discourse about these topics.
- The academic community. Our findings will interest other academics working on higher education in the UK and elsewhere, on human capital investment and on inequality. They will also interest academics with a methodological interest in the use of new data (such as the combination of field and lab experiments).
- The members of the project team. All researchers in this project will benefit from rehearsing and applying advanced analytical methods, and being involved in survey design and fieldwork. Skill development will also occur through interactions with government departments, third sector organisations and conference proceedings.
 
Title What your brain can do (control) 
Description This 10-minute video was the control video that respondents randomly assigned into control viewed. Like the treatment video, it was entitled "What your brain can do", featured the same three talking heads; Steffan Kennett and Nick Cooper (Psychology, Essex) and Wandi Briune de Bruin (Psychology, Leeds); had the same visual style, and lasted 10 minutes. Unlike the treatment video, it focused on the specialities of different regions of the brain, with evidence from studies showing the implications of damage to these regions. It contained no study tips, only information about which parts of the brain are being used when undertaking certain activities. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact See impact of What your brain can do (treatment) 
 
Title What your brain can do (treatment) 
Description This 10-minute video presents the following information: People's brains adapt and grow in response to learning opportunities. Example given from a study showing the size of key parts of the brain increased following language training. ? Structure of the brain, neurons, dendrites and synapses. New imaging techniques show that the structure of a neuron is not fixed, and new dendritic spines can grow quickly. ? This teaches us that we should think of the brain as a muscle: It grows with exercise. The more you challenge your brain to learn, retain and retrieve new information, the more dendritic spines you physically grow, the more you revisit the new connections you make, and the longer they will stay. ? Example: Study in which training one area of the brain using a computer game leads to improvements in other cognitive domains, that persisted for over one year. ? Mistakes and challenges are really important for learning. When you are finding something difficult, it is not that you are reaching the limits of your ability, but an opportunity to train your brain to get stronger in that area by creating new neurons or new connections. ? Example: brain activity highest after a mistake, but this is only true for those who believed that ability can grow. If you belief your ability is not fixed, you can learn from your mistakes. ? A poor mark does not mean you have low ability. You can train your brain to grow. ? This means the most effective kind of study is where you challenge yourself, giving four study tips: o Testing. [Expand on this after: Writing notes, using flashcards, completing past papers, or using textbook questions. This is a form of active learning. More passive methods are only good for encoding information in memory the first time] o Spacing. [Study time on a particular topic is better distributed among several sessions. It last longer and more brain connections get formed. Material reviewed several times stays in the memory much longer. Cramming might feel effective but doesn't give the brain the opportunity to store information in long term memory] o Attending lectures and classes. [Especially complemented with note-taking and reading assignments]. o Avoiding bad situations. [Stress and lack of sleep inhibits formation of new brain cells and encoding of new information. Distractions like music or checking one's phone consume part of working memory so prevent encoding of information. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain] 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact This video was presented to half of the students enrolled in the BOOST cohort. Those assigned to the video perform about 1.4 marks out of 100 better than those assigned to a control video, and this rises to 1.8 marks for Home students. Both of these coefficients are significant at the 10% level. They are are 2.4 percentage points more likely to get a first class mark on a given module, and 3.8 percentage points more likely to get at least a 2:1, other things equal. 
 
Description Our project aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of inequalities in university and labour market outcomes of graduate students by socio-economic status and to investigate the mechanisms for the emergence of these inequalities with a specific focus on the role of subjective expectations and access to information. Our empirical work is based on evidence from existing administrative and survey data (HESA student records and Destination of Leavers from Higher Education records) as well as new primary data collecting information on a cohort of UK undergraduate students (the BOOST2018 longitudinal study).

Our key findings are closely related to the objectives of our proposal. Specifically:
- We have documented important socio-economic and ethnic differences in university outcomes in the UK. Here our work highlights that the gap by which High SES students outperform Low SES students and Black and Asian students is due in large part to differences in the type of qualifications (BTECs vs. A-level) acquired before entry. We have also explored the impact of the recent recession on graduate destinations and found that when graduating in a recession students from less advantaged family backgrounds are more likely to become unemployed, to work part-time, and to earn less than students from more advantaged families. Professional networks established while at university are identified as an important factor in determining the unequal costs of a recession.

See:
https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/files/misoc/reports/explainers/ethnic-SES-dropout.pdf
https://drive.google.com/file/d/19vS0PWqT4cnl6-ZkRm3ElI_e2Za3fO8V/view

- We have explored the role of subjective expectations and preferences in generating socio-economic inequalities in university outcomes. Here we shed new light on the factors affecting students' choices of time invested in academic and non-academic activities, such as job placements or volunteering. Specifically, we estimate a discrete choice model of time allocation using data on students' subjective expectations about the labour market returns to these activities and the enjoyment they derive from them. The analysis reveals significant ethnic differences in the level of investments, expected academic and labour market returns, and enjoyment of academic and non-academic activities. Counterfactual exercises indicate that constraints to the choice set, in particular constraints placed by labour demand factors, play an important role in explaining these ethnic gaps.

See:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C4TL7iB5lFPEhrUOwRZDteNphNzJ2Me7/view)


- We have focused on the mechanisms through which socio-economic inequalities in university outcomes are transmitted. Specifically, we collected information on students' academic inputs and distinguished between: (i) time spent attending lectures and classes, (ii) time spent on private study using active learning methods (such as testing yourselves on practice test), (iii) time spent on private study using passive learning methods (such as reading, highlighting) over different terms (Autumn, Spring and Summer). Our analyses show that attendance has the most positive impact on students' grades, followed by active learning techniques; we also show that while attendance at the beginning of the year is very important, the role of active learning becomes more relevant closer to the exam period. Our work documents for the first time significant ethnic inequalities in rates of attendance which are not explained by individual demographics, or different measures of cognitive and non-cognitive abilities.

See: Talk on "Estimating the Production Function of Graduate Skills" at Duke University (for example).

- We have designed, implemented and tested the effects of different interventions aimed at modifying individual choices directly and outcomes indirectly. During the three years of data collection for the BOOST2018 study, we conducted three randomized interventions. The first intervention focused on students' beliefs about the malleability of own ability, which determines individual subjective beliefs about the returns to effort. The second intervention aimed at encouraging attendance using self-defined goals. The third intervention provided information about the importance of employability skills for labour market outcomes. Our results indicate that beliefs about own ability can be modified by an information intervention, with changes in inputs and academic outcomes in the expected direction. However this type of intervention had a larger impact on high SES students and did not lead to a reduction in SES inequalities. By contrast, emphasising the importance of attendance to lectures and classes and encouraging it using a goal-setting exercise had significant effects on socio-economic gaps in academic inputs and outcomes and promises to be a fruitful avenue for further research. Consistently with other work (see our analysis of the subjective beliefs in the productivity of non-academic investments), we found that our intervention on employability skills has the potential to affect mainly ethnic differentials.

See: Keynote presentation at the "ZEW Workshop on the Economics of Higher Education" in Mannheim and the shortened version of this talk given in occasion of ISER 30th Anniversary https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/files/conferences/ISER30th/ISER%2030%20%20work%20Anniversary%20Conference%20Dec%202019%20-%20Del%20Bono.pdf
Exploitation Route Our findings show that attendance to lecture and classes should be strongly encouraged; that university students should be taught how to learn in an active manner (for example by receiving more assignments). They also show that a light-touch growth mindset intervention can have positive impact on student academic performance.

From our work on student fees, loans and grants, our findings recommend a fixed-period graduate contribution system as imposing a smaller psychological burden on graduating students while remaining fiscally sustainable. Our research will contribute to a formal response to the current Review of Post-18 Education and Funding.
Sectors Education,Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description The project has yielded impact in three major ways. Firstly, our evidence on the factors affecting student performance and retention at university has been welcomed and employed by Higher Education practitioners. We have organised a dissemination event sponsored with Higher Education practitioners in November 2017 entitled "Universities in the UK: who applies, who stays, who succeeds - what makes a difference", and also an interactive workshop at the National Education Opportunities Network Summer Symposium where a briefing note was distributed. The audience of 40+ people at each included staff from widening participations/access office from various universities, from the Department for Education, and from associations such as the Access Platform, Brightside, Study Higher, Realising Opportunities, Higher Education Access Tracker. Presentations of the events have achieved high profile reports in the Guardian, and Higher and Further Education Practitioners at Essex and elsewhere are accounting for our results in designing measures to support students arriving at university with atypical qualifications. Second, our work on students' preferences over fees, loans, and grants, illuminated the major areas of misunderstanding of the current system of student tuition and maintenance funding for Home and EU students, and revealed their preferences for how the system could be reformed. In a major advance over previous evidence on the topic, these preferences were elicited in such a way that respondents were faced with clear trade-offs across different aspects of the system (e.g. lower fees but higher interest rates). Our findings suggested that switching from the current fixed-amount to a fixed-period post-graduation contribution system would be popular with current students - eliminating the greatest perceived injustices in the current system - and could be calibrated to collect the same amount of money as currently. This was publicly described by Gordon Marsden MP, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, as a "medium term option" for student finance reform, and was used by the Vice-Chancellor of Essex, in an article for Times Higher Education, to make the case that "Fairness should lie at the heart of any funding reform" during the Augar Review of Post-18 Education and Funding. Finally we made an important contribution to debates about the place of unpaid work in society using our findings from the work on the role of unpaid internships or work experience among graduates. This has occurred with respect to legislation (citation in the House of Lords debate on the Unpaid Work Experience "Prohibition" bill), but also in terms of the development of or adherence to codes of practice around and the ethics of unpaid work. This influence has been especially strong in the community undertaking scientific fieldwork, with activists on the topic now informed with quantitative evidence on the effects of unpaid work on diversity in the scientific workforce. The implications of work from the project has been discussed in an article in the influential American Scientist magazine and reviewed in Science.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Education,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Citation in House of Lords debate (Holford)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2017-10-27/debates/1CC18AF0-4140-46EC-A435-2C1EBED9E707/UnpaidWo...
 
Description Note on implications of Augar Review recommendations for University of Essex Council
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Providing material to Outreach Officer from the University of Hertfordshire to share with parents of prospective university applicants
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Setting an evidence-based target for recruitment of students from low-participation neighbourhoods, for University of Essex Access Agreement
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description The Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC)
Amount £6,114,094 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/S012486/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 09/2024
 
Description University of Essex Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research Strategic Fund
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Essex 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 03/2018
 
Description University of Essex Vice-Chancellor's Strategic Fund - Evidence on students' preferences for the Augar Review of Post-18 Education and Funding
Amount £13,520 (GBP)
Organisation University of Essex 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2018 
End 11/2018
 
Description University of St Andrews Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Fund - 'Who takes unpaid internships in science?'
Amount £1,160 (GBP)
Organisation University of St Andrews 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2017 
End 11/2017
 
Title BOOST2018 Study 
Description The BOOST2018 Study is a longitudinal survey of undergraduate students who enrolled at one UK university in the academic year 2015/16, and (for the vast majority) completed their degree in 2017/18. Each year students were invited to reply to three on-line surveys, one for each term, and to attend one laboratory session. The on-line surveys were variable in length but generally took about one hour with the exception of the Summer term surveys (waves 4, 8 and 12), which were shorter to allow for the fact that students take their exams at the end of the year. Participation in the surveys was incentivised using monetary rewards - between £8 and £20 for on-line surveys and on average £30 for the laboratory sessions. The on-line surveys were designed to collect information on students' academic investments (hours of study), non-academic investments (working for pay, participation in volunteering groups, etc.), their expectations about future academic achievement and labour market outcomes (earnings, probability of employment) as well as, at wave 9, non-pecuniary future job attributes. The survey data was linked to administrative records held by the university. Specifically, we use here information on the student demographics (gender and age), socio-economic status as measured by parental occupation and the university participation rate in their neighbourhood of domicile, and marks. Ethnicity is self-identified at the time of enrolment at the university. We also obtained access to their timetable of scheduled lectures and classes and weekly records of attendance - administered through a swipe-card electronic system - to derive measures of attendance that are not affected by self-reporting. The sampling frame comprised all undergraduate students enrolling in the first year of an undergraduate (Bachelor's) course in October 2015. The target population consisted of 2,621 students. In order to participate in the study, each student was required to sign a consent form. All students who enrolled in the study received £5 as an incentive. By the end of the Autumn term of the academic year 2015/16, when the participation register was closed, 1,978 students had given their consent (about 75% of the target sample). Enrolment re-opened to eligible students at the beginning of the second and third years, resulting in a small number of additional participants (n=19). Because of the presence of monetary incentives and the advertising campaigns aimed at keeping the study salient to the population, participation to the surveys was consistently high. Between 774 and 1,276 students took part in the surveys at different points in time, with higher response rates for the main on-line waves (between 55% and 68%), and lower rates for the laboratory sessions (between 45% and 59%) and Summer term surveys (between 52% and 56%) (see Appendix Table A1). 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This dataset has been used to conduct several analysis to better understand the socio-economic differences in higher education outcomes, as well as the factors that lead to success at university (see section on Key Findings). We are currently working on creating a version of the data which is fully anonymised and will make it accessible to other researchers through the Data Archive. 
URL https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C4TL7iB5lFPEhrUOwRZDteNphNzJ2Me7/view
 
Description Knowledge Exchange Programme with the Higher Education Statistical Agency 
Organisation Higher Education Statistical Agency
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution A knowledge exchange has been set up between MiSoC researchers and the HESA Analytical team. The purpose of the project is to analyse data on several cohorts of Higher Education students and document the existence and the evolution of a gap in performance according to protected characteristics such as gender, ethnicity and social background. Performance will be measured by progression and final degree outcome taking into account (i) dropout, (ii) change of course/subject area, and (iii) change of institution. The analysis will also try to explain the factors contributing to the existence of these performance gaps, including student characteristics and institutional characteristics (i.e. student/staff ratios, composition of staff by gender, ethnicity, etc.). The MiSoC team will take the lead in defining the main research questions and applying the most up-to-date empirical methods to the empirical analysis. Specifically, we will be able to show how longitudinal methods and statistical decomposition techniques can greatly enhance the understanding of the issues at hand.
Collaborator Contribution In order to obtain evidence on student progression, it will be necessary to construct a unique student identifier which would allow the researchers to follow students over time, even when they change subject or institution. At the moment, such identifier is not available directly from the HESA student records. The HESA analytical team will assist with the construction of such an identifier. To understand the institutional factors contributing to the performance gap it will be necessary to match the HESA student records with data on staff characteristics. The staff records are held at the level of the academic HESA cost centre but a student can be assigned to multiple cost centres depending on the combination of subject studied. The HESA analytical team will assist attributing students to a single cost centre or a number of cost centres in relation to the combination of subjects studied.
Impact The work has only just started and it is expected to generate new output by the end of 2017.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Leeds 
Organisation University of Leeds
Department School of Business
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Professors Delavande and Del Bono have undertaken joint research with Professor Wandi Bruine de Bruin, Co-director of the Centre for Decision Research at the University of Leeds.
Collaborator Contribution Professors Delavande and Del Bono have undertaken joint research with Professor Wandi Bruine de Bruin, Co-director of the Centre for Decision Research at the University of Leeds.
Impact This collaboration has led to the design of new behavioural interventions to improve educational outcomes, to the creation of new datasets and to the organisation of one conferences on expectations in Economics and Psychology in 2014.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Who takes Unpaid Internships in Science? (Holford) 
Organisation University of St Andrews
Department School of Economics and Finance
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Access to the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (DLHE), and pre-existing work to build on, on both managing this data and writing about the topic of unpaid graduate internships.
Collaborator Contribution Connections to and initial contact with the two co-authors who have written on the topic of unpaid internships specifically from a science perspective, to whose work the DLHE data can add a significant weight. Financial support to organize and pay travel to a workshop of co-authors in St Andrews (enabling us to work otgether in the same room).
Impact The project is multi-disciplinary, between Economics (Holford and Leighton) and Science (Fournier and Bond, both Wildlife Ecologists by training and occupation). We held a Knowledge Exchange workshop at the University of St Andrews in July 2017, and are writing a research paper which uses a social science dataset but which will be written for a science audience. We intend to submit this the journal 'Science' in January 2018. Completed in 2019 with publication in PLOS ONE "Unpaid work and access to science professions" and associated articles in Science and American Scientist, generating discussion in the physical sciences professional community about the use of unpaid work in research projects..
Start Year 2017
 
Description Article on Unpaid Work and Access to Science Professions in American Scientist - Holford 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A magazine article in American Scientist based on the findings of PLoS ONE co-authored paper "Unpaid Work and Access to Science Professions".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.americanscientist.org/article/a-bad-deal-for-early-career-researchers
 
Description BOOST2018 Early Finding 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We have presented the first findings from the data collection undertaken at the University of Essex (known as BOOST 2018) to officials of the University of Essex, including Undergraduate Directors, pro-VC for Education and Research, Student Union representatives
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Blog Post for Guardian Higher Education Network: Closing the BTEC gap at university (Holford - 29/11/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Timed to coincide with MiSoC policy event on 'Universities in the UK' on 29th November 2017, I wrote an article about how students arriving with BTECs do worse at university, and how to reduce this gap. Several very constructive comments online help inform a future research agenda on this topic e.g. this is part of bigger. Others in person and online express thanks for bringing topic into public domain, and note that they have not seen data on this before.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2017/nov/29/students-with-btecs-do-worse-at-uni...
 
Description Bristol seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Academic seminar. Presentation of "Academic and non-Academic investments at university: The role of expectations and preferences" at the economics seminar series at the University of Bristol.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Dondena Research Centre, Bocconi University, Milan, February 2019, Emilia Del Bono (presenter) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Seminar presentation on the paper entitled "Skill accumulation with malleable ability: a Growth Mindset Intervention", joint with Adeline Delavande, Angus Holford and Sonkurt Sen, based on data from BOOST2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description EALE Conference 2016 (Holford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of "Access to and Returns from Unpaid Graduate Internships" at the European Association of Labour Economists' annual conference, Ghent, September 2016. I gained feedback and follow-up conversations with academics outside of usual academic peer-group. This presentation also led directly to collaboration with Dr Margaret Leighton at the University of St Andrews, on follow-up work about access to science professions, with associated further funding and knowledge exchange activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description EALE Conference 2017 (Holford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of "Estimating the production function of graduate skills" at the European Association of Labour Economists' annual conference, St Gallen, September 2017, gaining feedback and follow-up conversations with academics outside of usual academic peer-group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description ESEM 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of the paper "Estimating the production function of Graduate skills at university" at 2017 European Meetings of the Econometrics Society in Lisbon, Portugal, which generated lots of discussions afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description ESPE conference (Holford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact European Society of Population Economists' annual conference, Bath, June 2019 - presentation of 'Student Preferences over Fees, Loans, and Grants' - gained feedback and follow-up conversations with academics outside of usual academic peer-group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description EUI visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of results on "Estimating the production function of Graduate skills at university" at the econometrics seminar series at the European University Institute, Italy
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Equality Challenge Unit Scottish Higher Education Conference (Holford - 26/04/2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented to an audience of Higher Education 'Widening Participation' administrators about socio-economic gaps in first destinations after university, with the key message that the quality of the initial job match, rather than the speed with which the job is found, determining graduates' long-run outcomes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.ecu.ac.uk/news/conference-summary-and-papers-progressing-equality-and-diversity-in-scotti...
 
Description Federal Reserve Bank of New York presentation - (Holford - 27/04/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Gave talk on effects of study methods and attendance to lectures and classes at university, to education group at Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Research and Statistics Division, 27th April 2017. Plans made in subsequent meetings for how to design future of a longitudinal survey to help inform policymakers about labour market implications of different teaching practices, and other support, at universities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description For Some Luck Matters More 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This talk discussed the impact of the Great Recession on Early Careers of Graduates from Different Socio-Economic Backgrounds.

This was an academic presentation and its main aim was to share information about our study with fellow researchers. The talk generated interesting feedback.

The talk was given at the ESRC seminar series on Social Mobility in Bath, April 27th 2015

n/a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description IZA workshop on Behavioural Economics of Education (Holford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact IZA Institute of Labour Economics held a specialized workshop on Behavioural Economics of Education in Bonn, April 2019. Presentation of 'Skill Accumulation with Malleable Ability' gained feedback and follow-up conversations with academics outside of usual academic peer-group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Interactive session at NEON conference - (Holford - 21/06/2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The NEON summer symposium brings together mainly university Widening Participation practictioners to share best practice for improving access to and outcomes after university of under-represented groups. The shadow Universities Minister cited this workshop in his keynote speech at the conference, as addressing the important missing link that universities and schools need to address: retention and performance while at university.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://tinyurl.com/y7cd6tyf
 
Description Interview on Unpaid Internships on BBC Radio London (Holford - 30/07/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Short discussion with BBC researcher on 30th July 2017, in preparation for early morning radio interview with Petrie Hosken on BBC Radio London, on 31st July. Main focus of discussion was on the differences between privately schooled and non-privately schooled graduates' returns to taking an unpaid internship.

Scroll to 2:19:45 for 5 minute segment:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0588dly#play
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0588dly#play
 
Description Interview on Unpaid Internships on CBC On the Money (Canadian television business show) (Holford 03/08/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Recorded interview over skype with Peter Armstrong, host of 'On the Money' a business show on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television, on 1st August 2017, broadcast on 2nd August, with main takeaway message about the importance of transparent recruitment for unpaid interns, to prevent business leaders missing out on talent from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

About the show here:
http://www.cbc.ca/mediacentre/program/on-the-money
Page of current similar videos:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/news/TV%20Shows/On%20The%20Money
Link to my video:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1015921220002
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1015921220002
 
Description Interview on Unpaid Internships on LBC Radio (Holford - 30/07/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Radio interview on 30th July 2017, with Ian Payne on LBC Radio, based on working paper on Access to and Returns from Unpaid Graduate Internships. Main focus of discussion on the risk that graduates are taking by working unpaid, and low likelihood of it paying off.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://lbc.audioagain.com/presenters/17-ian-payne
 
Description Knowledge Exchange - HESA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting with Higher Education Statistics Agency to improve our understanding of their Student Records dataset structure and methodologies, and their understanding of how the data will be used, especially for causal analysis and longitudinal questions, in economic and social research.

Applications for data access agreed in good understanding of all the variables, and the most sensible scope and structure for delivery.

HESA practitioners to visit ISER to gain futher exposure to the types of research done using their data and social scientists more broadly.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Knowledge Exchange with Wildlife Ecologists (Holford 4-7/7/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Two day working group at University of St Andrews, with one other economist and two wildlife ecologists, one working outside academia, to discuss work on the extent to which unpaid internships represent a barrier to access professions in their industry, and sciences more generally. We outlined a draft of our paper and the tables to feature in it, using the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey, and divided the future tasks to complete a submittable paper.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Lancaster University, Department of Economics, Lancaster, November 2018, Emilia Del Bono (presenter) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Seminar presentation at Lancaster University on the paper "Student preferences over fees, grants and loans" based on data on BOOST2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Meeting with Fran Abrams from Education Media Centre, cited in Guardian HE Network article (Holford - 28/09/2017)) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Meeting with ISER's Louise Cullen, and Fran Abrams from the Education Media Centre, on 29th September 2017, to talk about upcoming research output from ISER that would be of interest to the media and general public. The piece on gaps in degree performance and dropout by ethnicity and gender (presented at the MiSoC conference on Higher Education in Westminster) was cited and slides published on Abrams' article for the Guardian HE Network "All the facts you need to answer tricky questions about higher education" on 17th Jan 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2018/jan/17/university-education-the-research-y...
 
Description Meeting with Rachel Hall, Editor of Guardian HE Network - (Holford - 13/11/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Monday 13th November - Meeting and lunch with Rachel Hall, the editor of the Guardian Higher Education Network, an online-only section of the newspaper for Higher Education (academic and non-academic) staff and students. Explained about several research projects on Higher Education here at Essex, and agreed to write a blog post/article for the HE Network, on the specific topic of how BTEC holders fare once at university.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description New Statesman blog post on students' preferences on tuition fees/loans/grants (Holford - 20/09/2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact 600 word blog post on students' preferences over university tuition fees, grants and loans, with policy proposal resulting from research on this topic.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://newstatesman.com/politics/education/2018/09/when-it-comes-fees-what-do-students-think
 
Description Observer article on unpaid graduate internships (Holford - 30/07/2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Sent non-technical summary of ISER working paper on Access to and Returns from Unpaid Graduate Internships to the Observer, and undertook phone interview with journalist who wrote up the story which appeared in the print edition.
This short article appeared on the front page of the print edition on 30th July 2017:
https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/29/unpaid-intern-damage-graduate-career-pay
And this longer one inside (page 6)
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jul/29/internships-can-damage-career-prospects
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jul/29/internships-can-damage-career-prospects
 
Description Parliamentary Round Table on Universities in the 4th Industrial Revolution (Holford - 21/01/2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A Round Table event at Portcullis House (House of Commons offices) with Ben Bradley MP (Education Select Committee), Lord Willetts (former Secretary of State for Education), and representatives of businesses (e.g. Microsoft, Deloitte), thinktanks (e.g. Social Market Foundation, National Education Opportunities Network) and universities, about how the Higher Education system and universities should adapt to the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" i.e. mechanisation and automation. My contribution was about the funding system, in particular how to avoid deterring people from entering STEM degrees, and enabling those whose jobs are under threat to retrain.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Presentation at "what works in education?" University of New South Wales, Aug 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presented the paper "Skill accumulation with malleable ability: Evidence from a Randomized Information Intervention" to other academics, PhD students and practitioners in Higher Education
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.stepup.unsw.edu.au/events/stepup-conference-2019
 
Description Presentation at Asian & Australasian Society of Labour Economics, Singapore, Dec 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presented the paper "Skill accumulation with malleable ability: Evidence from a Randomized Information Intervention" to other academics and PhD students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.aasle.org/conference2019
 
Description Presentation at the Sydney Applied Micro workshop (University of New South Wales, Australia), Dec 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presented the paper "Academic and non-Academic Investments at University: the Role of Expectations, Preferences and Constraints" to other academics and PhD students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description SOLE Conference (Holford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of "Estimating the production function of graduate skills" at the Society of Labour Economists' annual meeting in Raleigh, NC, May 2017, gaining feedback and follow-up conversations with academics outside of usual academic peer-group. This presentation (and seeing presentation of related paper in same session) led directly to Kevin Williams joining the research team to work on 'optimal class scheduling'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar University College London, London, November 2018, Emilia Del Bono (presenter) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Seminar presentation at the Department of Quantitative Social Sciences, UCL, University of London on the paper "Student preferences over fees, grants and loans"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Seminar at Duke University (Holford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of "Estimating the Production Function of Graduate Skills" at the Duke University 'Labor Lunch' seminar series, April 2017, gaining feedback and follow-up conversations with academics outside of usual academic peer-group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar at University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Holford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Informal seminar by invitation at the Bryan Business School, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, April 2017. Presentation of "Estimating the Production Function of Graduate Skills" gaining feedback and follow-up conversations with academics outside of usual academic peer-group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar at the University of Queensland (Holford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of "Subjective Returns to Academic and Non-Academic Investments" at the University of Queensland microeconomics seminar series, April 2018, gaining feedback and follow-up conversations with academics outside of usual academic peer-group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Seminar at the University of Rotterdam 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Academic seminar. Presentation of "Academic and non-Academic investments at university: The role of expectations and preferences" at the economics seminar series at the University of Rotterdam.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Seminar at the University of Sydney (Holford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of "Subjective Returns to Academic and Non-Academic Investments" at the University of Sydney Department of Economics microeconomics seminar series, April 2018, gaining feedback and follow-up conversations with academics outside of usual academic peer-group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Seminar presentation - Tiomkin School of Economics, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Israel 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of "Academic and non-Academic investments at university: The role of expectations and preferences" at the economics seminar series of Tiomkin School of Economics, IDC, Israel
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Session on Higher Education at Labour Conference Fringe - (Holford 24/09/2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Panel discussion with Gordon Marsden MP (Shadow Minister for Universities and Skills), Amatey Doku (VP NUS), Sally Hunt (Gen' Sec' UCU) and Graeme Atherton (President, National Education Opportunities Network), at 'New Statesman' magazine's hub at the Labour Conference fringe in Liverpool, on "making the case for higher education". I made three minute opening and one minute closing speech on how, based on my research, I would make the case by reforming the funding system for Higher Education to make it more popular but no more costly to the taxpayer. Mr Marsden acknowledged this as a "medium term solution", which is being followed up. During panel discussion I also communicated research on ethnic and SES outcome gaps at universities, primarily showing the problem isn't access but performance after access.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.newstatesman.com/2018/07/open-all-making-case-higher-education
 
Description Tackling socio-economic inequalities in Higher Education - ISER 30th Anniversary 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact We celebrated ISER's 30th anniversary with a special conference on Innovations in Examining Inequalities in Society at the British Academy in London on 9th December 2019. The audience consisted of a group of academics, policy makers and representatives from third sector organizations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/files/conferences/ISER30th/ISER%2030%20%20work%20Anniversary%20Conferen...
 
Description Tilburg seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Academic seminar. Presentation of "Academic and non-Academic investments at university: The role of expectations and preferences" at the economics seminar series at the University of Tilburg, Netherlands.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Trajectories of academic performance in UK Higher Education 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We have presented evidence on trajectories of academic performance in UK Higher Education to practitioners/policy makers/third sector organisation related to Higher Education. Richard Smith (Senior Higher Education Policy Adviser, HEFCE) was the discussant. The audience included representatives from DfE, NCUB, HEFCE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description ULC talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of the paper "Estimating the production function of Graduate skills at university" at the Applied economics seminar series of UCL which generates lots of discussion afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Universities in the UK: who applies, who stays, who succeeds - what makes a difference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The event was entitled "Universities in the UK: who applies, who stays, who succeeds - what makes a difference". and was targeted a higher education practitioners. A briefing note was distributed. The audience of 40+ people included staff from widening participations/access office from various universities, from the Department for Education, and from associations such as the Access Platform, Brightside, Study Higher, Realising Opportunities, Higher Education Access Tracker. The ISER communication team is working closely with the Education Media Centre to release the research gradually over the coming months. Some presentations have achieved two high profile reports in the Guardian.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/universities-in-the-uk-who-applies-who-stays-who-achieves-what-makes-...
 
Description Workshop Presentation - Workshop in Higher Education, University of Essex, June 13-14 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of "Academic and non-Academic investments at university: The role of expectations and preferences"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop on Expectations and Economics of Education held at Royal Holloway - Sept 7 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Workshop Presentation of "Academic and non-Academic investments at university: The role of expectations and preferences"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop on Subjective Expectations - Cesifo, Munich - 22-23 June 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of "Academic and non-Academic investments at university: The role of expectations and preferences"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Zurich University, Department of Economics, Zurich, February 2019, Emilia Del Bono (presenter) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Seminar presentation on the paper entitled "Skill accumulation with malleable ability: a Growth Mindset Intervention", joint with Adeline Delavande, Angus Holford and Sonkurt Sen, based on data from BOOST2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019