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Call 14: Advanced Poverty Research

Universität Bremen, Germany,
15-19 September 2014



General information

Longitudinal perspectives have become increasingly important in poverty research. There is a large difference between short-term spells of poverty as compared to repeated or persistent poverty over the life course or even across generations. Poverty thus varies in terms of duration and intensity, and this variation is often directly reflected in the causes of poverty, ranging from risky status transitions within individual life-courses to structural social class positions which are reproduced across generations. This has major implications both for the theoretical and analytical link between poverty and social inequalities and for social policy.

Life-course and intergenerational transmissions of poverty refer to complex social processes that call for appropriate statistical modelling techniques and theoretical explanations. This is particularly true if one wants to trace long-term impacts of (repeated or even persistent) poverty. In a life-course and intergenerational perspective, poverty is caused and shaped in at least three different ways: First, path-dependency and socialization effects refer to “endogenous causality” as it is discussed in terms of cumulative disadvantages in life course research; second, life courses are embedded in social structures and shaped by social background which operate as more permanent or even incorporated influences; and third, life-courses are subject to exogenous impacts (e.g., social policy changes, economic crisis) and risks involved in transitions (e.g., from school to work, single to parent, etc.). Any of these determining forces call for appropriate methods and theoretical explanations – and needs to be combined and integrated to provide a more comprehensive picture of intergenerational and life course transmission of poverty.

Longitudinal poverty analysis requires longitudinal data, preferably household panel or register data, given that most poverty measures rely on household incomes. Although these datasets have become increasingly available, there is still a trade-off between long-running panel data for certain countries (i.e., PSID for the U.S., SOEP for Germany, BHPS/UK LHS for UK) or the European cross-national household panel data (EU-SILC and ECHP) that cover a larger number of European countries but only for shorter time periods. Thus, the various datasets available have their particular strengths and weaknesses.



Keynote speakers

Brian Nolan is Principal of the College of Human Sciences and Professor of Public Policy, University College Dublin (UCD). His research is concerned with poverty, income inequality, the economics of social policy, and health economics. From September 2014 he will lead a research programme at the University of Oxford on Employment, Equity and Growth, focused on why economic growth has failed to deliver for the ‘middle and below’ income groups in the UK.

Markus Jännti is Research Director at the Luxembourg Income Study and Professor of Economics at the Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm Universities. His research centers on income and wealth inequality and poverty and socio-economic mobility, especially in a cross-national perspective. In more recent work, he concentrates on understanding and quantifying the importance of family background in the distribution of economic resources.

Leen Vandecasteele is a Junior Professor of Sociology at the Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen. Her research agenda tackles questions related to the determinants and consequences of social and economic mobility over the life course. She is particularly interested in the study of cumulative disadvantage over the life course, gender inequality in the labour market and life events associated with poverty. Most of that work is comparative, looking at different welfare regimes in Europe.




The summer school on intergenerational and life course transmission of poverty aims at providing a broader overview of the theoretical, methodological and data issues and challenges. It aims at encouraging students of poverty and inequality to dig deeper into these aspects. The format of the summer school entails three types of sessions:

  • In the morning sessions keynote lectures will provide an overview of the state of the research, major challenges and potential avenues of research. The lectures will be backed-up with selected pieces of relevant literature that will be circulated and read in advance.
  • The hands-on sessions will provide the opportunity to work with real data in lab sessions and train the participants in handling longitudinal datasets and applying longitudinal methods. Depending on the demands of the participants that will be surveyed in advance, the hands-on session will provide introductions to the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) and the EU-SILC. Methods that could be covered include panel regressions, event history models, propensity score matching, sequence analysis and markov chain models.
  • The afternoon sessions will be devoted to the projects of the participants. Each participant will be given the opportunity to present his/her work and to receive feedback from experienced senior researchers and the other participants.


  • Last modified 11-02-2015