Fully-funded ESRC PhD Scholarship: Understanding the Sources of Inequality Throughout the Earnings Distribution


Reference:     PHD-ULMS-Liverpool IFS-CASE STUDENTSHIP 2023

The student will work closely with the supervisory team on topics related to labour market and educational inequalities in order to understand the sources of inequality throughout the earnings distribution. The project will first provide a broad understanding of the factors that determine inequality in education and income across different countries with different levels of inequality and then provide a more focused understanding of the causal mechanisms which determine inequality.

The project is divided into three subprojects. Project 1 will provide an international comparison of what determines inequality in education and income. Project 2 will provide an in depth analysis of inequality in the United Kingdom using administrative data, and compare the factors which explain inequality in the United Kingdom to Norway, a country with far lower levels of inequality. Project 3 will bring all of these insights together, and will provide an explicit understanding of the causal mechanisms which have led to a growth and/or decline in inequality over time.

It is expected that the applicant will spend a minimum of one year at each institution, and the University of Liverpool is the PhD awarding institution. However, the exact division of time spent between London and Liverpool is subject to the candidate’s education and experience. The position requires expertise in econometrics (in particular causal methods) and data analysis, and the student will work extensively with administrative data in the UK and Norway as well as other cross-country datasets. As such, it is essential that the applicant should have knowledge of or willingness to learn R/Stata. The student will benefit from active participation in the research environments at both the University of Liverpool and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Successful completion of this PhD has the potential to lead to various avenues of employment including academia, consultancy and policymaking. The topical nature of the PhD means that the knowledge and skills gained from carrying out this research will be highly sought after.

The Economics Group at the University of Liverpool

The Economics Group produces world-leading applied and theoretical research. Find out more about our researchers here.

Our Group publishes in world-leading journals and has built a strong international research network in Labour and Applied Economics, with our staff collaborating with leading universities and research institutes. In addition, the group contributes to the solution of significant policy issues with high impact. This includes advice on trade policy, monetary policy and industrial policy in collaboration with local government, and national and international institutions.

Our students participate intensively in our discussions, seminars and other events and the funding allows them to attend conferences or summer schools. We support our students extensively in preparing for the job market by providing extensive feedback on your research and presentations, organising workshops on skills, and by conducting mock interviews.

The Group at the Institute for Fiscal Studies

At IFS, we specialise in the economic analysis of public policy, bridging the gap between purely academic research and issues of practical policy design or evaluation. It is our goal to build capacity in the social sciences in the UK more widely, and support and promote research that has a positive impact on society.

Working with the IFS will give PhD students the opportunity to broaden their research by accessing the opportunities available at the ESRC Institute at IFS. Students have the chance to attend a range of internal seminars and other events, work with IFS researchers and receive support from the senior academics based at IFS. They will have the chance to develop networks with academics and develop their understanding of the interaction between research and policy, which will stand them in good stead for their future careers.

Deadline: Monday 20th March, 5pm

Interview date: Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview shortly after the application deadline.

Academic Entry Requirements:

+3 Programme

For +3 studentships you should typically have a first class or 2:1 Master’s degree in Economics.

Personal Qualities:

These include the ability to work independently and a high degree of motivation necessary to complete a PhD in three years.

Method of Application:

Applicants must complete all sections of the University Postgraduate Study Application Form. Applications to be made via the University of Liverpool Apply Online, system, selecting programme of study Economics.

In the Finance section select funding source Sponsor and insert ‘PHD-ULMS-IFS-CASE’ in the box below. Also include this as the first line of your Personal Statement

Alongside the completed application form and Personal Statement, applicants should submit the following supporting documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Two academic reference letters, signed and on letter headed paper
  • University transcripts
  • English Language qualifications

All applicants are expected to demonstrate that they have reached a minimum required standard of English language (IELTS 7.0 overall and a minimum of 6.5 in each component), and, where relevant, are required to provide evidence of this. Qualifications accepted by the University include GCSE English; GCE O level English; AS Level English; A Level English Language; IELTS; Cambridge Proficiency etc. Please refer to the full list here. If you are unsure if your English qualification meets requirements then please check with the Research team before applying.

  • Degree certificates
  • Personal statement highlighting the direct relevance of your skills, expertise and experience to the topic, how this makes you ideally suited to undertaking the research specified, and what added value you will bring.

Incomplete and/or late applications will not be considered. Please ensure you submit all of the above documents with your application.

Short-listed candidates will be interviewed.