Month: March 2012

  • An Emotional Rollercoaster: Trends in Subjective Wellbeing During the Economic Downturn

    Since 2008 Gallup has polled a random sample of 1,000 Americans daily (link here) about their subjective well-being. The data provide a rich basis for examining the short-run effects of the economic recession on self-reported happiness, life evaluation, and stress. In a masterful paper, Angus Deaton digs into the data to show how the population […]

  • The harms of hidden research – Part II

    Last week I wrote about the need for transparency in inequalities research –  how hidden research both reduces the truthfulness of its claims, and how it works against the collective nature of social science. This week I want to finish off my argument, and deal with the objections to transparent social science, and in particular to respond […]

  • Bringing Religion Back into the Study of Health Inequality

    It’s a story that is recounted in every introductory sociology course: in the 1890s Emile Durkheim conducted a groundbreaking study to understand the variations and causes of suicide within industrializing French society. As Durkheim discovered, religious affiliation was a major explanatory variable – specifically, Protestants were much more likely in his sample to commit suicides […]

  • The harms of hidden research

    It’s all about the ‘killer facts’. If you want to get social science into policy, then – as Alex Stevens’ wonderful covert ethnography of high-level policymaking shows – killer facts are the name of the game.  And we try hard on the blog to get these across to you, as often and clearly as we can. […]

  • Does College Make You Liberal?

    “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob… There are good decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor to try to indoctrinate them. Oh, I understand why he […]

  • The mysterious non-claiming unemployed

    Throughout the financial crisis there’s been a puzzle gnawing at me, which seems critically important – yet has been barely mentioned. It’s glaringly obvious when looking at the BBC news reports after every release of the unemployment figures, the latest version of which is this (see also here): I’m not talking about those aspects that […]

  • Why don’t we want to pay unemployment benefits? Pt.2

    Why don’t we want to pay unemployment benefits? Pt.2

    This is part two of my duo of posts on why support for unemployment benefits seems to have crashed over the last 15-20 years. Last time I focused on what’s been going on in people’s heads. I argued that people have developed a host of negative associations around the word ‘benefits’, and that most people’s […]

  • Income, health, and payday deaths

    It’s hardly news that poorer people have worse health on average – but teasing apart the link of income and health is harder. The income-health gradient could be because people lose income when they have health problems, or it could be due to common causes (e.g. education) rather than income itself. In fact, the relationship […]