About the Project
This PhD will focus on understanding the socio-economic outcomes of individuals who experience cancer in the UK, including in core aspects of quality of life, such as, work and income, and wellbeing. The international evidence suggests individuals with cancer experience significant economic disadvantage, particularly in relation to employment (see, for example, Bradley 2002a and 2002b; Candon 2015; Heinesen et al., 2018) and, that the diagnosis of cancer causes a decline in wellbeing which persists even after recovery (Binder and Coad, 2013). This project will provide a statistical profile which quantifies of the impact of cancer in the UK and, in doing so, address a major gap in the evidence aligned to the strategic aim of Tenovus, To conduct and fund research to improve cancer experience.
The project will be based on econometric analysis of existing, high quality, large scale and nationally representative, longitudinal survey data from the UK, from Understanding Society (2008-present) and will examine socio-economic outcomes including employment, financial circumstances and broader measures of wellbeing of individuals prior to, during and (where appropriate) after recovery from the diagnosis of cancer. Understanding Society collects a rich range of information from a large sample of individuals and their households annually. The longitudinal nature of these data facilitate a dynamic analysis of cancer and socio-economic outcomes. Information is available on the diagnosis of cancer, the age of diagnosis and whether the individual still has cancer. By using individuals who do not experience cancer as a control group and applying established event-study panel econometric techniques (see Jones et al., 2018 for example) it will be possible to establish and quantify the impact of cancer on socio-economic outcomes. The longitudinal nature of the data also facilitate an examination of the extent to which individuals adjust or adapt in response to diagnosis (see Oswald and Powdthavee, 2008), and whether there is a long-term ‘scarring’ effect. The household nature of the data also enables a unique consideration of the impact on other household members, including in relation to their own work and wellbeing.
The project will build on disability research using longitudinal data internationally (Stephens, 2001; Charles, 2003; Meyer and Mok, 2013; Polidano and Vu 2015) and analysis of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) (Oswald and Powdthavee, 2008; Powdthavee, 2009) to address the following research questions:
1. What impact does the diagnosis of cancer have on an individual such as in terms of employment, household income and wellbeing?
2. How does this socio-economic impact of cancer develop longitudinally? For example, how does the impact persist post-diagnosis and is there evidence of adaptation to cancer? Is (medical) recovery associated with an improvement in socio-economic outcomes?
3. What affects the impact of cancer? For example, to what extent do personal characteristics such as gender and education, or government policies e.g. in relation to disability benefit income influence the socio-economic experience of cancer?
4. What impact does cancer have on other household members, such as, the wellbeing of a spouse?
This project is funded by Tenovus Cancer Care who support cancer patients and their loved one in the heart of the community. The successful candidate will have a unique opportunity to disseminate the findings from their research to Tenovus and to receive training in external engagement and developing impact from their research. As such, the student will be expected to actively engage with Tenovus Cancer Care throughout the course of their studies.
Applications are invited from exceptional candidates with a first class or strong upper second-class honours degree, and an appropriate master’s degree with an average mark of at least 65%. Applications can also be considered from holders of a first-class undergraduate degree in Economics or a first-class degree strongly related to Economics.
Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Economics with a start date of October 2020.
In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select ’I will be applying for a scholarship/grant’ and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from An examination of the socio-economic consequences of the diagnosis of, and recovery from, cancer in the UK (in collaboration with Tenovus UK).
1. Covering Letter
2. Academic Qualifications
3. Two References
5. Research Proposal (maximum 1000 words), taking into consideration the working title of the project.
The studentship commences October 2020, will cover tuition fees, a stipend and a training Grant. There are other opportunities and benefits available to studentship holders, including, teaching opportunities and overseas institutional visits.
Depending on academic background, the studentship is available:
- Normally, as a ‘1+1+2 studentship’, involving two full-time years of research training, comprising of the MSc Economics and MRes Economics programmes, followed by two years of full-time Doctoral study
- In exceptional cases, as a ‘1+2’ studentship, comprising of one full-time year of research training in the MRes Economics programme, followed by two years of full-time Doctoral study