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  Individual resilience

   Department of Economics

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  Prof Simonetta Longhi  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This project brings together research in psychology and economics to study resilience of individuals. Research suggest that individuals adapt to positive and negative changes in circumstances (such as marriage, divorce, unemployment) but that the effect of some of these changes lasts longer than the effect of others (Clark et al. 2008, Clark and Georgellis 2012). For example, while on average individuals quickly return to their original level of wellbeing after a divorce or after the onset of disability, they do not seem to adapt to unemployment. While the response to a change may vary across individuals, research is lacking on who is more affected either in terms of intensity of the response or length of time needed to adapt, and on why some individuals are more resilient than others.

This project will explore the heterogeneity of individual responses to different types of “shocks”/changes in circumstances to identify which individual, household and community characteristics are causally associated to improved resilience, and to identify which behaviour (or behavioural change) is more conductive of improved resilience.

Depending on the specific research interest of the student, resilience can be intended in terms of wellbeing, mental health or other factors. Various types of changes can be analysed, ranging from changes to personal life (such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, disability, residential move, lottery wins), to labour market (such as job change, promotion, redundancy, unemployment), and/or aggregate shocks (such as floods or Covid). The research can be carried out using secondary longitudinal panel data, by carrying out new experiments, or by a combination of both. Professor Simonetta Longhi is an expert on inequalities, has more than 10 years of experience in supervising research students, and in teaching applied econometric methods to identify causal relationships.

Department of Economics, University of Reading:

The Department of Economics has a long and established track record of research, working with a wide variety of industrial and academic partners to achieve significant social and economic benefits. Research activity within the Department is broad and extensive; among our most active fields are business economics, development economics, behavioural economics, labour economics and sports economics.

We have an active community of 20-30 PhD students and provide you with the opportunity to carry out your studies and learn in a highly collaborative environment, putting you on the path to a successful career.

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhDs are available for study on a full-time basis over three years and part-time over four to six years, starting in the autumn term of the academic year. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, or at a distance for students who live outside the UK.


Applicants should have a good master degree in Economics or on a strongly-related discipline. Applicants will also need to meet the University’s English Language requirements. We offer pre-sessional courses that can help with meeting these requirements. Submit an application for a PhD in Economics at

Economics (10)

Funding Notes

Funding opportunities are available on a competitive basis through the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS). You can find more information here:


Clark, A.E., Diener, E., Georgellis, Y. and Lucas, R.E. (2008). Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis. The Economic Journal, 118: F222-F243.
Clark, A. and Georgellis, Y. (2012). Back to Baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the British Household Panel Survey. Economica, 80(319): 496-512.

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