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Couples balancing work and care: exploring the shifting landscape under Universal Credit

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J Millar
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Universal Credit is a new, working age benefit which replaces six existing means-tested benefits and tax credits with a single monthly payment per individual claimant or couple. Under Universal Credit, the distinction between being in work and out of work has been removed and most claimants, including many partners in couples with dependent children, will have work conditionality requirements.

The aim of this ESRC-funded research is to examine the ways in which couples with children make decisions about work and care and manage their household finances in the context of this new policy landscape. The project team consists of Jane Millar, Rita Griffiths and Marsha Wood (University of Bath) and Fran Bennett (University of Oxford).

The project will:
1. Collect new, qualitative longitudinal data on work/care decisions; intra-household financial management and distribution; and gender roles and relations in couple families with dependent children.
2. Contribute to the literature on employment and care decision-making processes, gender, and strategies for paid and unpaid work and budgeting in low-income households.
3. Explore the policy implications of the findings in relation to Universal Credit, working -age benefits and work-family reconciliation policies more widely, providing insight into the ways in which policies support or undermine choice and gender equality in work, care and couple relationships.

This will be a three-year, longitudinal, qualitative research study based on a sample of 75 low-income couples with dependent children. There will be separate and joint face-to-face interviews with both members of the couples in four UK areas - Bath, Cumbria, Merseyside and Inverness. Some families will be interviewed twice.

A fully-funded three year University Research Studentship will be attached to the project. The person appointed will receive appropriate advanced training in qualitative research methods in order to be able to take part in the data collection and analysis. The exact nature of the doctoral project will be determined in consultation between the research team and the doctoral student. But it might include, for example: a focus on families with pre-school age children; a focus on lone parents by adding an additional sample of these parents in one of the study areas, a focus on the male perspective on family and labour market; issues of childcare support; the treatment of self-employment.

The successful candidate should:
1. Fulfil the entrance requirements for a Department of Social and Policy Sciences PhD.
2. Have knowledge and understanding of social policy research and current issues.
3. Have some background in quantitative or qualitative methods as appropriate for the project.
4. Have an interest in public policy engagement and policy impact.

Funding Notes

The successful candidate will be expected to commence their studies in October 2018.

They will be supported for 3 years (full time study), and will receive:
o a £14,777 per-annum stipend based on 2018/19 rate
o Full Home/EU tuition fees
o an annual Training Support Grant

Potential interviews are expected to take place on 9th April 2018.

How good is research at University of Bath in Social Work and Social Policy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 35.55

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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