Fran Bennett

Fran Bennett was a Senior Research Fellow, and is now an Associate Fellow, having retired from April 2021. She has a particular interest in social security policy, gender issues, and poverty, income distribution and participation.

She is also an independent consultant, and has written extensively on social policy issues for the UK government, NGOs and others. She is a member of the UK team of independent experts led by Prof Jonathan Bradshaw in the European Social Policy Network for the European Commission. With Prof Jane Millar of the University of Bath, she was specialist advisor to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee for its inquiry into universal credit (report published July 2020).

Fran is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and is currently also a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Policy Research, University of Bath. She is a member of the policy advisory group of the Women's Budget Group. 


Fran Bennett's research focuses on social security policy, gender issues (especially in relation to within-household distribution and tax/social security), and poverty. Her current research involves investigating how Universal Credit affects couples in an ESRC-funded project (ES/R004811/1), led by Prof Jane Millar, University of Bath. She is co-editing, with Siobhan Austen and Silvia Avram, a book on the research agenda relating to financial resources within the household for Edward Elgar.


Fran Bennett's research focuses on:

  • social security policy
  • gender issues, especially in relation to within-household distribution and tax/social security
  • poverty and income distribution.

Her current research involves investigating how Universal Credit affects couples in an ESRC-funded project (ES/R004811/1), led by Prof Jane Millar, University of Bath.

Previously she examined (with others) the interaction between within-household inequalities and policy on tax and benefits in the UK in a project in the ESRC-funded Gender Equality Network (2002-10), and wrote an evidence and policy review on gender and poverty for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation with Prof. Mary Daly, DSPI.

Selected publications

Please note that some links may require subscription access to journals

Fran Bennett selected publications revised April 2021

Bennett, Fran (2021) 'How government sees couples on Universal Credit: a critical gender perspective', Journal of Poverty and Social Justice 29(1): 3-20

Howard, M. and Bennett, F. (2020) 'Payment of Universal Credit for couples in the UK: challenges for reform from a gender perspective', International Social Security Review 73(4): 75-96

Griffiths, Rita, Wood, Marsha, Bennett, Fran and Millar, Jane (2020) Uncharted Territory: Universal Credit, couples and money, Bath: Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath 

Hantrais, Linda, Brannen, Julia and Bennett, Fran (2020) “Family change, intergenerational relations and policy implications”, Contemporary Social Science 15(3): 275-290: DOI: (+ guest editors of themed issue)

Bennett, Fran (2019) “Social protection for the self-employed in the UK: the disappearing contributions increase”, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice 27(2): 235-251: DOI:

Bennett, Fran (2019) “UK: changing politics of crisis management“, in S. Olafsson, M. Daly, O. Kangas and J. Palme (eds.) Welfare and the Great Recession: A Comparative Study, Oxford: Oxford University Press: 175-191

Bennett, Fran (2019) “Sustainable Development Goals and poverty in the UK”, Poverty (journal of Child Poverty Action Group), Issue 163, Spring: 6-10

Bradshaw, Jonathan and Bennett, Fran (2019) “ESPN Thematic Report on In-work poverty in the United Kingdom”, for European Social Policy Network, Brussels: Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission

Bennett, Fran (2018) “Gender and social security”, in Jane Millar and Roy Sainsbury (eds.) Understanding Social Security, 3rd edn., Bristol: Policy Press: 99-117 

Millar, Jane and Bennett, Fran (2017) "Universal credit: assumptions, contradictions and virtual reality", Social Policy and Society 16(2): 169-182; doi:; winners, Excellence in Social Policy Scholarship award from Cambridge University Press for Social Policy and Society, 2018

Bennett, Fran (2017) "The developed world", in Megatrends and Social Security: Family and Gender, Geneva: International Social Security Association, 10-26 

Bennett, Fran (2014) "The 'living wage', low pay and in work poverty: rethinking the relationships", Critical Social Policy 34: 1 46-65; doi: 10.1177/o261018313481564

Bennett, Fran and Daly, Mary (2014) “Poverty through a Gender Lens: Evidence and policy review on gender and poverty”, working paper for Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Bennett, Fran (2013) "Researching within household distribution: overview, developments, debates and methodological challenges", Journal of Marriage and Family 75: 3 582-597; doi: 10.1111/jomf.12020

Bennett, Fran and Sung, Sirin (2013) "Dimensions of financial autonomy in low/moderate-income couples from a gender perspective and implications for welfare reform", Journal of Social Policy 42(4): 701-719

Expanded publication list

Current students
Previous students

Saltanat Rasulova (supervised jointly with Prof Robert Walker), who is Senior Consultant (Research and Data Collection Methods portfolio), Oxford Public Management, Oxford  

Dalia Ben Galim, who is Director of Policy, Advice and Communications, Gingerbread

Mariann Dosa who was co-founder and head of the School of Public Life, Budapest, and is currently working as a civil servant in the UK.

Rys Farthing (supervised jointly with Prof Robert Walker), who is a policy and charity consultant, who works with clients from Manchester City Council to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty and NGOs such as WATOceans

Madeline Nightingale (supervised jointly with Erzsebet Bukodi), who is a policy analyse at RAND Europe specialising in employment and gender.