Fran Bennett

Fran Bennett was a Senior Research Fellow and is now an Associate Fellow of the Department. She has a particular interest in social security policy, gender issues, and poverty and participation.

Fran is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a member of the policy advisory group of the Women's Budget Group.

She has written extensively on social policy issues for the UK government, NGOs and others. 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's most recent research involved investigating how Universal Credit affects couples in an ESRC-funded project (ES/R004811/1), led by Prof Jane Millar. She has also co-edited, with Silvia Avram and Siobhan Austen, A Research Agenda for Financial Resources within the Household, relating to the management and distribution of financial resources within the household, for Edward Elgar (published January 2024).


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 Dec 2023

Bennett, Fran, Avram, Silvia and Austen, Siobhan (eds.) (2024) A Research Agenda for Financial Resources within the Household, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, including: Bennett, Fran, Avram, Silvia and Austen, Siobhan ‘Introduction’: 1-13; and Bennett, Fran, ‘Resources, roles and relationships: what qualitative research can reveal about resources within the household’: 33-48

Bennett, Fran (2023) ‘Take-up of social security benefits: past, present – and future?’, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice (Early View)

Bennett, Fran (2023), Framing of poverty in the UK, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation (online only)

Wood, Marsha and Bennett, Fran (2023) Parenting in the Pandemic: Exploring the experiences of families with children before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, Families, Relationships and Societies 12(2): 163-179 (1 of top 5 articles in FRS published online 2022)

Bennett, Fran and Millar, Jane (2022) Inflexibility in an Integrated System? Policy challenges posed by the design of Universal Credit, Working Paper 22-01, Barnett Papers in Social Research, Oxford: Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford

Griffiths, Rita, Wood, Marsha, Bennett, Fran and Millar, Jane (2022) Couples Navigating Work, Care and Universal Credit, Bath: Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath

Bennett, Fran (2021) Gendered Economic Inequalities: A social policy perspective, London: Institute for Fiscal Studies (commentary on gender inequalities report, IFS Deaton Review); and (forthcoming, 2024) article in special issue of Oxford Open Economics (open access)

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

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

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 (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 publications list


Current students
Previous students

Priyanka Bawa, who is working on sustainability research, focusing on social impact.

Dalia Ben Galim, who is currently a policy and strategy consultant in Australia.

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

Rys Farthing (supervised jointly with Robert Walker), who is working for Reset Australia, a global think tank.

Olya (Olha) Homonchuk, who is a researcher at the Overseas Development Institute.

Robert Massam, who is working in a management role in the NHS.

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

Saltanat Rasulova (supervised jointly with Robert Walker), who worked with Oxford Public Management and is now with UNICEF in Kazakhstan.