Professor Brian Nolan

Brian Nolan has been Professor of Social Policy at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, Director of INET’s Employment, Equity and Growth Programme, and Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College Oxford since 2014. He was previously Principal of the College of Human Sciences and Professor of Public Policy at University College Dublin. He is an economist by training, with a doctorate from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and his main areas of research are income inequality, poverty, and the economics of social policy.

He has been centrally involved in a range of collaborative cross-country research networks and projects, including the Growing Inequalities’ Impacts (GINI) multi-country research project on inequalities and their impacts. He co-edited The Handbook of Economic Inequality (2008), The Great Recession and the Distribution of Household Income (2013), Changing Inequalities in Rich Countries: Analytical and Comparative Perspectives (2014), Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich Countries: Thirty Countries’ Experiences (2014), andChildren of Austerity: The Impact of the Great Recession on Child Poverty in Rich Countries (2017), and with Christopher T. Whelan co-authored Poverty and Deprivation in Europe (2011), all published by Oxford University Press. 

The research programme on economic inequality he directs at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention and the Institute for New Economic Thinking was initially established as the Employment, Equity and Growth programme supported by the Resolution Foundation from 2014-18. The main findings were brought together in two volumes he edited published by Oxford University Press in 2018: Inequality and Inclusive Growth in Rich Countries: Shared Challenges and Contrasting Fortunes and Generating Prosperity for Working Families in Rich Countries.

He directed the Oxford Martin Programme on Inequality and Prosperity from 2016-21 supported by Citi as part of its research partnership with the Oxford Martin School. This focused on the drivers of inequality and how best to address it and promote inclusive growth, and also investigated a range of related topics. 

He was also principal investigator on a project funded by the Nuffield Foundation from 2017-19 on the intergenerational transmission of family wealth

His research programme is currently funded primarily through a 6-year Synergy Grant from the European Research Council for Towards Distributional National Accounts (ERC grant 856455 DINA), in collaboration with Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics) and Emmanuel Saez (University of California-Berkeley).  

Starting in 2020, the central aim is to build bridges between distributional data available from micro sources and national accounts aggregates to provide estimates of the distribution of income and wealth using concepts that are consistent with the macroeconomic national accounts. The Oxford team are also investigating related topics including implications for the measurement and role of redistribution by the State, the intergenerational transmission of income, wealth, poverty and social class, ‘correcting’ surveys for missing income and wealth, inequality and social status, economic inequality (including unemployment) and political behaviour, and the interactions between demographic patterns/trends and income and wealth inequality. 

 

Research

Current research is focusing on distributional estimates consistent with the macroeconomic national accounts, the measurement and role of redistribution by the State, the intergenerational transmission of income, wealth, poverty and social class, ‘correcting’ surveys for missing income and wealth, the relationship between inequality and social status, economic inequality (including unemployment) and political behaviour, and the interactions between demographic patterns/trends and income and wealth inequality. 

 

Publications
Current projects
Current students