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 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), and Children 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 Employment, Equity and Growth Programme which he directs has been seeking to understand why current growth models are failing those on middle and lower incomes in many developed countries, and what policies help to promote better, fairer growth. Research carried out by the group with the support of the Resolution Foundation has been 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 currently leads the Oxford Martin Programme on Inequality and Prosperity established in 2016 as part of the Oxford Martin School’s research partnership with Citi, looking at the drivers of inequality and how best to address it and promote inclusive growth.

He is also principal investigator on a project funded by the Nuffield Foundation on the intergenerational transmission of family wealth.


Recent research has focused on trends in income inequality, their drivers and economic and social impacts; the relationship between inequality and trends in real incomes at and below the middle; labour/capital shares and personal income inequality; child poverty in rich countries; inequality, intergenerational mobility and the transmission of wealth.

Current projects
Current students