Her current and recent research projects include:
rEUsilience: Risks, Resources and Inequalities: Increasing Resilience in European Families
This EU- and ESRC-funded project trains the spotlight on socio-economic and other risks facing families across European societies and the role of policy in protecting against such risks. Undertaking both EU-wide research as well as studies of particular countries (Belgium, Croatia, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK), the goal is to identify how families respond to risks and changes in their economic and care-related circumstances, especially in a context of fast-paced changes in labour markets and increasing income insecurity.
The project will answer two research questions: What challenges and difficulties are created or exacerbated for families by labour markets in the ‘new world of work’ and how do families try to overcome these while managing their care-related and other responsibilities? How do social policies contribute to familial resilience, especially in terms of the extent to which policies are inclusive, flexible and complementary? As well as undertaking new research, the project includes a policy lab which involves citizens and experts directly in policy review and problem solution and also uses simulations and other methods to road-test policy solutions.
Work Orientations and Conditions of Care Workers (2021-2022)
The project, funded by the John Fell Fund, uses Albert Hirschman’s framework of exit, loyalty and voice to examine how workers in care homes manage discordance between the material, the psycho-social and the political, aspects of their work and life. Focused on identifying the realities of their everyday lives especially in a context of COVID-19, it examines the role and limits of their loyalty, the extent to which they see exit and or voice (in terms of political engagement) as available to them, and where the tipping point is between staying or leaving.
Specifically, the project:
- Explores care workers’ attachment to their work, the working conditions and their perceptions of their choices and how they make decisions to stay or leave;
- Utilises this and other evidence to co-produce policy insights and practical guidelines with a host of stakeholders.
Database on Child-related Policy During the Coronavirus Pandemic (2021-2022)
This research project builds a bespoke comparative data set to report and analyse countries’ policy responses to child and family well-being during the pandemic, assessing the measures taken, their likely impact and future potential as part of pathways to change. The database rests on a framework that identifies five pivotal social rights for children in a pandemic context: the right to early education and childcare; the right not to be hungry; the right to parental care when ill or during school lockdown; the right to education; the right not to be poor. The database covers the following policy areas: early education and childcare; food provision and related support; parenting-related policies; education; and income support measures for families. It differentiates between policies on the basis of their ‘route to the child’. Provisions that target the child directly are differentiated from those channeled through parents and/or the family more broadly. In these and other ways, the database provides more integrated, granulated and child-centred information than has been available heretofore.
The database is intended as a public resource and will be made public later in 2021.
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Family Formation Policies (2019-2020)
This project, seed-funded by the OX-BER partnership, explores the potential challenges in linking policies oriented to the pre-parental phase of family with those oriented to the parental phase. Theories on the latter are far more developed than on the former, certainly from a social policy perspective. At the project’s core is a critical and forward-looking analysis, surveying the existing relevant regulation in a range of policy fields. The first strand of the project will develop a descriptive overview of the patterns of policies across countries; the second will uncover the specific tensions created within particular policy packages and fields. The planned outputs from the project include a symposium and a number of publications, including a background research paper, a project/symposium report and at least one journal article.
Assessing and Monitoring Family Policy (2015-2017)
The overall objective of the project, funded by the John Fell Fund, was to undertake a state of the art review of the available data on family policy in an international comparative context and to create a database of the most significant family-related policy developments in the UK. The policy fields covered include financial supports for families, parental leave and early childhood education and care. The database is known as the Oxford Family Policy Database and can be accessed here.
Past projects in which she played a leading role:
Governing ‘New Social Risks’: The Case of Recent Child Policies in European Welfare States (2011-2014)
This Economic and Social Research Council funded project critically reviewed the child-centred investment approaches that are now being adopted widely in Europe. The research focus was on interventions with parents, especially parenting programmes of various kinds in four countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands and UK. As well as examining how they functioned, the research project identified the ambiguities in recent policies for families and children, e.g., the tension between helping and controlling families and the possibility that new social divides between different kinds of families are being generated. Download the Policy Brief.
Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK, the 2012 Survey (2010-2014)
The primary purpose of this research grant, shared between six partner universities, was to advance the theory and practice of poverty and social exclusion measurement. A central component of the project was a major national survey of poverty and social exclusion run in 2013. Other more qualitative research projects were also undertaken to identify people’s experiences of poverty. With funding to the value of over £4.5 million, the project involved a large multi-disciplinary team. One of the elements which Mary Daly oversaw was the qualitative study of family life in conditions of low income and poverty. See www.poverty.ac.uk
Other research which she completed during the last years include:
- A project for UNICEF to develop an analytic framework and undertake scoping research on the nature and growth of family support and parenting support policies on a global basis. The final report, published in 2015, can be seen here.
- A contributory report to the UN flagship Report – Progress of the World’s Women 2015- 2016 – on key developments in child-related financial transfers and early childhood education and care services on a global basis. The report has been published as a UN Women Discussion Paper in 2015 and be found here.