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Dr Nicola Pensiero
Room 706
UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
Tel: +44 (0)20 7331 5113
  • Research Officer
  • IOE - Education, Practice & Society
  • UCL Institute of Education
Research Groups
Research Summary

I am a quantitative social scientist at LLAKES Centre for Research on Learning and Life Chances, UCL Institute of Education, where he joined in 2013 after completing my PhD at the European University Institute. I have a hunger for understanding the social bases of economic life and I am a proponent of the unification of social sciences.
I have extensive experience in conducting original, interdisciplinary, quantitative and policy relevant research on inequalities in educational outcomes and opportunities, skill formation and labour market outcomes.

My work on education focuses mostly on the post-15 phase both in UK and across countries. I recently completed as the PI a research project funded by the Nuffield Foundation to study the role of after-school programmes in England in contributing to skill formation and social mobility among adolescents. This project built on my previous work on the inequality in skill formation in respect to class-related child rearing strategies as defined by the notion of ‘concerted cultivation’. 
I have conducted comparative studies using large scale skill surveys such as PISA, IALS, PIAAC to analyse the macro determinants of academic performance levels and inequality from a cross-country perspective.

I have analysed the causes of income inequality from a political economy perspective, with a focus on the impact of the privatisation of public services and more broadly of state policy. My ongoing work on economic inequality include the analysis of the changes in the effect of cognitive and non-cognitive skills on earnings.

Another active line of research is on social rationality. I am currently working on a project on the attitudes towards Britain’s membership of the EU, which looks simultaneously at the social, economic and political payoffs of the support for EU membership. This interest also informs the course I lead on 'Institutions and Behaviour : rational choice theory in action'.

Teaching Summary

Module leader of 'Introduction to Survey Design' and 'Institutions and Behaviour : Rational Choice Theory in Action'

Tutor and supervisor of graduate students

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