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CVER Research Team



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Prof Sandra McNally

Prof Sandra McNally is the Director of the Centre for Vocational Education Research and is based at the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics (LSE). Sandra also leads the Education and Skills Programme at CEP and is a Professor of Economics at University of Surrey.

Her expertise lies in the economics of education and she has considerable experience of evaluating programme interventions using both non-experimental and experimental methods. Recent work includes research on the effects of school resources on student outcomes and the role of careers-related information on students' attitudes to future educational decisions. Sandra is an adviser to different government departments and gives regular presentations to policy-makers. She is Co-Editor of the Economics of Education Review and member of the ESRC Peer Review College.

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Working with Sandra at LSE
Dr Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela
Claudia Hupkau
Dr Hilary Steedman
Chiara Cavaglia
Camille Terrier
Guglielmo Ventura

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Dr Gavan Conlon

Dr Gavan Conlon is a Partner at London Economics. He has an extensive understanding of economics of vocational education and training having spent the last two decades researching the area using quantitative analysis.

Gavan has provided expert evidence to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee enquiry into higher education fees and funding and is an OECD expert on methodologies for assessing the economic impact associated with education and skills proficiencies. He is also a named Research Associate at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills; a technical advisor to the BIS and HM Treasury on the valuation of income contingent student loans and has provided advice to BIS on data matching across the public sector. He also provides specialist advice to the Department of Education on evaluation methodologies and cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis.

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Working with Gavan at London Economics
Pietro Patrignani
Rohit Ladher
Marguerita Lane
Dr Annette Harms
Daniel Herr
Sophie Hedges


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Prof Steven McIntosh

Prof Steven McIntosh is a member of the Department of Economics at the University of Sheffield. He is an applied labour economist, with a particular focus on education issues and how they relate to labour market outcomes.

Steven has produced a large body of work looking at the wage returns and rates of return to qualifications, particularly vocational qualifications and apprenticeships. A second body of research has considered the match between the demand for and supply of skills, and the extent to which employees work in jobs appropriate for their skills and abilities. This work has looked at the wage effects of being in mismatched employment, but also tried to establish the reasons why an individual ends up in mismatched employment.

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Working with Steven at the University of Sheffield
Prof Andy Dickerson
Dr Damon Morris
Konstantina Maragkou

Jim Chen



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Dr Stefan Speckesser

Stefan is an inter-disciplinary social scientist by training (M.A. in Political Science from Berlin and Doctor in Economics from Mannheim) and a specialist in evaluation methodology and the impact of public policy. He makes use a wide range of experimental and non-experimental econometric methods to learn more about the effectiveness of policy programmes and institutions, i.e. whether specific micro and macroeconomic interventions are effective to help people make better decisions and have better long-term economic outcomes.

He is specifically interested in education and labour market institutions as a skilled workforce and productive labour market participation is fundamental to achieve the full productive potential of the economy and highest possible quality of life in the long-term. This interest includes education policy (and the creation of a workforce having access to specific technical skills), the coordination of wage setting in the aggregate economy and the impact of labour market regulation

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Working with Stefan at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research
Matt Bursnall
Augustin De Coulon
Andreina Naddeo
Vahe Nafilyan

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Dr Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela

Jenifer is research coordinator at the Centre for Vocational Education Research. She received her PhD in Economics from the European University Institute in Florence. She started working at the LSE as a Research Economist in August 2014, in the Education and Skills group. She previously worked as consultant for the Economics directorate of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and as a Junior Economist at the Bank of Spain.

Together with Sandra McNally, she is currently involved in a project that evaluates the effect of small group teaching assistance on reading outcomes at early ages. A second project, joint with Sandra McNally and Stephen Machin, looks at the importance of getting a 'good grade' in core subjects for later educational outcomes. A third project with Claudia Hupkau, looks at the effects of university capacity constraints on student outcomes. As part of her PhD, she has studied the impact of parental job loss and parental job insecurity on the educational outcomes of their offspring.

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Dr Matt Bursnall

Matt is a statistician specialising in economic and econometric analysis of policy impacts. He worked for the Department for Education (DFE) for 15 years before moving to the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) in 2017 and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) in August 2017. While working in the DfE, Matt's experience includes empirical estimates of the returns to vocational education, Cost Benefit Analysis of Further Education in England, youth transitions and the measurement of Apprenticeship pay. During his time at IES, in addition to the CVER research programme, Matt's experience includes the design and analysis of Randomised Control Trials and labour mobility of the engineering workforce.

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Jim Chen

Jim is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield. His research interest is in applied microeconomics, labour economics and the economics of education. He holds an MSc in Economics from the University of Edinburgh and a BSc in Economics from the University of Bath. Jim's PhD work is focused on vocational education and its labour market outcomes.


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Chiara Cavaglia

Chiara joined CVER as research economist in September 2016. Her research at the Centre focuses on vocational education. In particular, she is involved in research projects investigating the labour market outcomes of apprentices, the role of minimum wage, and the implications of apprenticeships in terms of social mobility. Chiara is also a PhD candidate at the University of Essex. Her thesis is about intergenerational mobility and job polarization. 

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Dr Augustin De Coulon

Augustin's main interest is in applied micro-econometrics. He moved to King's in 2009 from the Institute of Education. Previously, he was at Queen Mary, University of London. He studied at the London School of Economics and the University of Geneva, where he obtained his PhD in economics. His PhD work focused on the labour market assimilation of immigrants. Beside immigration, he also works in the fields of the economics of education (basic skills and vocational training) and health economics (risky behaviours).

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Dr Annette Harms

Annette is employed at London Economics as an Economic Consultant after obtaining a PhD in economics from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. She specialises in labour market economics and behavioural economics. During her PhD, as well as in previous research positions at the Bocconi University and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, she acquired extensive experience in the econometric analysis of large panel data sets, the design of behavioural experiments and randomized controlled trials, as well as in propensity score matching. Her recent work on the impacts of internships on early labour market success has received particular public attention through an invited talk at the European Central Bank and a citation in The Economist.

At London Economics, Annette has recently been involved in report writing for the European Parliament on the integration of the European Single Market, as well as in the design and implementation of behavioural experiments in the insurance and financial sectors. Currently, Annette is working on a project relating to the possible consolidation of the Employer Skills Survey and Employers Perspectives Survey, which will feed into the work being undertaken by London Economics in respect of Project 1.3.

London Economics' webpage

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Sophie Hedges

Sophie is an Economic Consultant at London Economics, working mainly within the Education and Labour Markets team. She is comfortable with a range of econometric techniques and the use of statistical software such as Stata. She is also experienced in working with various UK and EU datasets, from survey data to large-scale administrative datasets such as the National Pupil Database (NPD), the Individualised Learner Record (ILR), and the National Client Caseload Information System (NCCIS). Sophie holds both MSc and BSc degrees in Economics from the University of Sussex, where she specialised mainly in microeconomics with a particular application in labour economics.

London Economics' webpage

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Daniel Herr

Daniel is an Economic Analyst at London Economics. He is involved in all aspects of research including literature reviews, data collection and cleaning, statistical analysis and modelling, as well as report writing. Daniel holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of York and an M.Phil. in Economics from the University of Cambridge. In addition to his economics knowledge, he has strong technical skills, including programming, data-cleaning and data-manipulation gained by working as a software developer and quality assurance tester for several years prior to joining London Economics.


London Economics' webpage

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Claudia Hupkau

Claudia is a Research Economist at CVER and the Education and Skills Programme at CEP. She is a PhD candidate at the Catholic University of Louvain. Before joining CEP Claudia was part of the Poverty, Resource Equality and Social Policies (PoRESP) programme at the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics in Louvain, Belgium. She has co-authored various policy reports on education in England and educational inequalities among adults for the Social Market Foundation (London). Her research focuses on the economics of education, behavioural economics, the economics of poverty and labour economics. She is currently working on the determinants of access to apprenticeships, trying to understand the role pf pupil, school and geographical characteristics in further education choices.

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Rohit Ladher

Rohit is an Economic Consultant at London Economics. Rohit's main role at London Economics includes detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis using MS Excel, Stata and R, as well as research and the drafting of reports. He has worked on numerous projects requiring an in-depth understanding of advanced econometric methods and techniques. He is currently working on an intensive econometric model assessing the impact of the bite of the NMW on productivity and wage differentials at a sector level for the Low Pay Commission. He also contributed on the previous study assessing the impact of the minimum wage on labour market outcomes for young people since the freeze in the youth rates relative to the adult rate.

London Economics' webpage

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Marguerita Lane

Marguerita is a Senior Economic Consultant at London Economics. She holds a first class honours degree in Economics and Mathematics from Trinity College Dublin and her role at London Economics mainly comprises econometric modelling, statistical analysis and spreadsheet modelling. Marguerita is skilled at using statistical packages (Stata and R) to analyse large and complex data sets. Marguerita has contributed to London Economics' education-related research, including a literature review on productivity spillovers for the Department; and three projects for the Low Pay Commission concerning the level of apprentice pay, assessing the impact of the minimum wage on young people, and assessing the bite of the minimum wage. Marguerita also has extensive experience collecting and analysing national survey data relating to education and the labour market. Marguerita recently conducted the econometric analysis for the OECD using PIACC data to assess the impact of literacy, numeracy and IT skills on labour market performance across the OECD, as well as the econometric analysis of the National Careers Service using the matched ILR-DWP-HMRC data.

London Economics' webpage

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Konstantina Maragkou

Konstantina is a PhD Student at the University of Sheffield whose research is focused on Vocational Education. She holds a BSc degree in Economics from the University of Essex and an MSc degree in Applied Economics and Data Analysis from the University of Essex jointly with the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER). She is mainly interested in Labour and Education Economic research, including administrative data analysis using applied econometric techniques and quantitative methodologies. The project she is currently working on is principally focused on the decision to enter Vocational Education.

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Dr Damon Morris

Damon recently completed his PhD which was on the subject of wage inequality in the UK and its relationship with firm performance. He is currently involved in a project examining the role of pensions in executive pay as well as working on CVER projects, where current research includes the private returns to vocational qualifications. His research interests are in areas of empirical labour economics, and he is experienced in the analysis of a variety of large scale firm and individual level datasets.

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Dr Andreina Naddeo

Andreina is a Research Officer at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of London, Royal Holloway College. Andreina specialises in quantitative analysis, in particular dynamic discrete choice modelling applied to educational and criminal choices. She gained around 5 years' experience in teaching quantitative methods and core economic subjects in different colleges of the University of London.
Andreina has strong research interests in Economics of Crime, Economics of Education and Applied Econometrics. During her experience as researcher, she used and analysed different type of datasets, ranging from surveys, aggregate data and large administrative datasets, such as NLSY97 and NPD databases.

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Vahé Nafilyan

Vahé is a PhD student at King's College and statistician at the Office for National Statistics (ONS). His research interests are in applied labour economics, with a particular focus on health and education. He is familiar with a wide range of statistical and econometric techniques and is experienced in analysing complex survey and administrative data, having undertaken a number of studies using large scale data for various UK Government departments (BIS, DfE, DWP, Welsh Government) and EU agencies (Eurofound, CEDEFOP, EU Parliament). Vahé also worked at the OECD and IES. He holds a Masters of Research in Economics from the Paris School of Economics

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Dr Pietro Patrignani

Pietro is a Senior Economic Consultant at London Economics, and holds an undergraduate and two postgraduate degrees in economics from the University of Rome and University College London. Pietro has extensive experience in empirical methods, including the collection, manipulation and analysis of international, national and EU data, at both macro and micro levels. Since joining London Economics 6 years ago, Pietro has played a key role in a series of education-related projects requiring complex data management and modelling, the application of various econometric techniques and statistical analysis as well as report drafting. Pietro is an approved researcher at the ONS' Virtual Microdata Laboratory and has extensive experience in working with the ILR and firm-level datasets.

London Economics' webpage

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Camille Terrier

Camille Terrier is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the MIT, and a Research Associate at CVER and at the CEP, London School of Economics. She completed her PhD in Economics at the Paris School of Economics. Camille is currently working on two research projects in the UK: one aiming at evaluating the effectiveness of University Technical Colleges, the other focusing on principals of Further Education colleges in the UK. Camille is also working on the centralized process used to assign teachers to schools, on the grading practices of the teachers, and on the impact of economic shocks on the quality of the civil servants recruited.

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Guglielmo Ventura

Guglielmo is a Research Assistant at the Centre for Vocational Education Research and for the Education and Skills programme at CEP. He holds a Master in Economics of Public Policy from Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. His main research interest is education with particular reference to the effects of education on later life outcomes and inequality.

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