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International collaboration will reveal AI's potential to transform unpaid domestic work
11 Mar 2020

With the help of a major grant, a UK-Japanese collaboration will investigate the potential of artificial intelligence to assist (or replace) humans in unpaid domestic tasks – and what the social consequences might be.

Why gender inequality is a concern beyond the workplace
06 Mar 2020

We hear a lot in the media about pay disparities between men and women, including protests from the likes of Hollywood actor Michelle Williams and BBC presenter Samira Ahmed. But one Oxford researcher and her team are taking the discussion out of the workplace and into the home.

Hear Melinda Mills discuss the intersection of genetics and fertility
24 Feb 2020

Professor Melinda Mills was the guest on the latest episode of the Insight podcast, discussing the intersection of demography and genetics.

New book provides students and researchers with the tools to take advantage of genetic data
24 Feb 2020

An Introduction to Statistical Genetic Data Analysis, published in February 2020, will allow students and researchers to incorporate this fast-growing field into their work.  

Uber linked to a reduction in serious road traffic injuries in the UK
18 Feb 2020

A study by University of Oxford researchers, published today in Social Science & Medicine, has found that ride-hailing provider, Uber, is associated with a 9% decline in serious road accident injuries in the UK. However, that relative improvement is counterbalanced by the fact that there was an increase in slight road accident injuries in London.

How new information is changing our understanding of social mobility
14 Feb 2020

“I’m tackling one of the oldest questions we have in Sociology”, says Postdoctoral Research Fellow Per Engzell. He’s investigating the age-old question of why it is that the children of rich people grow up to be rich, and the children of poor parents stay that way. “We’ve been asking it for centuries, and you might think we’d know all about it by now – but that’s not the case.”


Dr Engzell’s interest in the field was sparked during his time studying abroad. He noticed the different opportunities available to people growing up with different systems. While a Visiting Scholar at Stanford, he noticed his fellow students referring to themselves as ‘first-gen’, meaning the first in their family to go to university. “This surprised me, because we don’t have that in Sweden – having more social mobility, that would be nothing remarkable.”

Countless arguments have been put forward already regarding inequality. For Dr Engzell, however, it’s an exciting time to be investigating the issue. Access to new data provides an opportunity to disrupt the field, changing our understanding of social mobility throughout history. Population and census data, available for the first time, is providing unexpected insights.

Read the full story on the Leverhulme Centre website.

Labour leadership: new article by Stephen Fisher
29 Jan 2020

"Crunching decades of leadership election results suggests Labour should pick Keir Starmer," say Stephen Fisher (Oxford) and Andreas Murr (Warwick) in this new article in Prospect Magazine.

New book by Richard Breen: "Education and Intergenerational Social Mobility in Europe and the United States"
14 Jan 2020

Education and Intergenerational Social Mobility in Europe and the United States
Richard Breen and Walter Müller (editors)

Stanford University Press
February 2020

This volume examines the role of education in shaping rates and patterns of intergenerational social mobility among men and women during the twentieth century. Focusing on the relationship between a person's social class and the social class of his or her parents, each chapter looks at a different country—the United States, Sweden, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. They find a striking similarity in trends across all countries, and in particular a contrast between the fortunes of people born up to the mid-1950s, who enjoyed increasing rates of upward mobility and a decline in the strength of the link between class origins and destinations, and later generations who experienced more downward mobility and little change in how origins and destinations are linked. This volume uncovers the factors that drove these shifts, revealing education as significant in promoting social openness. It will be an invaluable source for anyone who wants to understand the evolution of mobility and inequality in the contemporary world.

More information:

"This book is a must-read for anyone interested in educational policy and social mobility. This team of leading international scholars uses innovative comparative analysis to corroborate the claim that the expansion and equalization of education enhances mobility between social classes."
—Yossi Shavit, Tel Aviv University

Richard Breen is Professor of Sociology and Fellow of Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

Walter Müller is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Mannheim University.

GenTime project to host symposium showcasing Japanese data newly available to Oxford researchers
06 Jan 2020

The Department of Sociology’s GenTime project will host statisticians from the Statistics Bureau Japan at a symposium on 9 January as they showcase high-quality, hard-to-access Japanese statistical data that can now be used by scholars at Oxford.

Access to the data has been a key component of the GenTime project’s research into gender inequality in time use; an ERC-funded project led by Professor Man-Yee Kan. Whereas previous research into gender inequality in time use has relied heavily on data from Western countries, the GenTime project is harmonising this with time-use data from East Asian countries (including Japan, China, South Korea, and Taiwan).

Their comparative analyses have uncovered key differences in gendered trends of time use around the globe. Examining data sets from 1985 to 2016, the team found that – across all analysed countries – women do more paid and unpaid domestic work (or ‘total’ work) than men, but that this gender gap is closing at different rates. While women in Western countries and Beijing undertake one extra hour of total work per day compared to men (a figure that has remained static since 1985), the gender gap in total work time in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan was much higher than one hour in the mid-1980s, but has been decreasing ever since.  

Professor Man-Yee Kan, who leads the GenTime project, said:

‘The Japanese time use data used in my project were collected from over 100 million individuals over three decades, which have shown robust and reliable trends in gender equality.

‘My project has benefited greatly from these high quality data. Researchers interested in studying Japan or including Japan in their comparative research will find the symposium very useful, as it will introduce Japanese data available to researchers outside Japan.’

Building on the success of their project, the GenTime team are also in close discussions with the National Statistics Center, Japan, about establishing a secure data facility at University of Oxford to allow UK-based researchers access to the anonymised statistical data, facilitating the inclusion of Japanese data in comparative research.

Register here for the Introduction to Data and Resources Available at Statistics Bureau Japan, 9 January 2020 symposium.

New book by Rolando Ochoa: "Intimate Crimes: Kidnapping, Gangs, and Trust in Mexico City"
12 Nov 2019

Author: Rolando Ochoa

Published: OUP, Nov 2019

Mexico has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world. Intimate Crimes outlines the history of kidnapping in Mexico City by constructing a narrative of this crime based on extensive qualitative research on gangs, policing and other crime-related policies. The book also analyses the effect of kidnapping - and crime more broadly - on how communities experience the city, as well as the strategies put in place by potential kidnapping victims to deal with the threat of being victimised by someone close to them, a common occurrence in Mexico City, including analysing the processes through which household employees are screened and selected in Mexican households.

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