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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a Reader in Public Policy at the Institute for Policy Research, where I lead the programme of research on widening participation in higher education. Current projects examine the earnings returns to undergraduate and post-graduate degrees, the role of further education in progression to higher education and the impact of early health on later educational and labour market outcomes. I also continue to research the returns to education more broadly having published a number of papers examining the causal effects of education on earnings, employment, health, and the education of the next generation.

I have been at the University of Bath since 2012, first as a Prize (Research) Fellow and then a lecturer before moving into my current role at the IPR in 2017. Prior to joining Bath I held positions at University College Dublin and the University of Bristol. I attained my PhD in Economics from the University of Warwick in 2009. 

My research primarily uses microeconometric techniques applied to large-scale survey and administrative datasets to address research questions related to the economics of education - particularly higher education. Currently my main research projects use the Dept. for Education's Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset - which links National Pupil Database, Higher Education Statistics Agency and HMRC data. In other recent or ongoing projects I have used the New Earnings Survey Panel Dataset, the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, UKHLS, BHPS, the ALSPAC cohort data and the UK BioBank. 

I am a Research Fellow at the IZA (Institute of Labor Economics). My full CV can be downloaded here: http://legacy.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/vitae/4324_cv.pdf

Other responsibilities

I am currently on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Social Policy and the Journal of Education and Work

Willing to supervise doctoral students

I am interested in supervising PhD students from economics/advanced quantitative methods backgrounds who are investigating topics in the economics of education, in particular:

  • Widening participation in higher education
  • Returns to education
  • Social mobility


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Research Output

  • 16 Article
  • 2 Commissioned report
  • 1 Discussion paper

Social Mobility and Higher Education: Are grammar schools the answer?

Dickson, M. & Macmillan, L., 23 Jan 2020, Higher Education Policy Institute Occasional Paper Series.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Open Access
27 Downloads (Pure)

The Causal Effects of Health Conditions and Risk Factors on Social and Socioeconomic Outcomes: Mendelian Randomization in UK Biobank

Harrison, S., Davies, A. R., Dickson, M., Tyrrell, J., Green, M. J., Katikireddi, S. V., Campbell, D., Munafó, M., Dixon, P., Jones, H. E., Rice, F., Davies, N. M. & Howe, L. D., 6 May 2020, (Acceptance date) In : International Journal of Epidemiology.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Do selective schooling systems increase inequality?

Burgess, S., Dickson, M. & Macmillan, L., 25 Feb 2019, In : Oxford Economic Papers. 72, 1, p. 1-24 24 p., gpz028.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

The impact of undergraduate degrees on early-career earnings

Belfield, C., Britton, J., Buscha, F., Dearden, L., Dickson, M., Van der Erve, L., Sibieta, L., Vignoles, A., Walker, I. & Zhu, Y., 30 Nov 2019, Department for Education. 82 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

14 Downloads (Pure)

A Note on the Wage Effects of the 1972 Raising of the School Leaving Age in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Dickson, M. & Buscha, F., 30 Nov 2018, In : Scottish Journal of Political Economy. 65, 5, p. 572-582 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)