Inequality leads to socially undesirable outcomes when it comes to inequality of opportunity. SEO has a line of research that focuses on inequality of opportunity, where policymakers are given tools for promising policy options.

The researchers in this field combine in-depth knowledge of the subject with the ability to use large data files to not only map patterns but to establish causal links between the cause and the effect of inequality. They regularly publish in international scientific journals in the field of education, the labour market and provide lectures, courses and training. They also develop policy advise to a large number of policy makers, mainly in the Netherlands but also for international organisations such as the OECD.

Below you will find more information about a number of recent projects.

Recent projects

How much difference does the region where someone grows up make?

The region in which a child grows up influences her later income. Children of parents with an income at the 25th percentile of the national income distribution are on average expected to have an income at the 40th to 53rd percentile of the income distribution at the age of 28, depending on the region where they live. This upward mobility is positive, but there are major

regional differences. Every year in a new region with a higher expected income, a child makes up 2.7 percent of the difference in income with the old region.

Using detailed data about all Dutch people and their children, SEO has models that map intergenerational mobility. This helps the central government to design policies to offer children opportunities regardless of the neighbourhood in which they grow up and offers municipalities and regions insight into how they relate to others and where best practices can be found in our country.

What is the chance of outgrowing a low income?

There is a feeling that Dutch society is polarizing and segmenting into groups with and without sound economic and social prospects. However, it is difficult to determine whether this feeling is becoming reality. One way to determine it is to analyse income mobility and especially the lack of it for groups of adult Dutch people over a longer period. We do this by looking at the chance of a low income if the current income is also low and the previous period (the previous year) was also low. The extent to which this persistence of a low income occurs is defined in the scientific literature as state dependence.

With the help of detailed data on all Dutch people from 2003 onwards, SEO has models that can show the persistence of low income levels. This helps the central government to design policies to break this and offers municipalities and regions insight into how they relate to others and where best practices can be found.

Why is the transition from education to labour market not going smoothly for everyone?

Various SEO studies based on detailed information about students and their first steps into the labour market highlight the transition from vocational and higher education to the labour market. This is possible for all graduates and for long periods of data. The analyses, for example, address differences in labour market position between young people with and without a migrant background, with a distinction between boys and girls. Differences in labour market participation are the most important outcome measures, in addition to differences in income and duration for finding a substantial job after graduation. With the help of decompositions, the difference in success between different groups is mapped, whereby socio-economic backgrounds, choices and factors during the training are discussed. In addition to the short-term success, the position ten years after graduation is mapped and the role of the state of the economy and the consequences of, for example, technological change are analysed.

These analyses are of great social importance to show the value of education and the problems that young people encounter when finding work. SEO has models and data to make detailed analyses for groups and individual programs, but also macro-economically.