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Sarah Cattan

Sarah Cattan

Associate Director


PhD Economics, University of Chicago, 2012

MA Economics, University of Chicago, 2007

BA Economics and Political Science (Magna Cum Laude), Columbia University, 2005

Sarah is an Associate Director in the Education and Skills sector. She joined the IFS in 2012 and currently holds a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship to study child development and household behaviour in developed and developing countries. Sarah’s research interests include the origins of inequality and the role of human capital played in driving inequalities within and across generations. In the recent past, she has conducted projects looking at the determinants of early childhood development, the impact of early childhood and education policies, and the gender wage gap.

Academic outputs

Journal article | CESifo DICE Report
Expanding access to pre-school education and childcare services has been a key policy on the agenda of many governments for over 30 years. Several motivations have been at the heart of these policies.
Journal article | IZA World of Labor
Since the 1970s, many countries have established free or highly subsidized education for all preschool children in the hope of improving children’s learning and socio-economic life chances and encouraging mothers to join the labor force. Evaluations reveal that these policies can increase ...

Reports and comment

This report presents a detailed overview of the baseline data collection activities as part of the project "Improving early childhood development in rural Ghana through scalable low-cost community-run play schemes''. The project is collaboration between The Institute for Fiscal Studies (UK), Lively ...
Briefing note
High quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) are critical to children’s development and their success in adult life. Ghana has shown substantial commitment to improving ECCE, with one of the highest pre-school enrolment rates in Sub Saharan Africa. However despite this, significant ...


This presentation was given by Sarah Cattan, Institute for Fiscal Studies, at the event "Childcare policy, maternal employment, and the UK policy debate: examining the evidence" on 2 December 2016.
This presentation was given at the Department for Education on 12 November 2014.