Lorraine Dearden

Professor Lorraine Dearden

Research Fellow


PhD Economics, University College London, 1995
MSc Economics, London School of Economics, 1991
LLB, Australian National University, 1986
Bachelor Economics (Hons.), Australian National University, 1983

ORCID: 0000-0002-9529-8860

Lorraine is a Research Fellow in the Education Sector at the IFS and is also Professor of Economics and Social Statistics in the Department of Social Science, University College London. Lorraine joined the IFS in 1992 as its first Ph.D. research scholar and became a full time member of the research staff in January 1995. She has studied at University College London, the London School of Economics and Australian National University.

Her research focuses on the impact of education and training on labour market outcomes and company performance; evaluation of education and labour market policies; impact of month of birth on childhood and adult outcomes; income support for students; the evaluation of childcare, home learning environment and early years policies on children's and parents' outcomes; ethnic inequality and discrimination; the determinants of the demand for different types of schooling; wage determination and the labour market; higher education funding issues; intergenerational income and education mobility; and programme evaluation issues and methods.

Lorraine is currently involved in the Administrative Data Research Centre – England which involves researchers from the IFS, UCL, LSHTM and Southampton University. She was Director of the ESRC's National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM), PEPA (Program Evaluation and Policy Analysis) NODE based at the IFS and is Deputy Director of the Centre for the Economics of Education (CEE) which involves researchers from the Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and the Institute of Education; and is. She is an elected fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (2009) and an IZA Fellow.


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External web page: Department of Social Science, University College London

Free school meals for all primary pupils: Projections from a pilot

| Observations

The Labour party has promised to introduce free school meals for all primary school children, claiming that universal free lunches would remove stigma and ‘benefit the educational attainment and health of all children’. Previous IFS research concludes that providing school meals free of cost to all primary students can boost attainment by the equivalent of two months’ progress over two years, a meaningful effect. However, the costs of this policy are substantial – around £950 million a year – and the benefits from extending it nationwide might be smaller than found in the pilot study. In the context of constrained public spending and alternative programmes such as breakfast clubs that deliver similar gains at much lower cost, policymakers should think carefully about whether this is the best use of resources.

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