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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Welfare Markets and Personal Risk Management in England and Scotland

How and why do some households with above average income plan for contingencies and engage in private risk management strategies, while others do not?

Employing quantitative as well as qualitative methods, the project covers both public and private forms of risk protection, and analyses attitudes towards risks and contingency cover as well as actual risk management behaviour.

Comparing England and Scotland, we aim to review Britain's current 'mixed economy of welfare' in key areas: unemployment, sickness, costs of higher education for children, retirement and infirmity in old age.

We will map the types of statutory protection against such risks and contingencies and examine changes in the scope of public provision. In parallel, we will examine the scope of non-statutory (occupational and personal) provision, investigating how 'private welfare markets' have developed since the early 1990s.

The second phase is based on quantitative data analysis of household savings and investment behaviour in insurances and private market-based contracts for risk protection. Finally, via qualitative interviews, we explore personal risk management of socially and economically similar families from Scotland and England. This stage will also explore the potential ramifications of the most recent financial uncertainties and economic downturn.