CRITEVENTS: Critical Life Events and the Dynamics of Inequality: Risk, Vulnerability, and Cumulative Disadvantage

About the project
This project studies the impact of two critical life events – job loss and union dissolution – on the life trajectories of adults and their children. The consortium distinguishes between two pathways through which these events may produce an accumulation of inequality over the life course: risk and vulnerability. Risk refers to social gradients in the likelihood of experiencing these events, whereas vulnerability refers to social gradients in the impact of these events on economic and noneconomic outcomes.

The project’s main objectives are to understand (1) how job loss and union dissolution contribute to the accumulation of (dis)advantage over the life course; (2) what mechanisms explain the (unequal) impact of these events; and (3) which work and family policies are effective in targeting these mechanisms in order to reduce inequality. Consistent with the aims of the DIAL research programme, the research sheds light on the causal links between critical life events and the dynamics of inequality. It also aims to inform policies that promote the life chances and well-being of disadvantaged groups in society.

Research groups

Work is conducted within five research groups, all of which will apply comparable designs to the analysis of survey data and register data in five countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The project team has created academic impact by ongoing dissemination through several high-profile journal articles, conference presentations, and outreach activities to national and European policymakers and other stakeholders.

Research team

Dr T. Leopold
University of Amsterdam

Dr C. Monden
University of Oxford

Dr J. Härkönen
Stockholm University/European University Institute

Prof. D. Oesch
University of Lausanne