Published: October 17, 2021


Reducing intergenerational welfare dependency, incentivising improved debt repayment practices, and building back a better and fairer society from COVID-19 are all key issues addressed in the Life Course Centre’s latest Working Paper Awards.

The awards, announced to coincide with Anti-Poverty Week 2021, highlight the best scholarship, impact and student contributions in the Life Course Centre Working Paper Series. All 32 Working Papers published in 2020 were eligible for the awards, which were determined by a panel of 11 judges in a thorough, two-stage assessment process. Three award-winning papers were determined in the following categories:

Best contribution to scholarship on social and economic disadvantage over the life course

‘The Intergenerational Effects of Requiring Unemployment Benefit Recipients to Engage in Non-Search Activities’, Life Course Centre Working Paper: 2020-18.

Authors: Deborah A. Cobb-Clark (University of Sydney), Sarah C. Dahmann (University of Melbourne), Anne C. Gielen (Erasmus University Rotterdam). Note: as a Life Course Centre Chief Investigator Professor Cobb-Clark has foregone any benefit from this prize.

Best contribution to policy, practice or engagement to reduce social and economic disadvantage over the life course

‘Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste: Opportunities to Reduce Social Disadvantage from COVID-19’, Life Course Centre Working Paper: 2020-30.

Authors: Janeen Baxter, Lorraine Mazerolle, Cameron Parsell, Karen Thorpe (The University of Queensland), Deborah Cobb-Clark, Alexander Cornish, Tiffany Ho, Lihini De Silva (University of Sydney), Guyonne Kalb (University of Melbourne), Stephen R. Zubrick (The University of Western Australia), Hal Pawson (University of New South Wales). Note: as Life Course Centre Chief Investigators Professors Baxter, Mazerolle, Parsell, Thorpe, Cobb-Clark, Kalb and Zubrick have foregone any benefit from this prize.

Best student contribution to scholarship on, and policy, practice or engagement, to reduce, social and economic disadvantage over the life course

‘Prize Linked Debt: Increasing Credit Card Repayments in an Online Experiment’, Life Course Centre Working Paper: 2020-09.

Authors: Patrick Hendy, Robert Slonim, Kadir Atalay (University of Sydney). Note: Patrick Hendy was eligible for this prize as the student first author on this paper. He was awarded First Class Honours in Economics from the University of Sydney and his thesis was supported by a Life Course Centre Scholarship for Research Addressing Social and Economic Disadvantage.

Co-editors of the Life Course Centre Working Papers Series Dr Sarah Johnson and Dr Jack Lam said the three winning papers targeted key issues of disadvantage that were central to the Life Course Centre’s research focus. They congratulated the winners and thanked all authors who submit to the Working Paper Series and the award judges.

This is the second year that the Life Course Centre has presented its Working Paper Series Awards, following the inaugural awards last year. The pre-publication Life Course Centre Working Paper Series is a high-impact outlet for the latest research on social and economic disadvantage. It enables sharing of research in a timely and accessible way, which does not prohibit subsequent publication in most peer-reviewed journals, and helps to build the knowledge base on disadvantage, and the development of solutions to address it.

The Life Course Centre Working Paper Series provides an open-access resource of 200 published papers dating back to the Centre’s establishment in 2014. It has demonstrated high-profile impact in informing policy discussion and development in Australia, with papers consistently referenced in government and non-government reports and inquiries in Australia and internationally.

The judges of the 2020 Life Course Centre Working Paper Series Awards were:

Marilyn Chilvers – NSW Government Department of Customer Service, Life Course Centre Advisory Committee Member
Dr Brendan Churchill – The University of Melbourne, Life Course Centre Affiliate
Dr Nathan Deutscher – Australian National University, (2019 Working Paper Award Winner), Life Course Centre Affiliate
Associate Professor Ben Edwards – Australian National University, Life Course Centre Affiliate
Professor Colm Harmon – The University of Edinburgh, Former Life Course Centre Chief Investigator
Dr Nicole Kapelle – University of Oxford (2019 Working Paper Award Winner), Former Life Course Centre Student
Associate Professor Philipp Lersch – Humboldt University Berlin, Life Course Centre Affiliate
Matt MacDermott – Media and Communications Officer, Life Course Centre
Dr Alfredo Paloyo – University of Wollongong, Life Course Centre Research Affiliate
Professor Tim Reddel – Professor (Social Solutions), Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland
Dr Mark Robinson – Senior Evaluation Manager, Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (the Life Course Centre) is a national research centre investigating the factors underlying deep and persistent disadvantage. It is administered by the Institute for Social science Research at The University of Queensland and is a collaboration with The University of Sydney, The University of Melbourne and The University of Western Australia as well as international partners and experts and a network of government, non-government and community organisations. Find out more about submitting to the Life Course Centre Working Paper Series here.