Research

My current research focuses on three broad themes: (1) career effects of specific and broad education, (2) inequality in education, and (3) inequality in science.
Career effects of education
From 2021 onwards I will work on CAREER, a project funded with an Starting Grant from the European Research Council. Together with a team consisting of two PhD-students (Luisa Buchartz and Viktor Decker) and a postoctoral researcher (Marie Labussiere), we aim to investigate how careers of school-leavers with occupation-specific and general educational qualifications differ. Technological changes and the automation of occupational tasks present societies with a challenge: Is it still sensible to provide students with occupation-specific (vocational) education? Or are students with general educational qualifications better equipped for the future, given that what is demanded in the labor market is under rapid change? In CAREER, we will investigate how labor market demands change, and how these changes in the macro context affect individual workers. It takes an innovative career perspective to study how and why labor market returns to vocational and general education vary over the life cycle. Its core hypothesis is that vocational graduates have a late-career disadvantage because their occupation-specific skills hinder labor market mobility, particularly when labor market demands alter quickly.
Inequality in education
I work on several projects that deal with inequality of educational opportunity. In 2020 I gathered survey data on how parents dealed with the first Covid-19 related school closures in the Netherlands. More specifically, I studied potential mechanisms by which school closures will increase existing inequalities in educational opportunity between children from different backgrounds. A second project is in collaboration with Groningen University (René Veenstra, Maaike Engels, Sofie Lorijn, and Eline van de Brink). The Amsterdam team consists of Dieuwke Zwier, Herman van de Werfhorst, Sara Geven, and myself. We investigate the role of peer networks in the transition from primary to secondary education, including a novel data collection. Our key interest is to understand how peers might increase or dampen the inequality in educational opportunities. 
Inequality in science
Together with Mathijs de Vaan and Arnout van de Rijt, I analyze cumulative advantage in obtaining science funding in the Netherlands. I have created a harmonized dataset containing all data from the applications to the IRIS scheme of the Netherlands’ Scientific Organization’s (NWO)  for 2000-2015. In a first paper that was published in PNAS we have investigate to what extent there is a Matthew effect in science funding. A second paper that is currently under review focuses on gender inequality in science funding.