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Public lecture - Evidence based policy: The value of longitudinal studies and administrative data linkage
Britain is unique in the world in having a portfolio of national birth cohort studies that follow individuals from birth through childhood and into adult life. These studies, the first of which was established in 1946, have already been instrumental in providing evidence relevant to a wide range of policy issues particularly in the areas of health, child development, education and employment.
This lecture will draw on research based on the excellent portfolio of cohort studies in Britain to explore the methodological advantages, as well as the challenges, of using longitudinal research evidence as the basis for policy. It will focus on the ways in which longitudinal research designs can help us to develop an understanding of causal processes when examining the links between early life circumstances and later outcomes. The lecture will use a number of examples from the fields of health, education, and family life to demonstrate the value of longitudinal research and how it has informed social policy in Britain. The lecture will conclude by suggesting the ways in which linked administrative data can potentially enhance the value of longitudinal studies and will discuss some of the recent initiatives to facilitate research on linked administrative data in Britain.
Professor Jane Elliott is the Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council in the United Kingdom.