Abigail Adams-Prassl is the co-founder of the Covid Inequality Project, which provides real-time survey information on the labor-market impacts of the pandemic to give decision-makers timely information on economic security and the effectiveness of policy initiatives. The project’s work is regularly featured in news outlets around the world and has been drawn upon by multiple U.K. government departments and Select Committees.
Beyond the pandemic, Adams-Prassl’s research has three main themes. First, she develops empirical methods to bring new models of decision-making to data. Much of behavioral economics is confined to lab experiments because it is difficult to measure and quantify irrationality. She asks what we can learn from real-world data about the drivers (rational or irrational) of choices and develop practical tools for applied researchers to use in their work. Another key research stream concerns family decision-making. Poor data and restrictive models often mean that economists end up making strong assumptions about how families behave, increasing the risk of unintended consequences when formulating policy. In 2020, she was awarded an ERC Starting Grant to develop this research agenda.
Second, she exploits large-scale datasets to better understand modern labor markets. She has a number of projects using job vacancy text to provide new insights on changing employment contracts and diversity in the workplace. A particular interest is in understanding why gender inequalities persist. Third, she develops frameworks for quantifying access to justice in the U.K. legal system. There have been a big reforms in the process by which individuals can enforce their rights. Alongside Jeremias Adams-Prassl, she analyzes the impact of these changes on claimants and provides theoretical frameworks for assessing the legality of reforms. Their work on employment tribunal fees led to the U.K. Supreme Court declaring them unlawful in 2017.
She is the associate editor of the Review of Economic Studies and a member of the Governing Council of the Royal Economic Society. She received her doctorate in economics, as well as her master’s and bachelor’s degrees, from the University of Oxford.