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 John Poole

John Poole

Research student,


John came to Cardiff University in September 2018 after previously studying at Swansea University at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He has written a blog post on his research, which is available here:


Research interests

Main research interests

  • Subjective wellbeing

  • The economics of disability

  • Labour economics



BS2547 British Economy


Exploring the impact of disability onset on individual wellbeing in the UK

This project is a collaborative studentship between the Economic and Social Research Council and the charity Disability Rights UK. It will examine how disability onset affects the subjective wellbeing of working-aged individuals in the UK and how this changes over time. DRUK promote career opportunities and independent living for disabled people as well as influencing public attitudes and behaviour towards disability.

There will be an additional focus on how disability onset affects the wellbeing of the spouses and children of the disabled individual, which is much less explored in the current literature.

The project uses nine waves of panel data from a survey called Understanding Society, which interviewed the same sets of individuals and their families over the period of 2011 to 2019. It is a rich source of data which contains information on a person's wellbeing, income, employment status, marital status, financial status, use of leisure time, consumption as well as details of any disability onset they may experience over the course of the study.

By analysing the data, I can observe how disability affects an individual's wellbeing, not only at the point of onset but over the course of time. I will look to see whether deeper drops and longer recovery times are associated with some groups more than others, i.e. by gender, age of onset, pre-onset income, severity and chronicity of disability, etc. as well as the interaction effects between these factors.

I also intend to look at which channels disability affects wellbeing the most, such as health, income and amount of leisure time. Finally, I wish to explore how best to equivalise wellbeing scores into more tangible monetary values.

My thesis will provide DRUK with up-to-date nationally representative data on how disability onset in working-aged people affects wellbeing for different groups of people and their families so that they can inform public policy with regards to where to most effectively allocate funding and support services.

Funding source

Economic and Social Research Council


Melanie Jones

Professor Melanie Jones

Professor of Economics

Ezgi Kaya

Dr Ezgi Kaya

Senior Lecturer in Economics

Victoria Wass

Professor Victoria Wass

Emerita Professor