Keynote speakers


Karl Ulrich Mayer: The Contribution of Life Course Research to the Study of Inequality – More Questions than Answers?

Jo Blanden: New Dimensions of Intergenerational Economic Mobility

Florencia Torche: The Effects of Early-life Exposures on Health, Cognitive, and Educational Outcomes over the Life Course


Karl Ulrich Mayer completed his Doctoral degree at the University of Constance (1973). He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2013 by the University of Rostock. Mayer’s main areas of research are social stratification and mobility, sociology of the life-course, comparative analysis of social structures and structures and processes of the labor market.

To name a few of Mayer’s many positions, Karl Ulrich Mayer is Founding Editor of the European Sociological Review. In 2003 he was appointed Professor of Sociology at Yale University, USA, where he became the Founding Director of the Center for Research on Social Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE) and chaired the Department of Sociology from 2005 to 2010 and now is Stanley B. Resor Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Yale University, USA.

Jo Blanden is Reader in Economics and Research Director of the School of Economics, University of Surrey. Over the years 2000-2005 she was full-time researcher in the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics and completed her PhD at UCL over this time. She joined the Department of Economics at Surrey in October 2005 and is a Visiting Fellow at the LSE.

Blanden’s research interests lie broadly in the fields of labour and family economics. Her PhD was on the topic of intergenerational income mobility. Blanden is currently studying the impact of nursery attendance on children’s outcomes.

Florencia Torche holds PhD in Sociology from Columbia University. She’s Professor of Sociology at Standford University. Torche’s scholarship encompasses two related areas. A longer-term area of research studies inequality dynamics with a particular focus on educational attainment, assortative mating and the intergenerational transmission of wealth. A more recent area of research examines the influence of early-life exposures on individual development, attainment, and socioeconomic wellbeing.

Torche’s research combines diverse methodological approaches including quantitative analysis, causal inference, experiments and natural experiments, and in-depth interviews. Much of her research uses an international comparative perspective.