People

Dr Gundi Knies

Research Fellow
Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)
Dr Gundi Knies
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872734

  • Location

    2N2.4.21, Colchester Campus

Profile

Biography

Please see my ISER staff page instead: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/people/gknies Cheers!

Qualifications

  • PhD in Economics University of Bristol, (2007)

  • MSc in Social Policy and Planning London School of Economics and Political Science, (2002)

  • BA equivalent in Sociology FU Berlin, (2001)

Appointments

University of Essex

  • Research Fellow, ISER, University of Essex (1/10/2013 - present)

  • Senior Research Officer, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex (15/7/2007 - 30/9/2013)

Other academic

  • Research Associate, SOEP, German Institute for Economic Research (2/12/2002 - 31/12/2003)

  • Research Assistant, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics and Political Science (3/6/2002 - 31/10/2002)

  • Research Assistant, SOEP, German Institute for Economic Research (4/12/2000 - 31/10/2001)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

subjective well-being, life satisfaction and happiness

neighbourhoods and community

Key words: Neighbourhood

poverty and income inequality

Key words: Poverty

social disadvantage and social inequalities

Key words: Social disadvantage

consent to linking administrative records to survey data

Key words: Record linkage

Children's wellbeing

Key words: Young people

Current research

Investigating people-place effects

Neighbourhood effects are commonly defined as impacts on individual-level outcomes that can be attributed to differences in the neighbourhood context, and which cannot be explained by past and present personal and family characteristics. Scholars have suggested more than a dozen mechanisms through which neighbourhood effects affect objective well-being outcomes (e.g., education, employment status, occupation, income, health, and crime), and, more recently, subjective well-being outcomes (such as life satisfaction) have come into focus. Albeit, there is considerable disagreement between disciplines on whether neighbourhood effects exist and how important they are, the definition and measurement of neighbourhoods has been fairly unsystematic, and different methodological approaches have yielded different results. The prevailing view seems to be, however, that in the absence of real-world experimental or quasi-experimental evidence (for ethical or practical cost reasons), large-scale longitudinal panel studies augmented with longitudinal geocoded microdata at very immediate scales afford the best opportunities to identify causal effects as they help overcome identification issues relating to self-selection bias, unobserved heterogeneity, and reverse causation, which prevent any conclusions about genuinely causal effects. The project will contribute to the state-of-the-art knowledge about the importance of place effects in several ways. It will provide new evidence for the UK on the presence of place effects and the relative contribution of these effects to individual well-being, compared to individual’s characteristics and their family background. The research will use longitudinal microdata from Understanding Society: the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) and its predecessor the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), which is now incorporated in the UKHLS. Microdata from the UKHLS will be linked to external administrative data for very small geographies and multiple points in time, and at various scales of the neighbourhood. The project will implement sophisticated panel data regression models and causal inference techniques to better address the key identification issues which have hindered previous studies.
More information about this project

European Cohort Development Project (ECDP)

The European Cohort Development Project (ECDP) follows on from the Measuring Youth Well-Being (MYWeB) project, which determined the feasibility and desirability of a pan-European longitudinal survey measuring child and youth well-being, with the aim to identify the necessary conditions for the implementation of such a survey. The project aims to create a specification and business case for a European Research Infrastructure that will provide, over the next 25 years, comparative longitudinal survey data on child and young adult well-being. The infrastructure developed by ECDP will subsequently coordinate the first Europe-wide cohort survey, named EuroCohort. There is at present no data source available to scientists to comparatively analyse the well-being of children as they grow up and therefore to develop policies to improve their well-being. As the respondents to EuroCohort grow up, an increasing body of data will develop, becoming ever richer and informative, able to show the ways in which national policies have made impacts and showing where policy interventions can make significant improvements.
More information about this project

Longitudinal research on whether income affects children's subjective wellbeing

The happiness and well-being research has mainly focussed on adults but child perspectives are increasingly being considered. This project uses data collected from children aged 10-15 in Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS), to examine whether children’s well-being is affected by the socio-economic situation in their family. To do so, children’s accounts are linked with information collected from other members of their family - most notably family income and, through repeat observation, family income dynamics. The longitudinal analysis controls inasmuch as possible for other factors that have been suggested to affect child well-being and changes therein.
More information about this project

Research into whether neighbourhood contexts affect children's subjective wellbeing

Interest in the links between neighbourhood quality and structural outcomes has burgeoned in the last two decades. Studies of so-called neighbourhood effects have mainly focused on adults and objective well-being outcomes and few consider children as they transition into adulthood or subjective well-being outcomes. We address this gap with an analysis of neighbourhood quality and child well-being for children age 10–15 years living in England. Drawing on data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) linked with geo-coded information about the children’s immediate neighbourhood contexts we test empirically whether children’s life satisfaction depends on their relative income position in the neighbourhood. From the perspective of neighbourhood effects research this is an empirical test of relative deprivation theory, which posits that people are unhappier the better off their neighbours are. From the perspective of happiness research, the research is a test of whether or not the so-called ‘relative income’ hypothesis also holds when the reference group concerned is one’s neighbours and if the individuals under focus are children. We control extensively for other characteristics of individuals, their families and their neighbours and formulate more sophisticated hypotheses about possible routes for the comparison effect to operate. In addition, the longitudinal structure of both our neighbourhood context dataset and the UKHLS allows us to control for unobserved heterogeneity at the neighbourhood and at the individual level. The empirical results suggest that richer neighbours are a negative externality to children’s life satisfaction.

Understanding Society Waves 6-8

I am member of the design and implementation team of Understanding Society. I am editor of the study user guide and quality profile and am involved with training researchers in using the BHPS and Understanding Society data. I am managing added value content such as derived variables and a number of linked data sets. I am in the Scientific Leadership Group as Topic Champion for Neighbourhoods and added value content.
More information about this project

Understanding Society Waves 9-11

I am member of the design and implementation team of Understanding Society. I am editor of the study user guide and quality profile and am involved with training researchers in using the BHPS and Understanding Society data. I am managing added value content such as derived variables and a number of linked data sets. I am in the Scientific Leadership Group as Topic Champion for Neighbourhoods and added value content.
More information about this project

Understanding Society and UKLS


More information about this project

Migrant Diversity and Regional Disparity in Europe (EU Commission - NORFACE)

Together with Alita Nandi (ISER University of Essex) and Lucinda Platt (LSE) I analyse satisfaction gaps for immigrants and ethnic minorities in England. We use data from the first Wave of Understanding Society and linked this to a range of neighbourhood indicators.

Conferences and presentations

Neighbourhood effects on wellbeing

Invited presentation, QSS Seminar, London, United Kingdom, 1/5/2019

Neighbourhood effects on wellbeing

Invited presentation, CODE seminar series, Manchester, United Kingdom, 25/4/2019

Ohne Knete keine Fete: Längsschnittanalysen zum Zusammenhang von Familieneinkommen und Zufriedenheit von Kindern

Invited presentation, Berufungsvorträge Leitung “Dauerbeobachtung der Gesellschaft“ und Professur „Soziologie“ (W3), Mannheim, Germany, 2/3/2018

Income effects on children's life satisfaction

6th Conference of the International Society for Child Indicators, Montreal, Canada, 29/6/2017

Neighbourhood effects on children's life satisfaction

6th Conference of the International Society for Child Indicators, Montreal, Canada, 29/6/2017

Ohne Knete keine Fete: Längsschnittanalysen zum Zusammenhang von Familieneinkommen und Zufriedenheit von Kindern

Invited presentation, Berufungsvortraege W2/W3 Professur Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung, Bielefeld, Germany, 12/12/2016

The role of interviewers gaining consent to data linkage

Invited presentation, Longitudinal methodology series VI, London, United Kingdom, 28/1/2016

Einfuehrung in Understanding Society fuer SOEP User

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, SOEP@campus, Berlin, Germany, 4/3/2015

Interviewer effects on consent to data linkage: Evidence from the UK longitudinal studies

Invited presentation, SLLS International conference, 2015

Consent to Data Linkage: A Focus on the Interviewer Respondent Interaction

XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, 17/7/2014

Life satisfaction, ethnicity and neighbourhoods: Is there an effect of neighbourhood ethnic composition on life satisfaction?

XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, 15/7/2014

Exploiting Understanding Society and BHPS for Neighbourhood Effects Research

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, Neighbourhood Effects Workshop, Essen, Germany, 6/6/2014

Life satisfaction, ethnicity and neighbourhoods: Is there an effect of neighbourhood ethnic composition on life satisfaction?

Invited presentation, Human Geography Seminar Series, Bristol, United Kingdom, 30/5/2013

Teaching and supervision

Publications

Journal articles (16)

Plum, A. and Knies, G., (2019). Local unemployment changes the springboard effect of low pay: Evidence from England. PLoS One. 14 (11), e0224290-e0224290

Sandercock, GRH., Lobelo, F., Correa-Bautista, JE., Tovar, G., Cohen, DD., Knies, G. and Ramírez-Vélez, R., (2017). The Relationship between Socioeconomic Status, Family Income, and Measures of Muscular and Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Colombian Schoolchildren. The Journal of Pediatrics. 185, 81-87.e2

Knies, G., (2017). Exploring the Value of Understanding Society for Neighbourhood Effects Analyses. Research Data Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences. 2 (1), 1-22

Knies, G., Nandi, A. and Platt, L., (2016). Life satisfaction, ethnicity and neighbourhoods: Is there an effect of neighbourhood ethnic composition on life satisfaction?. Social Science Research. 60, 110-124

Clark, B., Chatterjee, K., Melia, S., Knies, G. and Laurie, H., (2014). Life Events and Travel Behavior. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2413 (1), 54-64

Sala, E., Knies, G. and Burton, J., (2014). Propensity to consent to data linkage: experimental evidence on the role of three survey design features in a UK longitudinal panel. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. 17 (5), 455-473

Knies, G. and Burton, J., (2014). Analysis of four studies in a comparative framework reveals: health linkage consent rates on British cohort studies higher than on UK household panel surveys. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 14 (1), 125-

Knies, G., (2013). Neighbourhood social ties: how much do residential, physical and virtual mobility matter?. The British Journal of Sociology. 64 (3), 425-452

Sala, E., Terraneo, M., Lucchini, M. and Knies, G., (2013). Exploring the impact of male and female facial attractiveness on occupational prestige. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. 31 (1), 69-81

Knies, G., Burton, J. and Sala, E., (2012). Consenting to health record linkage: evidence from a multi-purpose longitudinal survey of a general population. BMC Health Services Research. 12 (1), 52-

Sala, E., Burton, J. and Knies, G., (2012). Correlates of Obtaining Informed Consent to Data Linkage. Sociological Methods & Research. 41 (3), 414-439

Knies, G., (2012). Income Comparisons Among Neighbours and Satisfaction in East and West Germany. Social Indicators Research. 106 (3), 471-489

Sala, E., Burton, J. and Knies, G., (2012). Correlates of Obtaining Informed Consent to Data Linkage. Sociological Methods & Research. 41 (3), 414-439

Knies, G., Burton, J. and Sala, E., (2012). Consenting to health record linkage: evidence from a multi-purpose longitudinal survey of a general population. BMC Health Services Research. 12 (1), creators-Burton=3AJonathan=3A=3A

Knies, G., Burgess, S. and Propper, C., (2008). Keeping up with the Schmidt's – An Empirical Test of Relative Deprivation Theory in the Neighbourhood Context. Schmollers Jahrbuch. 128 (1), 75-108

Knies, G., Burgess, SM. and Propper, C., (2008). Keeping Up with the Schmidts - An Empirical Test of Relative Deprivation Theory in the Neighbourhood Context. SSRN Electronic Journal

Book chapters (2)

Knies, G. and Plum, A., (2017). Does it pay off to work on a low wage?. In: Insights 2017: Findings from the UK Household Longitudinal Study. Editors: Benzeval, M., Hamilton, C., Kanabar, R., Parsons, R. and Patel, R.,

Knies, G., (2011). Life satisfaction and material well-being of young people in the UK. In: Understanding Society: early findings from the first wave of the UK's household longitudinal study. Editors: McFall, SL. and Garrington, C., . ISER. 15- 22. 9781858711584

Reports and Papers (7)

Knies, G., (2017). Income effects on children’s life satisfaction: longitudinal evidence for England

Plum, A. and Knies, G., (2015). Does neighbourhood unemployment affect the springboard effect of low pay?

Knies, G., Nandi, A. and Platt, L., (2014). Life satisfaction, ethnicity and neighbourhoods: is there an effect of neighbourhood ethnic composition on life satisfaction?

Al Baghal, T., Knies, G. and Burton, J., (2014). Linking administrative records to surveys: differences in the correlates to consent decisions

Knies, G., Nandi, A. and Platt, L., (2014). Life satisfaction, ethnicity and neighbourhoods: is there an effect of neighbourhood ethnic composition on life satisfaction?

Lynn, P., Burton, J., Kaminska, O., Knies, G. and Nandi, A., (2012). An initial look at non-response and attrition in Understanding Society

Burton, J., Laurie, H., Uhrig, SCN., Bryan, ML., Desousa, C., Fumagalli, L., Jackle, A., Knies, G., Lynn, P., Nandi, A., Platt, L., Pudney, S., Rabe, B., Sacker, A., Sala, E., Taylor, MP., Wolke, D., Bottazzi, R., Crossley, T. and O'Dea, C., (2008). Understanding Society. Some preliminary results from the Wave 1 Innovation Panel

Scholarly Editions (9)

Knies, G., (2016). Understanding Society Wave 1-6: User Guide

Lynn, P. and Knies, G., (2015). The Understanding Society Quality Profile

Knies, G., (2015). Understanding Society Wave 1-5: User Guide

Knies, G., (2014). Understanding Society Wave 1-4: User Guide

Knies, G., (2013). Understanding Society Wave 1-3: User Guide

Knies, G., (2012). Life satisfaction and material well-being of children in the UK

Knies, G., (2010). Income Comparisons Among Neighbours and Life Satisfaction in East and West Germany

Knies, G., (2009). The Effects of Mobility on Neighbourhood Social Ties

Knies, G. and Spiess, CK., (2007). Regional Data in the German Socio-economic Panel Study (SOEP)

Dataset (2)

Knies, G. and Burton, J., (2015).Understanding Society: Interviewer Survey, 2014

Knies, G., (2014).Understanding Society: Waves 1-3, 2009-2012: Special Licence Access, Geographical Accessibility

Other (3)

Fumagalli, L., Knies, G. and Buck, N., (2017).Understanding Society, The UK Household Longitudinal Study, Harmonised British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) User Guide,ISER University of Essex

Knies, G., (2017).Understanding Society Wave 1-7: User Guide,ISER University of Essex

Knies, G. and Menon, S., (2014).Understanding Society: Waves 1-3, 2009-2012: Special Licence Access, Geographical Accessibility, User Guide,ISER University of Essex

Grants and funding

2019

Evaluation_Local Delivery Pilot for Sport England

Sport England

2017

European Cohort Development Project

European Commission

Investigating People-Place Effects in the UK using Linked Longitudinal Survey and Administrative Data

Nuffield Foundation

2016

Understanding Society: The UK Household Longitudinal Study: Waves 9-11

Economic & Social Research Council

2013

Understanding non-reponse on Understanding Society

Economic & Social Research Council

2012

Life Transitions and Travel Behaviour

Economic & Social Research Council

Contact

gknies@essex.ac.uk
+44 (0) 1206 872734

Location:

2N2.4.21, Colchester Campus

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