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Dr Kate Andersen

BA, MRes (York), PhD (York)

  • Research Associate

Visit Dr Kate Andersen's profile on the York Research Database to see a full list of publications and browse her research related activities.


Areas of expertise

  • Welfare reform
  • Welfare conditionality and sanctions
  • Gender and citizenship
  • Qualitative longitudinal research

Academic biography

My research explores the intended and unintended consequences of new social security policies. I am especially interested in investigating how government justifications for welfare reforms compare with the everyday realities of affected claimants. My research particularly focuses on how welfare reforms impact people who are already marginalised in society. I find qualitative longitudinal approaches particularly useful for analysing changes to the social security system, and for observing how people experience, manage, and are impacted by, change.  

In 2015 I joined the school as a master's student and went on to complete a PhD which investigated the implications of the conditionality within Universal Credit for women's citizenship. This explored how the new conditionality regime affects mothers' unpaid caring roles, their position in the paid labour market and their agency. My interest in social security policies stems from experiences prior to joining the department of teaching children and adults living in poverty in the UK, the US, Kenya and Malawi.  

I am currently a research associate on the Welfare Reform and Larger families project which aims to understand how recent benefit changes, particularly the two-child limit and the benefit cap, affect families with more than two children.


Current research interests and projects

The Welfare Reform and Larger Families project aims to investigate the impacts of the two-child limit and the benefit cap on families with three or more children. Larger families were already at greater risk of poverty before the benefit cap and two-child limit were introduced and there are concerns that these welfare reforms will increase the number of families affected by poverty and the depth of poverty families face. Consequently, this project aims to investigate: i) how the reforms are affecting patterns of poverty; ii) how families themselves are responding to the changes, and iii) whether they are affecting wider wellbeing. These aims will be explored through both qualitative and quantitative methods.

The project involves a team of researchers from the University of York, the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics working in partnership with the Child Poverty Action Group. It is funded by the Nuffield Foundation.  

Research team members

Dr Ruth Patrick

External team members

Dr Kitty Stewart - London School of Economics

Ms Mary Reader - London School of Economics

Dr Aaron Reeves - University of Oxford

Substantial research project public output

Welfare Reform and Larger Families


Recent publications

Andersen, K., 2023. Welfare that works for women? Mothers' experiences of the conditionality within Universal Credit. Bristol: Policy Press.

Andersen, K., 2023. Promoting fairness? Exploring the gendered impacts of the benefit cap and the two-child limit. Journal of Poverty and Social Justice.

Reeves, R., Andersen, K., Reader, M. and Warnock, R.,2023. Social security, exponential inequalities and Covid-19: How welfare reform in the UK left larger families exposed to the scarring effects of the pandemic. In S. Atrey and S. Fredman [Eds]: Exponential inequalities: Equality law in times of crisis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Patrick, R. and Andersen, K., 2022. The two‐child limit and fertility decision making: When policy narratives and lived experiences collide. Social Policy & Administration.

Reader, R. and Andersen, K. 2022. Size matters: Experiences of larger families on a low income during COVID-19. In K. Garthwaite, R. Patrick, M. Power, A. Tarrant and R. Warnock [Eds]: COVID-19 Collaborations. Bristol: Policy Press.

Andersen, K., 2021. Does the cap fit? Researching the benefit cap's affect on paid work. Child Poverty Action Group.

Andersen, K., 2020. Universal Credit, gender and unpaid childcare: Mothers’ accounts of the new welfare conditionality regime. Critical Social Policy, 40(3), pp.430-449.













Contact details

Dr Kate Andersen
Research Associate
School for Business and Society

Tel: +44 (0)1904 321984