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Anna Vignoles FBA


Professor of Education (1938)

Fellow of Jesus College

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 767626


  • PhD Economics (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)
  • BA Hons (SOAS, University of London)

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Fellow of the British Academy
  • Trustee of The Nuffield Foundation
  • Member of the ESRC Council
  • Co-Chair, Cambridge Big Data Strategic Research Initiative, University of Cambridge
  • Board Member, Cambridge Enterprise
  • Member of the advisory board of the Sutton Trust
  • Associate Editor, Education Economics and The Cambridge Journal of Education

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Anna Vignoles is a Professor of Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, a Fellow of the British Academy, a trustee of the Nuffield Foundation and a member of the ESRC Council.

Anna undertakes research into how we can improve students’ academic achievement and help them develop the skills they need in the labour market. She has a particular interest in researching the inequalities we see in access to education (globally) and, in the UK content, the lower levels of educational success of children from poorer families. She also studies the economic and social outcomes from education.

Anna has advised numerous government departments, including the Department for Education, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and HM Treasury. She provided advice to the Browne Review of Higher Education Funding, the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee investigation of higher education funding, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee, as part of their inquiry into education and training opportunities for young people, and Lord Leitch's Review of Skills. She also provided advice to Dame Shirley Pearce’s review of the Teaching Excellence Framework. 

Anna is an associate editor for the Cambridge Journal of Education and Education Economics. Anna was awarded Wonk of the Year 2018 by WonkHE. She was also winner of the British Education Journal Annual Editors' Choice Award 2016. 

Academic Area/Links

Recent research topics include:

  • how socio-economic gaps in pupils’ education achievement change as they progress through the early years and into higher education
  • widening participation in and fair access to higher education
  • the economic value of education
  • school choice
  • the educational achievement and progress made by children with special educational needs

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Research Topics

  • Economics of education
  • Equity in education
  • Economic value of education
  • Widening participation in higher education
  • Quantitative methods

Current Research Project(s)

  • Department for Education funded project on the labour market value of degrees
  • Investigating the school choices made by families, funded by the Keynes Fund
  • Educational trajectories of students from different family backgrounds, funded by NORFACE

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  • PhD supervision in economics of education
  • Masters teaching in quantitative research methods
  • External examiner for Kings College London

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Principal and Recent Publications

Britton, J., Dearden, L., Shephard, N. and Vignoles, A., 2019. Is Improving Access to University Enough? Socio‐Economic Gaps in the Earnings of English Graduates. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 81(2), pp.328-368.
Britton, J., Shephard, N. and Vignoles, A., 2019. A comparison of sample survey measures of earnings of English graduates with administrative data. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 182(3), pp.719-754.
Ilie, S., Sutherland, A. and Vignoles, A., 2017. Revisiting free school meal eligibility as a proxy for pupil socio‐economic deprivation. British Educational Research Journal, 43(2), pp.253-274.
Crawford, C., Gregg, P., Macmillan, L., Vignoles, A. and Wyness, G., 2016. Higher education, career opportunities, and intergenerational inequality. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 32(4), pp.553-575.
Crawford, C., Dearden, L., Micklewright, J. and Vignoles, A., 2016. Family Background and University Success: Differences in Higher Education Access and Outcomes in England. Oxford University Press
Burgess, S., Greaves, E., Vignoles, A. and Wilson, D., 2015. What parents want: School preferences and school choice. The Economic Journal, 125(587), pp.1262-1289
Jerrim, J. and Vignoles, A. (2013) Social mobility, regression to the mean and the cognitive development of high ability children from disadvantaged, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A. Vol. 176, No. 4, pp.887-906. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-985X.2012.01072.x.
Chowdry, H., Crawford, C., Dearden, A., Goodman, A. and Vignoles, A. (2012) Widening participation in higher education: analysis using linked administrative data, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-985X.2012.01043.x
Burgess, S., Greaves, E., Vignoles, A. and Wilson, D. (2011) Parental choice of primary school in England: what types of school do different types of family really have available to them?, Policy Studies, Vol. 32, No. 5, September 2011, 531-547
Vignoles, A. (2011) Economics of Education in Arthur, J. and Peterson, A. (Eds) The Routledge Companion to Education, Routledge, 978-0415583466
De Coulon, A., Marcenaro-Gutierrez, O. and Vignoles, A. (2010) The value of basic skills in the British labour market, Oxford Economic Papers, vol. 10 pp.1093
Dearden, L., Machin, S. and Vignoles, A. (2009) Economics of Education Research: A Review and Future Prospects, Oxford Review of Education, vol. 35 no. 5, pp.617-632
Hobbs, G. and Vignoles, A. (2009) Is children’s free school meal ‘eligibility’ a good proxy for family income?, British Educational Research Journal, vol. 36, no. 4, pp.1469-3518

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