Ilze Plavgo

Research Fellow, Ph.D.
European University Institute


About Me


I am a quantitative researcher working on inequalitypoverty, and social policy. My research themes include inequality in education and the labour market, child poverty, and social policy. The geographic focus of my research is on Europe and Africa.

I am currently a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI), working in the project WellSIRe (Wellbeing Returns on Social Investment Recalibration). As part of the WellSIRe project, I study the potential of social investment policies to smoothen life-course transitions and reduce poverty and social inequalities in Europe. 

Before joining the EUI, I worked as a researcher at the UNICEF Office of Research (2011-2014) and at the Economic Policy Research Institute (2015-2016) where I carried out research on the measurement and analysis of child poverty and social policy. My work also involved leading regional and national workshops on poverty measurement for UNICEF regional and country offices and local partners.

In addition to academic research, I teach inequality and public policy, quantitative methods and social protection analysis. I also write opinion articles to the media, and engage in research and training with governmental institutions and international organizations, among other activities. You can find my full CV below.

Employment & Education


2021 - today

European University Institute (EUI), Fiesole, Italy

Research Fellow in the WellSIRe project - Wellbeing Returns on Social Investment Recalibration in Europe.

2016 - 2021

European University Institute (EUI), Fiesole, Italy

Ph.D. in Political and Social Sciences (4-year full-time fully funded doctoral programme). Thesis: Trends and determinants of intergenerational educational inequality in sub-Saharan Africa.


University of Cambridge, UK

Visiting scholar at the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre, Faculty of Education. Research focus: social stratification in education in Ethiopia using Young Lives and RISE longitudinal data.

2015 - 2016

Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI), Cape Town, South Africa / Brussels, Belgium

Social Policy Consultant. Research projects: social protection and child poverty analyses in Morocco, Algeria, and Kenya.

2011 - 2014

UNICEF Office of Research at Innocenti, Florence, Italy

Social and Economic Policy Consultant. Research projects: measurement and analysis of multidimensional child poverty; technical support to UNICEF country and regional offices; social protection evaluation.

2009 - 2010

Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University, the Netherlands

MSc in Public Policy and Human Development. Specialization: Social Policy Design. Thesis: Evaluation of the ‘Placement for Training’ Unemployment Reduction Programme in Mauritius.

2005 - 2009

University of Dundee, Scotland

MA joint honours in European Studies and International Relations (First class honours). Thesis: What are the obstacles for effective cooperation between the EU and Russia?

2007 - 2008

Université Pierre-Mendès France, Grenoble, France

Erasmus exchange at the Faculty of Law. University diploma received: Administration et Politique Internationales.