Ilze Plavgo, Prof. Dr.

Junior Professor of Sociology of the Welfare State
University of Mannheim


About Me


I am a quantitative researcher working on inequalitypoverty, and social policy. My research themes include inequality of educational and labour market opportunities, monetary and multidimensional poverty, and social policy effects on life course transitions. The geographic focus of my research is on Europe and Africa.

Since August 2023, I am Junior Professor of Sociology of the Welfare State at the University of Mannheim. I carry out research and teach seminars in Bachelor and Master programmes on social stratification, life-course sociology, social and labour market inequalities, and contemporary welfare state change and challenges.

Between 2020 and 2023, I was a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI), working in the project WellSIRe (Wellbeing Returns on Social Investment Recalibration). Within this research project, I studied the potential of social investment policies to smoothen life-course transitions and reduce poverty and social inequalities in Europe.

Before joining the academia, I worked as a researcher and policy analyst 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 involved leading regional and national workshops on poverty measurement for UNICEF regional and country offices and local partners.

In addition to academic research, I 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


2023 - present

University of Mannheim, Germany

Junior Professor, Sociology of the Welfare State

2021 - 2023

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.