Economics of Education and Child Development

This research program answers policy-relevant questions about the economics of education for students of all ages, with an emphasis on the development of children.

Research focuses on students’ experiences of primary and secondary schooling, and their transition to further education and employment.

The program works with government organisations and policy-makers to contribute to the design and evaluation of education policies that will have a positive impact on Australian students and society more broadly.

Current research topics include:

  • Early childhood development
  • The determinants of student achievement, including the role of peers
  • The effects of disadvantage on student outcomes
  • Transitions from school to further education and training, and
  • The design and performance of schools and other educational institutions.

Data and methodology

Members of the Economics of Education and Child Development program make extensive use of national student achievement data in their research.

This data, which includes records from NAPLAN and My School, is often linked to other government administrative datasets, and to the Australian components of international tests such as PISA, PIRLS and TIMSS.

Research also draws extensively on longitudinal data available through the HILDA Survey.

Future research will involve greater use of behavioural experiments to assess how the actions of students and potential students can be shaped and influenced.

Broader roles

The Economics of Education and Child Development program undertakes research and evaluation projects for partners in government and industry.

Working closely with the Victorian Government’s Department of Education and Training, the program has completed a series of projects as part of a five-year research partnership that concluded in 2016.

Several members of the program are associated with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course, a nationwide research initiative studying deep and persistent disadvantage in Australian families.

Program Details


Associate Professor Chris Ryan


This program is funded through grants and research contracts provided by a variety of sources, including the ARC and the Victorian Government’s Department of Education and Training.

Research staff


Previous Projects

Recent publications