Ilze Plavgo

Researcher, PhD candidate
European University Institute

ilze photo03

About Me


I am a quantitative researcher working on inequality, poverty, and social policy. My research themes include social stratification, inequality across generations over the life-course, child poverty, and the potential of social policies to reduce poverty and social inequalities. Geographically my research is focused on the African continent and Europe.

I am currently a PhD candidate in Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute (EUI) under the supervision of Prof. Fabrizio Bernardi. As part of my doctoral studies, I am exploring trends in intergenerational educational inequality in sub-Saharan Africa, analyzing mechanisms behind inequality in educational opportunities in low-income contexts, and studying the effect of social investment policies in reducing these inequalities.

Before joining the EUI, I worked as a social and economic policy consultant at the UNICEF Office of Research (2011-2014) and at the Economic Policy Research Institute (2015-2016) where I worked on the measurement of child poverty and social protection.

In addition to academic research, I teach quantitative methods and social protection analysis, 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


2016 - today

European University Institute (EUI), Fiesole, Italy

PhD candidate in Political and Social Sciences (4-year full-time fully funded doctoral programme). Thesis: Intergenerational and intra-household inequality of educational opportunities in developing contexts.

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.