ECI network member Malte Sandner recently spoke to HCEO about his research on government policies and how they impact a variety of outcomes, from child development to the formation of preferences.

Sandner is particularly interested in how certain policies, like early childhood interventions or welfare transfers, effect disadvanted families. "We already know quite a lot as to how these policies effect child development," he says. "But I think there's still a lot of open questions as to how family outcomes are effected by these kinds of policies."

His recent work looks at data from Germany, which Sandner notes has a relatively generous welfare state, with substantial benefits for mothers. "In Germany, disadvantaged mothers receive some support but still there is a large gap in health and child development by socioeconomic status," he says.

He is also interested in how policies for disadvantaged families influence the formation of preferences, an area that has much room for further investigation.

"I think we can learn quite a lot about how preferences develop in children, how they're effected by policies, and by the environment and the early life conditions," Sandner says.

Some of his recent work also looks at how adverse parenting, child abuse and/or neglect impacts preferences. "Working together with developmental psychologists can probably enable develop better prevention policies and interventions to circumvent adverse parenting."

Sandner is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University College London.