The Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) hosts paid internships for undergraduate students, funded by Andrew Fisher.
CHASM has hosted a cohort of undergraduate interns, funded by Andrew Fisher, undertaking a variety of joint research projects with core members, as follows:
(working with Lee Gregory)
"As a Masters student in Social Policy I am interested in public-private partnerships in the delivery of economic regeneration. Currently I am undertaking a dissertation focusing on the Work Programme and in particular whether this addresses the complicated barriers to employment for young people. Analysing the evidence basis of the Work Programme, and the role of ideology in informing the choice of private training organisations as the solution. This involves undertaking research within the field of youth transition studies, addressing how individuals’ lifecycles are changing in a globalised and post-Fordist market.
CHASM was an opportunity to explore these themes within the area of financial education. Analysing the role early financial education has in effecting later life decision making. In doing so I have begun to chart the growth of financial education organisations within the UK and the specific methods that are employed. Under the guidance of Lee Gregory, this will eventually entail an analysis of the ideology that informs the teaching methods”.
(working with Dr James Gregory)
"I am a third year Social Policy student interested in pursuing a career in social research. I am particularly passionate about risk management which is why applied for the internship offered by CHASM. It is an amazing opportunity to work on research that aims to make a difference in the way people manage their finance and insure against unexpected events. I am interested in savings patterns and schemes as it reflects the way people understand and insure against financial risks. I would like to explore this area further which is why I decided to continue my education in social research methods and a career in social research.
I believe that this internship will bring me closer to this goal as it not only allows me to develop my skills and knowledge but also gain an insight into a leading research centre and the processes involved in developing such a big project. I look forward to working with CHASM and I am excited to learn from this experience”.
(working with Dr Amalia di Girolamo)
"I am a first year Economics student interested in theoretical economics tools and how these can be applied on real word issues such as income inequalities and the effects that pension reforms have on low-skilled workers and low-income families.
I applied to the CHASM internship because it is a research based project in which I will explore the way scarce resources are redistributed within the population, in a time where most of the developed countries are experiencing an increasing Gini coefficient. I would like to make a positive contribution to this project in order to learn more about the way people can actually manage their finances and the effects of inequalities in society. I would like to explore in depth some economic arguments while enhancing my knowledge and my skills. I am looking forward to start working for the CHASM to learn what a researcher does while growing as person and economist”.
(working with Professor Andy Lymer)
"I am an Economics student currently in my second year, carrying out research into student attitudes towards taxation as part of the CHASM internship. The internship initially appealed to me due to its strong links to my course; I felt it would be the ideal opportunity to take what I have learnt in my past two years here in Birmingham and apply it to a current economic scenario. Looking to the future, I am also hoping to follow a career in Economic research and policy analysis and I felt the CHASM internship would give me an ideal insight into what this could entail.
At present I am designing a questionnaire to learn more about student’s attitudes towards taxation and hope to grasp a greater insight into their true understanding of the UK tax system. The next step will be to launch the questionnaire on a range of social media platforms in order to capture the widest student audience and gather results ready to compile into a report. I am looking forward to analysing the results of this study and working on a piece which will hopefully be useful for future, wider research carried out by CHASM."
"A second year student in Economics and Human Geography, I am interested in the societal and environmental impacts of economic process and decision making. I am particularly interested in why people make certain economic decisions and the techniques that academics follow to understand these processes. This is what drew me to the work that CHASM does.
My role within CHASM sees me assisting with the research undertaken by Andy Lymer, with the long term goal of building experiments to examine the concepts of tax morale and compliance. With the majority of the academic studies of tax compliance being theoretical and conceptual reviews, I’ve been trying to identify alternatives which start to approach the study of tax morale with an experimental methodology. Eventually I hope to take what I’ve learnt and adapt and reapply it help bring something new to the field.
Also I have begun to analyse the usage information from the ‘Tax Guide for Student’s website’. I have been given access to information on how students currently interact with the website and intend to examine the data to identify both what works well and any potential issues that may be occurring. We can then define potential solutions.
"As a final year student in International Business with Communications, I am interested in the topics of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainable economic development, which closely relate to one of CHASM’s research areas - responsible lending and borrowing. Since I first heard about KIVA (a non-profit organization that pioneered the concept of microcredits) I have developed a strong interest in microfinance institutions that serve the mission of connecting people through lending to alleviate poverty, and in this sense transform the model of payday lending.
Credit Unions, funded largely by member deposits, are very similar financial institutions. Within the scope of my internship with CHASM, I am researching the UK Credit Union movement and, in particular, how the sector has grown, diversified the product portfolios and professionalized after the introduction of the government funding via the Growth Fund and Expansion Project. The focus of my small-scale research is whether the UK Credit Unions can be currently defined as a cohesive sector and whether they can simultaneously successfully tackle financial exclusion and achieve sustainability."
Alex is an Accounting and Finance student who will be carrying out research into the challenges facing food banks in the UK. He writes:
"The opportunity with CHASM initially appealed to me for three reasons. This internship was project-based, was with a respected research centre and could be completed in conjunction with my second year studies. Further, the role offered an opportunity to demonstrate a strong work ethic, communication and analytical skills. There, I was delighted to be offered a place post-interview following research into the internship and the institute.
My food bank research project was an interesting and newsworthy topic. I was given independent responsibility for preparing the working paper, but had excellent support and guidance throughout. I am particularly pleased that my research has been published online. As a result of my positive experience, I would endorse this internship for dedicated students because it is both valuable and unique. As a new CHASM member, I had exposure to distinguished academics and participated in various meetings and seminars. I plan to go into the accounting and finance industry, following three months of finance internship experience last summer. In short, being a CHASM intern has enhanced skills, such as time management, which are vital for rewarding future careers in public, private and not-for-profit sectors."
CHASM Briefing Paper: UK Household Food Security: A review of existing research, October 2014 (PDF)
Afsaneh is a Social Policy student with social research skills, who will be researching responses to payday lenders from local authorities and the third sector.
Ekta Bhayani is an Economics student who will be working with Amalia Di Girolamo and participating in the activity of the BEEL (Behavioural and Experimental Lab).
CHASM Briefing Paper: Tax Behaviour: A review of existing research, January 2015 (PDF)