Research in the social sciences has long focused on the situation of the poorest, and on looking at inequality of incomes. Whilst such an emphasis continues to be important, it is increasingly clear that policy and inquiry need to look at a wider view of material resources - including incomes but also assets. Reforms to pensions and the Child Trust Fund indicate the political importance of saving and asset-building. The counterpart to saving - borrowing - is also increasingly prevalent and potentially concerning, as consumer spending continues to increase.
Some currents in social science thinking also suggest a greater focus on wellbeing, or 'happiness', although within social policy such ideas face a mostly critical reception. We know that wellbeing is partly related to income and assets but also many other factors and further research here is required.
Current and ongoing research in the Centre covers a broad range of themes, including attitudes to assets and inheritance, housing equity withdrawal and asset-based welfare, measuring deprivation among older people, attitudes towards welfare and inequality, analysis of the dynamics of poverty and its spatial patterning, and the impacts of different forms of housing tenure in Europe. Demonstrating the overlaps with other research centres, projects have also considered the effects of disability on poverty, and on family status.