Dr Matthew Bennett

Dr Matthew Bennett

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Senior Lecturer in Social Policy

Contact details

Department of Social Policy and Social Work
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Matthew is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Policy in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology. He is the Social Policy and Social Work pathway lead for ESRC Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership. Matt is also a researcher in the Third Sector Research Centre.


  • DPhil in Sociology, Nuffield College, University of Oxford
  • MSc in Sociology, Nuffield College, University of Oxford
  • BA (Hons) in Psychology and Sociology, University of Washington


Matthew is a quantitative social scientist and joined the Department in September 2013 as a lecturer. He is also a researcher in the Third Sector Research Centre.

His research interests are in the causes and consequences of prosocial behaviour; social identity; intergroup contact; and quantitative methods.


Matthew is currently teaching across BA programmes within the department and the MA Social Research programmes across the college. He mainly teaches research methods and social statistics.


Matthew is interested in the causes and consequences of prosocial behaviour, such as volunteering, charitable giving and informal care.

He is currently working on three funded projects: 

Sustainable Care: Connecting People and Systems (ESRC Large Grant £2.54M; PI - Prof. Sue Yeandle).

He leads on the work package “Modelling care system costs and contributions: Data for a sustainable care and well-being strategy”

The Sustainable Care Research Programme explores how care arrangements, currently 'in crisis' in parts of the UK, can be made sustainable and deliver wellbeing outcomes; and support policy / practice actors and scholars to conceptualise sustainability in care as an issue of rights, values, ethics and justice, as well as of resource distribution. Our overarching objective is to advance understanding of sources of economic and social sustainability in care, especially how wellbeing outcomes can be achieved for care users, their families / carers and paid care workers.

The focus of his work is on:
• The costs (public and private) and contributions of care (made by individuals, the state and employers);
• the financial and social sustainability of these under different scenarios; and
• the effects of adult social care and changes in funding on service users, carers, and other stakeholders.

The Impact of Ethnic Diversity on Wellbeing and Health (Co-I w/ Miles Hewstone and Miguel Ramos [Oxford], Douglas Massey [Princeton]). Nuffield Foundation Open Door (£219,131)

This is a three-year interdisciplinary project funded by the Nuffield Foundation, U.K. The project is concerned with understanding the effects of contemporary changes in ethnic composition of our societies. Our findings will identify risk factors, as well as positive aspects of diversity, that will inform leaders and policy makers in planning the broad range of diversity-related challenges of modern societies.

Exploring the relationship between ethnic heterogeneity, intergroup relations and stress. (PI w/ Miles Hewstone and Miguel Ramos [Oxford]). ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (£199,746.)

This project seeks to advance the theoretical and empirical understanding of how variations in the ethnic composition of local areas are associated with individuals’ stress (inflammatory markers and allostatic load). We also seek to understand the impact of both negative (e.g., threat) and positive (e.g., intergroup contact) correlates of diversity, identifying the beneficial and harmful effects that may push or pull in different directions. We will analyse data contained in Understanding Society and the National Child Development Study, with an emphasis on the biomarker data, and combine them with Census-based estimates for social context and apply advanced longitudinal, multilevel and structural equation data analysis techniques.


Zhang, Y., Bennett, M. R., and Yeandle, S. (2019) “Will I Care: The Likelihood of Being a Carer in Adult Life.” London: Carers UK.

Ramos, M., Bennett, M R., Massey, D., and Hewstone, M. (2019). “Humans Adapt to Social Diversity Over Time”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116 (25): 12244-12249.

Mohan, J., and Bennett, M.R. (2019) “Community-level Impacts of the Third Sector: Does the Local Distribution of Voluntary Organisations Influence the Likelihood of Volunteering?” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 51(4): 950-979  

Clasby, B., Bennett, M.R., Meadham, H., Hodges, E., Hinder, D., Williams, W. H., Mewse, A., and Hughes, N. (2019). “The Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury from the Classroom to the Courtroom: Understanding Pathways Through Structural Equation Modelling”. Disability and Rehabilitation. 42(23): 1-10

Bennett, M. R.,Einolf. C. (2017). Religion, Altruism, and Helping Strangers: A Multilevel Analysis of 123 Countries.Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 56(2):323;341.

Kamerāde, D., and Bennett M. R. (2017). “Rewarding Work: Volunteering During Unemployment, Benefits, Well-being and Mental Health.” Work, Employment and Society, 32(1): 38-56.

Bennett, M. R., Heaney J., Mach-Mortensen, A. M., and Pemberton, S. (2017). What are the effects of charitable giving on inflammatory markers among adults?" A systematic review and meta-analysis. PROSPERO CRD42017079092

Bennett, M. R., Heaney J., Mach-Mortensen, A. M., and Pemberton, S. (2017). What are the effects of volunteering on inflammatory markers among adults? A systematic review and meta-analysis.” PROSPERO CRD42017079083

Mohan, J. and Bennett, M. R. (2016) “Community-level impacts of the third sector: does the local distribution of voluntary organisations influence the likelihood of   volunteering?”, TSI Working Paper Series No. 7, Seventh Framework Programme (grant agreement 613034), European Union. Brussels: Third Sector Impact.

Kamerāde, D. and Bennett, M. R. (2015)“Unemployment, volunteering, subjective well-being and mental health , TSI Working Paper Series No. 8. Seventh Framework Programme (grant agreement 613034), European Union. Brussels: Third Sector Impact.

Bennett, M. R. (2015). Religiosity and Formal Volunteering in Global Perspective Pp. 77-96 in Religion and Volunteering: Complex, Contested and Ambiguous Relationships, edited by L. Hustinx, J. von Essen, J. Haers, and S. Mels. London: Springer

Wiertz, D., Bennett M. R., and Parameshwaran, M. (2015). Ethnic Heterogeneity, Ethnic and National Identity, and Social Cohesion in England Pp. 123-42 in Social Cohesion and Immigration in Europe and North America: Mechanisms Conditions and Causality, edited by R. Koopmans, B. Lancee, and M. Schaeffer. London: Routledge.

Bennett, M. R., Bulloch, S. L, Mohan, J. (2013). Age Trends in Civic Engagement in the UK. Evidence submitted to House of Lords Select Committee on Public Services and Demographic Change.

Bennett, M. R. and Parameshwaran, M. (2013). What makes young people volunteer? Understanding Society podcast.

View all publications in research portal