Dr Christopher Ambrey

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Institute for Social Science Research
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
c.ambrey@uq.edu.au
+61 7 334 69687

Overview

Chris’ research has had a long-standing focus on the wellbeing of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups using statistical and micro-econometric techniques. A self-described reflexive ‘economist with a conscience’, his research increasingly reflects a cognisance of the many and varied forms of injustice. In his current research into disrupting disadvantage, he aims to not only make a distinct and significant contribution to the body of knowledge but to also concomitantly produce research that is relevant, meaningful and socially significant.

Chris is currently working with St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland. This research involves the evaluation of the appropriateness of their administrative data for research purposes, and the provision of advice on data collection, management and reporting practices. The work forms the foundation for the necessary infrastructure for the measurement outcomes by the Society. This research also involves a series of empirical investigations into how charitable works improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people. This work is in line with the Society’s outcomes-focused approach to prosecuting their Mission and achieving their Vision. Relatedly, Chris has also been actively involved in the development of an Evaluation Framework for the Financial and Wellbeing Capability Activity for the Department of Social Services.

Chris’ PhD thesis investigated the influence of the environment on life satisfaction, for which he was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for outstanding Excellence in the Doctor of Philosophy.

Research Interests

  • Social Policy
  • Social Justice
  • The Economics of Happiness
  • Environmental Policy
  • Ecological Economics

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Griffith University
  • Bachelor of Commerce, Griffith University
  • Bachelor of Economics, Griffith University

Publications

View all Publications

Grants

View all Grants

Available Projects

  • This project will extend on research being undertaken for St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland. It will provide much needed practical evidence on the efficacy of some of the measures that the Society takes to help people out of disadvantage. The project will involve the application of statistical techniques to a large administrative dataset. It has the potential to also involve the application of randomised controlled trials where they are appropriate. The aim of this research is to evaluate the extent to which long-term life outcomes depend on:

    • the reasons for seeking assistance?;
    • the types of assistance provided (e.g. education grants, step-up loans and financial literacy interventions etc…)?;
    • the ways in which the assistance is delivered (e.g. via a home visit, via a drop-in centre)?;
    • the nature of a person’s pathway into requesting assistance?;
    • the particular referrals to other complementary services?; and
    • the circumstances of the most vulnerable groups of people (e.g. people experiencing intergenerational disadvantage, victims of domestic violence, problem gamblers, and people on low-incomes using payday lending)?

    This research relevant to helping to inform policy and practice and ultimately improving the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. The ideal candidate for this research project would have a strong desire to do excellent quality research that is useful for making a meaningful difference to people’s lives.

  • This research project directly responds to a fervent critique of mainstream economics and a passionate appeal for reflection and a fundamental re-examination of the field of ecological economics. The approach of this research project reflects a familiarity with the longstanding tensions between economics and the environment widely debated in the field. It also reflects an awareness of the ontological and epistemological ambivalence present in the field and instead advances knowledge grounded in realism and reasoned critique.

    Through a series of case studies, collaborating with government and non-government organisations, it is envisaged that this research project will provide rigorous new evidence on the efficacy of interventions to promote pro-environmental behaviours (e.g. joining, volunteering, or donating money to a conservation group.). This is achieved through the use of randomly assigned encouragements to receive treatments and treatments, informed by theories of human behaviour beyond the boundaries of mainstream economics.

  • This project aims to improve our understanding of the links between local environments and resident wellbeing, thereby informing decision makers of the policies required to create liveable cities. This project will integrate objective Geographic Information Systems data on the local environment, other objectively measurable explanatory variables and subjective measures of wellbeing. Individual level data will be obtained from a national probability sample and indefinite life panel, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey. It is expected that this project will, among other things, model spaitally the pathways to wellbeing in Australia (e.g. the restorative mental health benefits of nature; and green infratstructure and the urban heat island effect).

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Ulichny, Jennifer, Ambrey, Christopher L. and Fleming, Christopher M. (2015). Social connectedness and the declining life satisfaction of Australian females. In Susanne Moore (Ed.), Contemporary global perspectives on gender economics (pp. 188-211) Hershey, PA, United States: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-8611-3

Journal Article

Grants (Administered at UQ)

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • This project will extend on research being undertaken for St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland. It will provide much needed practical evidence on the efficacy of some of the measures that the Society takes to help people out of disadvantage. The project will involve the application of statistical techniques to a large administrative dataset. It has the potential to also involve the application of randomised controlled trials where they are appropriate. The aim of this research is to evaluate the extent to which long-term life outcomes depend on:

    • the reasons for seeking assistance?;
    • the types of assistance provided (e.g. education grants, step-up loans and financial literacy interventions etc…)?;
    • the ways in which the assistance is delivered (e.g. via a home visit, via a drop-in centre)?;
    • the nature of a person’s pathway into requesting assistance?;
    • the particular referrals to other complementary services?; and
    • the circumstances of the most vulnerable groups of people (e.g. people experiencing intergenerational disadvantage, victims of domestic violence, problem gamblers, and people on low-incomes using payday lending)?

    This research relevant to helping to inform policy and practice and ultimately improving the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. The ideal candidate for this research project would have a strong desire to do excellent quality research that is useful for making a meaningful difference to people’s lives.

  • This research project directly responds to a fervent critique of mainstream economics and a passionate appeal for reflection and a fundamental re-examination of the field of ecological economics. The approach of this research project reflects a familiarity with the longstanding tensions between economics and the environment widely debated in the field. It also reflects an awareness of the ontological and epistemological ambivalence present in the field and instead advances knowledge grounded in realism and reasoned critique.

    Through a series of case studies, collaborating with government and non-government organisations, it is envisaged that this research project will provide rigorous new evidence on the efficacy of interventions to promote pro-environmental behaviours (e.g. joining, volunteering, or donating money to a conservation group.). This is achieved through the use of randomly assigned encouragements to receive treatments and treatments, informed by theories of human behaviour beyond the boundaries of mainstream economics.

  • This project aims to improve our understanding of the links between local environments and resident wellbeing, thereby informing decision makers of the policies required to create liveable cities. This project will integrate objective Geographic Information Systems data on the local environment, other objectively measurable explanatory variables and subjective measures of wellbeing. Individual level data will be obtained from a national probability sample and indefinite life panel, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey. It is expected that this project will, among other things, model spaitally the pathways to wellbeing in Australia (e.g. the restorative mental health benefits of nature; and green infratstructure and the urban heat island effect).