Dr Christopher Ambrey

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 involved a longstanding focus on the wellbeing of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups investigated 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.

Chris aims to harness interdisciplinary social science research to provide a much needed evidence to guide the allocation of public and private resources to where they can do the most good and have the largest positive impact on people’s lives. In practical terms, Chris' research aims to achieve this through the intimate co-creation of research questions with ongoing feedback from the government and the sector; coupled with the dissemination of research findings in a supportive and engaged manner which lends itself to implementation and meaningful socially significant change.

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.

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 has been leading a large scale analysis of the Department of Human Services’ Financial Service Initiatives and the Department of Social Services’ Financial Wellbeing and Capability Activity. This research is also in collaboration with the St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland.

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. Charities perform a range of activities, including but not limited to, social services, economic, social and community development, emergency relief, housing activities, employment and training, income support and maintenance. This research project will provide much needed practical evidence on the on how such activities can improve people's lives. The project will involve the application of statistical techniques to large administrative datasets and will address the following questions:

    1. Who are the people that currently use social welfare services?
    2. What are the reasons people use social welfare services? (i.e. including being poor, what are the proximal and higher order causes that underpin the social welfare service usage?)
    3. What are the pathways that lead people to use social welfare services? While acknowledging that there is a diverse range of experiences, can some typologies be discovered from the data?
    4. Are there key points of intervention where these pathways to the use of social welfare services may be disrupted? If so, how can these pathways to the use of social welfare services be altered to improve outcomes?
    5. Are social welfare services effective? If effective, how effective are social welfare services? Also, if effective, how effective are the social welfare services compared to each other? Further, do the answers to these questions depend on certain conditions (e.g. certain moderators and/or mediators)?
    6. What practical solutions can be undertaken to improve people’s lives? And how can these activities be stimulated and encouraged?

    The ideal candidate for this research project would have a strong desire to engage with the Society, government and the sector; and to do excellent quality research that is useful for making a meaningful difference to people’s lives.

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

Other Outputs

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. Charities perform a range of activities, including but not limited to, social services, economic, social and community development, emergency relief, housing activities, employment and training, income support and maintenance. This research project will provide much needed practical evidence on the on how such activities can improve people's lives. The project will involve the application of statistical techniques to large administrative datasets and will address the following questions:

    1. Who are the people that currently use social welfare services?
    2. What are the reasons people use social welfare services? (i.e. including being poor, what are the proximal and higher order causes that underpin the social welfare service usage?)
    3. What are the pathways that lead people to use social welfare services? While acknowledging that there is a diverse range of experiences, can some typologies be discovered from the data?
    4. Are there key points of intervention where these pathways to the use of social welfare services may be disrupted? If so, how can these pathways to the use of social welfare services be altered to improve outcomes?
    5. Are social welfare services effective? If effective, how effective are social welfare services? Also, if effective, how effective are the social welfare services compared to each other? Further, do the answers to these questions depend on certain conditions (e.g. certain moderators and/or mediators)?
    6. What practical solutions can be undertaken to improve people’s lives? And how can these activities be stimulated and encouraged?

    The ideal candidate for this research project would have a strong desire to engage with the Society, government and the sector; and to do excellent quality research that is useful for making a meaningful difference to people’s lives.