Richard Layte is Professor of Sociology, Head of the Department of Sociology and a Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute. Much of his work stems from a core interest in the structure of social and economic stratification in modern societies and its impact on individual life-chances, health and well-being. His research examines the fundamental processes which influence the distribution of health and well-being in societies and how these are shaped by political economy and the structure and functioning of health care systems. He has a particular interest in improving understanding of how family background influences child health and development and the impact this has on the child's educational outcomes, adult health and life expectancy.
Recent work has examined whether the 'Great Recession' in Ireland had an effect on child health and development (the short answer is that it did in several very important ways), the pathways and mechanisms through which these effects occurred and the implications of this for life course models of health and well-being. He has a keen interest in the intersection of social, psychological and biological science and works with colleagues across a range of disciplines. This is most evident in recent work for the LIFEPATH Project (https://www.lifepathproject.eu/). Richard Layte's work also examines the possible policy applications of academic research. He has done extensive work on health care systems and the role that public policy can play in improving individual and population health and well-being. He has published widely on all these issues both in Ireland and internationally in both the academic and policy domains.