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About Eleanor

Eleanor's research focuses on innovations in social policy and outcomes-based commissioning. She joined the Blavatnik School of Government in 2016 having previously studied at the Universities of Cambridge and Sheffield.

Eleanor’s doctoral research investigated the application of outcomes-based commissioning within the UK Government’s welfare-to-work programmes. The analysis explores how particular programme design innovations map onto concerns of variable and potentially neglectful service provision and assesses whether developments in payment structure and governance arrangements deliver value for money to commissioners.

Before moving to Oxford Eleanor gained experience from the policy-maker perspective working as an advisor for the Social Investment and Finance Team in the UK’s Cabinet Office and through collaborative research projects with the Department for Work and Pensions.

Eleanor’s work has been published in a range of journals including Social Policy and Administration and Journal of Social Policy. Key research outputs have also been translated into policy submissions and Eleanor frequently advises on policy design and evaluation strategies for government departments and voluntary sector organisations.

Academic papers

C. FitzGerald, E. Carter, R. Dixon and M. Airoldi. (2019) Walking the contractual tightrope: a transaction cost economics perspective on social impact bonds, Public Money & Management, 39, 458–467.

E. Carter. (2018) ‘Making markets in employment support: does the variety of quasi-market matter for people with disabilities and health conditions?’, in: Needham, C., Heins, E., Rees, J. (Eds.), Social Policy Review 30: Analysis and Debate in Social Policy, 2018. Policy Press, Bristol.

A. Whitworth, E. Carter, D. Ballas, C. Moon. (2016) Estimating uncertainty in spatial microsimulation approaches to small area estimation: A new approach to solving an old problem, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 

J. Rees. A. Whitworth, E. Carter. (2014) Support for All in the UK Work Programme? Differential Payments, Same Old Problem. Social Policy & Administration, 48(2), 221-239

A. Whitworth, E. Carter. (2014) Welfare-to-work reform, power and inequality: from governance to governmentalities Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 22, 2, pp104-117

Book chapters

A. Whitworth, E. Carter. (2016) 'Employment' in Alcock, P, Haux, T, May, M and Wright, S (eds) The student's companion to social policy. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell

J. Rees, A. Whitworth, E. Carter, E. (2015) 'Support for all in the UK Work Programme? Differential payments, same old problem' in Considine, M. and O'Sullivan, S. (eds.) Contracting out welfare services: Comparing international policy designs for unemployment assistance, Chicester: Wiley Blackwell.


L. Savell, E. Carter, M. Airoldi, C. FitzGerald, S. Tan, J. Outes Velarde and J. R. Macdonald, (2022) Understanding outcomes funds: A guide for practitioners, governments and donors, Government Outcomes Lab, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

E. Carter, C. FitzGerald, R. Dixon, C. Economy, T. Hameed, and M. Airoldi. (2018) Building the tools for public services to secure better outcomes: Collaboration, Prevention, Innovation, Government Outcomes Lab, University of Oxford.

E. Carter, A. Whitworth. (2015) Activating the (un)employed: embedded trajectories, embedded problems? in L. Foster, A. Brunton, C. Deeming, T. Haux. (eds) In defence of welfare 2. UK Social Policy Association


N. Ball, E. Carter. (2021) Spotlighting Shared Outcomes for Social Impact Programs That Work Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR)