Brienna Perelli-Harris

About Brienna Perelli-Harris

Dr. Perelli-Harris is Associate Professor at the University of Southampton. Previously she was a Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany and a post-doc at the University of Wisconsin. She completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Michigan in 2006. Dr. Perelli-Harris currently holds a five-year European Research Council starting grant to study the increase in childbearing within cohabitation in industrialised countries (www.nonmarital.org). Working with researchers across Europe, the USA and Australia, she uses demographic techniques, quantitative methods, and qualitative approaches to explore the underlying reasons for the development of new family formation behaviours, as well as their impact on society. Recently, she has edited a Special Collection in Demographic Research “Focus on Partnerships: Discourses on cohabitation and marriage throughout Europe and Australia.”

Should the UK Government Expand Pro-Marriage Tax Relief?

In April 2015, David Cameron’s government implemented legislation to promote marriage by providing tax relief for low-income married couples. While nearly four million couples could potentially claim the benefit of around £212 per year, it has been difficult to obtain and relatively few have done so. Now the government has plans to expand these tax benefits to more married couples in order to “send a strong signal that we back marriage.” (Cameron 2014) This raises the question of whether marriage, compared to cohabitation, does indeed boost well-being, and whether incentives to marry need to be expanded.

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