Skip to main content
Magdalene College Cambridge

Professor Brendan Burchell

Brendan Burchell is a Professor in the Social Sciences and President of Magdalene College.

Professor Brendan Burchell's first degree was in Psychology from Birmingham University from 1977-80. From there he went to Warwick University to take a PhD in Social Psychology, researching person perception under laboratory conditions. He then took a one-year post at The City University teaching social psychology, statistics and computing.

His career took a change of direction when, in 1985, he was appointed to the Department of Applied Economics at Cambridge as a Research Officer to assist in a project entitled the Social Change and Economic Life Initiative, working collaboratively with economists, social psychologists and sociologists on a variety of aspects of labour markets and their effects on individuals.

In 1988 Professor Burchell transferred from the Department of Applied Economics to take a Lectureship in the Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science. He is the Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Sociology. He is also a member of the Individual in the labour Market Research Group.

Research Interests

  • The effects of labour market experiences (e.g. job insecurity, work intensification, bankruptcy, unemployment) on psychological well-being.
  • Analysis of complex work and life histories data.
  • Gender segregation, men’s and women’s life cycle and career.
  • Emotional reactions to personal finances: “Financial Phobia”.
  • Self-employment and Job Quality
  • The relationship between hours of work and well-being.
  • The quality of policing work and PTSD


BSc (Birmingham)

PhD (Warwick)

Selected Publications


Burchell, B.J., Fraser, C., Duveen, G., Hay, D. and Hilmi, F.. Introducing Social Psychology (Jordan: Massira, 2012), re-written and translation into Arabic.

Burchell, B.J., Deakin, S., Michie, J. and Rubery, J. Systems of Production: Markets, Organisations and Performance (London: Routledge, 2003).

Burchell, B.J., Ladipo D. and Wilkinson, F. (Eds) Job Insecurity and Work Intensification (London: Routledge, 2002)

Fraser, C. and Burchell, B.J. with Hay, D. and Duveen G. (Eds) Introducing Social Psychology (Oxford: Polity, 2001)

Burchell, B.J., Earnshaw, J. and Rubery, J.. New forms and new patterns of employment: The role of self-employment in the UK (University of Bremen: Zentrum Fur Europaische Reschts Politik, 1993)

Peer-Reviewed Journals

Soffia M, Wood AJ, Burchell B. Alienation Is Not ‘Bullshit’: An Empirical Critique of Graeber’s Theory of BS Jobs. Work, Employment and Society. June 2021. doi:10.1177/09500170211015067

Burchell, B., Reuschke, D., & Zhang, M. (2020). Spatial and temporal segmenting of urban workplaces: The gendering of multi-locational working. Urban Studies.

Kroeger, F., Racko, G. & Burchell, B. (2020) How to create trust quickly: a comparative empirical investigation of the bases of swift trust, Cambridge Journal of Economics, , beaa041,

Balderson, S.U., Burchell, B., Kamerade, D., Wang, S. & Coutts, A. (2020) An exploration of the multiple motivations for spending less time at work.  Time and society,

Wang, S., Coutts, A., Burchell, B., Kamerade, D. &. Balderson, S.U., (2020) Can Active Labour Market Programmes Emulate the Mental Health Benefits of Regular Paid employment? Longitudinal Evidence from the United Kingdom. Work, Employment and Society.

Brewin, C., Miller, J., Soffia, M., Peart, A., & Burchell, B. (2020). Posttraumatic stress disorder and complex posttraumatic stress disorder in UK police officers. Psychological Medicine, 1-9. doi:10.1017/S0033291720003025

Kamerade, D., Wang, S., Burchell, B., Balderson, S.U., & Coutts, A. (2019) A shorter working week for everyone: How much paid work is needed for mental health and well-being? Social Science and Medicine. Epub 2019 Jun 18.

Piasna, A., B Burchell, B. & Sehnbruch, K. (2019) Job quality in European employment policy: one step forward, two steps back? Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research. Vol 2, 165-180

Didriksen, M., Rigas, A. S., Allen, R. P., Burchell, B. J., Angelantonio, E. Di, Nielsen, M. H., … Ullum, H.. Prevalence of restless legs syndrome and associated factors in an otherwise healthy population: results from the Danish Blood Donor Study. sleep. (2017)

Didriksen, M T Hansen, A Rigas, R Allen, B Burchell, L Thørner, K Nielsen, E Di Angelantonio, M Nielsen, Poul Jennum, Thomas Werge, Christian Erikstrup, O Pedersen, H Paarup, Henrik Hjalgrim, M Bruun, K Burgdorf, E Sørensen, Henrik Ullum, 'Comorbidities to restless legs syndrome–results from the Danish blood donor study' Sleep Medicine 40, e79 (2017)

Racko, G., Strauss, K. and Burchell, B. (2016) ‘Economics Education and Value Change: The Role of Program Normative Homogeneity and Peer Influence’ Academy of Management Learning and Education

O'Reilly, J., Smith, M., Deakin, S. and Burchell, B. (2015) 'Equal Pay as a Moving Target: International perspectives on forty years of addressing the gender pay gap'. Cambridge Journal of Economics (2015) 39 (2):299-317

Sehnbruch, K., Burchell, B., Agloni, N. and Piasna, A. (2015) 'Human Development and Decent Work: Why some concepts succeed and others fail to make an impact'. Development and Change (2015) 46 (2)

Burchell, B.J., Sehnbruch, K., Piasna, A., Agloni, N. (2014) 'The quality of employment and decent work: definitions, methodologies, and ongoing debates'. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 38 (2): 459-477

Burchell, B., & Tumawu, K. D. A. (2014). 'Employee Motivation and Work Ethic in the State and Private sector in Ghana: A Survey of Teaching and Banking Professions'. Online Journal of African Affairs, 3(4), 55-62.

Racko, G. and Burchell, B. (2013) 'The role of technical progress, professionalization and Christian religion in occupational gender segregation: A cross-national analysis', Work, Employment And Society 27: 581-599.

Piasna, A., Smith, M., Rose, J., Rubery, J., Burchell, B. and Rafferty, A. (2013) 'Participatory HRM practices and job quality of vulnerable workers', The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24:22, 4094-4115.

Shapiro, G.K. & Burchell, B.J. (2012) 'Measuring Financial Anxiety'. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics. 5(2) 92-103.

Burchell, B.J. (2011) 'A Temporal Comparison of the Effects of Unemployment and Job Insecurity on Wellbeing'. Sociological Research Online 16. Retrieved September 28, 2011

Burchell, B.J., Allen, R.P., Miller, J.K., Hening, W.A. & Earley, C.J. (2009) 'RLS and blood donation'. Sleep Medicine, 10(8), 844-849.

Burchell, B.J. (2009) 'Flexicurity as a moderator of the relationship between job insecurity and psychological well-being'. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 2(3) Pp. 365-378.

Allen, R.P., Burchell, B.J.,MacDonald, B., Hening, W.A. & Earley, C.J. (2009) 'Validation of the self-completed Cambridge-Hopkins questionnaire (CH-RLSq) for ascertainment of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in a population survey'. Sleep Medicine, 10(10) 1097-1100 (December).

Lai, Y & Burchell, B.J. (2008) 'Distributed work: communication in an 'officeless firm''. New Technology, Work and Employment 23:1-2

Smith, M. Burchell, B.J. Fagan, C. & O'Brien, C. (2008) 'Job quality in Europe'. Industrial Relations Journal 39(6), 585-602

Biggs, D. Burchell, B.J. & Millmore, M. (2006) 'The changing world of the temporary worker: the potential HR impact of legislation'. Personnel Review, 35(2) 191-206.

Burchell, B.J. & Fagan, C. (2004) 'Gender and the intensification of work: Evidence from the European Working Conditions Surveys'. Eastern Economic Journal 30 (4): 627-642.

Kamerade, D. & Burchell, B.J. (2004) 'Teleworking and social capital: Is teleworking an isolating or a community-friendly form of work?' European Sociological Review 20(4): 345-361.

Felstead, A., Green, F. and Burchell, B.J. (2000) 'Job insecurity and the difficulty of regaining employment: An empirical study of unemployment expectations'. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics i 855-83.

Burchell, B.J. (1999) 'The unequal distribution of job insecurity,' 1966-86. International Review of Applied Economics 13: 439-460.

Burchell, B.J. and Yagil, D. (1997) 'Socioeconomic and political initiators of pay comparisons'. Work, Employment and Society 11: 737-748.

Burchell, B.J. and Wilkinson, F. (1997) 'Trust, Business arrangements and contractual environment'. Cambridge Journal of Economics 2: 217-237.

Burchell, B.J. (1996) 'Gender Segregation, Size of Workplace and Public Sector'. Gender, Work and Organisation 3: 227-235.

Burchell, B.J. (1993) 'A new way of analyzing labour market flows using work history data'. Work, Employment & Society 7: 237-258.

Burchell, B.J. and Marsh, C. (1992) 'The effect of questionnaire length on survey response'. Quality and Quantity 26: 233-244.

Burchell, B.J. (1992) 'Towards a social psychology of the labour market: Or why we need to understand the labour market before we can understand unemployment'. Journal of Occupational and Organisational psychology 65: 345-354.

Burchell, B.J. and Rubery, J. (1990) 'An Empirical Investigation into the Segmentation of the Labour Supply'. Work, Employment and Society 4: 551-575

Horrell, S., Rubery, J. and Burchell, B.J. (1989) 'Gender and Skill'. Work, Employment and Society 4: 189-216.

Burchell, B.J. (1987) 'Questioning to find out about people'. Questioning Exchange I: 43-46.