Since a large variety of political players and interests intervene in educational and social policies, the processes of decision-making, enactment and final evaluation are far from linear and often trigger intense debate and conflict. This line of research explores the politics of policy processes and the intended and unintended effects of a range of social and educational policies. So far the GEPS research team has already worked on comprehensive school reforms, social protection after democratic transitions, educational programmes designed to tackle poverty, conditional cash transfers conditioned to school enrolment, the impact of means-tested social protection on democracy, socio-educational national and supra-national strategic plans, and public-private partnerships. At least one of the following questions is investigated in each case:

1. How do social end education policies bring about their effects? What policies work for whom under what circumstances and why?

2. What do policy-makers, professionals, parents, students and other stakeholders assume that a given policy will provoke? Is there a common understanding of the objectives and mechanisms of the policy among them?

3. How are education policies implemented and enacted? Do schools and universities eventually reproduce the expectations of the official programme? How do these policies affect teachers' labour conditions? Are education reforms supported by sufficient economic and technical resources?

4. What are the final impacts of education policies? How do they impinge on the main social fields of student's life (e.g. school, leisure spaces, family- school relations)? Do they influence academic learning? Do they have any effect on citizenship (e.g. critical thinking, emotional intelligence, ethical values)? Briefly, do education policies worsen, reproduce or alleviate educational inequalities grounded on social categories regarding class, gender or race and ethnicity?