Levelling Up: Is inequality between places Britain’s biggest problem?

Published on 16 August 2023

Since 2019, 'levelling up' has been at the forefront of the political agenda - but is inequality between places really Britain’s biggest problem?

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Since 2019, we’ve all heard a lot about levelling up. It makes sense that our politics is centered around it - of all types of inequality, the public seems most concerned about the geographical sort. 

But do the numbers back this up? How much of Britain’s inequality is generated by differing fortunes in different parts of the country? And what might an effective “levelling up” agenda look like?   

In this episode, we speak to Xiaowei Xu, Senior Research Economist at IFS, James Banks, Professor of Economics at Manchester University.

Zooming In: discussion questions

Every week, we share a set of questions designed for A Level economics students to discuss, written by teacher Will Haines.

  1. What is meant by the economic term 'agglomeration externalities'?
  2. Explain how differences in educational attainment impact average wages in places.
  3. Evaluate the impact of one government policy to improve the supply of skills and one government policy to improve the demand for skills in reducing inequality between places.

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