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The geography of inequality

Why have some parts of the country become wealthier than others?

Some parts of the country are wealthier than others. This happens despite the fact that there are policies in place to try and regenerate ‘left-behind’ places and reduce the dominance of London.

Here, we investigate how and why the different people in different part of the country have different life experiences – spatial inequalities – and how these have evolved over time. These inequalities exist across earnings, employment and household incomes. We will also examine the extent to which spatial inequalities are driven by differences in the types of people who choose to live in given areas, rather than differences in the areas themselves.

What constrains people from moving to wealthier areas?

Economic theory suggests that if people can freely choose where to live, everyone would have the same standard of life in the long-run. Yet we know that local economic shocks can affect areas for decades to come. Understanding why people move – or don’t move – is therefore crucial to understanding how spatial inequalities persist.

Here, we will examine how patterns of migration between places in the UK have changed over time, how they vary by age and education, what influences why people move or not, for example housing, information or social ties. We will also look at what policies are likely to be most effective at closing spatial disparities.