Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Local economic inequality in the UK: patterns, determinants, and behavioural consequences

Suss, Joel H. (2021) Local economic inequality in the UK: patterns, determinants, and behavioural consequences. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

[img] Text - Submitted Version
Download (16MB)
Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004337


I develop a novel, geographically granular measure of economic inequality in the UK based on data covering tens of millions of residential properties. The size of this data allows me to describe and understand the consequences of local inequality in the UK for the first time. The first paper in my thesis explores patterns of local economic inequality, both contemporary levels and changes over the last couple decades. The paper also examines whether salient features of the local environment affect people’s perceptions of economic inequality. Across two surveys, I find that discrepancies in housing quality are indeed a salient aspect affecting people’s perceptions. I then examine the determinants of inequality at different spatial resolutions, from the city down to the neighbourhood level. I find that local composition of skills, housing tenure, and amenities are all important factors. The third, fourth and fifth papers in my thesis examine the consequences of local inequality for a number of important individual and group behaviours. First, I examine whether local inequality affects pro-social spending, providing new insight into a question that has produced conflicting findings. Across two studies covering the US and UK, I find that local inequality interacts positively with income – higher income individuals are more generous in areas of higher inequality, probably because they come into contact with poorer individuals more often. Second, in a paper co-authored with Thiago Oliveira, I explore whether variation in neighbourhood-level inequality in London affects the prevalence of police stop and search behaviour. We find a positive relationship, supporting criminological theories on police behaviour and social order maintenance. Finally, combining data on economic inequality with data on local ethnic composition from the UK census, I examine whether patterns of residential diversity and segregation affects political behaviour. Using Brexit as a case study, I find strong evidence in support of contact rather than conflict theory – neighbourhood economic and social diversity reduces support for Brexit, but the opposite is true for segregation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2021 Joel H. Suss
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Psychological and Behavioural Science
Supervisor: Hills, John and Dolan, Paul

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics