The impact of neighbourhood context on attitudes to inequality and redistribution

The impact of neighbourhood context on attitudes to inequality and redistribution

Our overall aim is to explore how the places where people live (their neighbourhood contexts) impact on their welfare attitudes. As income inequality has grown over the past 30 years, rich and poor have tended to live apart to a greater extent. Does this spatial segregation in turn impact on attitudes to inequality or our willingness to support redistribution through the tax and benefit system? Does it encourge more people to think of welfare recipients in negative ways, as underserving of support? Most broadly, does segregation undermine trust or social cohesion, and hence the mechanisms of the welfare state which are an expression of social solidarity?

We have looked at two specific types of attitude: (i) attitudes to inequality and redistribution, and (ii) attitudes to welfare recipients. We have used cross-sectional data from the British Social Attitudes Survey to measure attitudes, and attached measures of neighbourhood context to this.

Specific objectives included:

  • To identify whether the level of social deprivation in the neighbourhood influences attitudes to inequality and redistribution, once a wide range of individual and household characteristics have been taken into account. 
  • To identify whether the impacts of neighbourhood social deprivation on attitudes vary between social groups such as richer or poorer.
  • To identify whether it is exposure to social deprivation in general which influences attitudes or whether certain forms of deprivation are particularly important.
  • To identify the scale of neighbourhood at which contextual effects are strongest and whether particular configurations or patternings of social deprivation in surrounding neighbourhoods affect individual attitudes.
     

The analysis from this work is now completed and a number of outputs have been published - see details below. A short summary of our findings is available here: Attitudes - summary document.

Researchers

Outputs

Bailey, N., Gannon, M., Kearns, A., Livingston, M., and Leyland, A. H. (2013) Living apart, losing sympathy? How neighbourhood context affects attitudes to redistribution and to welfare recipients, Environment and Planning A . [Full published paper available free of charge]

Kearns, A., Bailey, N., Gannon, M., Livingston, M., and Leyland, A. (forthcoming 2014) 'All in it together'? Social cohesion in a dividing society: attitudes to income inequality and redistribution in a residential context, Journal of Social Policy. [Author post-print copy available free of charge]

Bailey, N., Gannon, M., Kearns, A., Livingston, M., and Leyland, A. H. (2012) Living apart, losing sympathy? How attitudes to redistribution and to welfare recipients depend on where you live. Paper presented at the Social Policy Association/East Asia Social Policy Research Network, York, 16-18 July 2012. Bailey et al - SPA 2012

Bailey, N., Gannon, M., Kearns, A., Livingston, M., and Leyland, A. H. (2012) Living apart, losing sympathy? How neighbourhood context affects attitudes to redistribution and to welfare recipients. Lecture for Centre for Urban Studies, University of Amsterdam, 9 October 2013. Bailey et al - UvA 2012

Gannon, M., Livingston, M., Bailey, N., Kearns, A., and Leyland, A. (2012) Does neighbourhood context impact on attitudes to inequality and redistribution? Questions of scale and patterning. Paper presented at the European Network for Housing Research, Lillehammer, Norway, 25-27 June, Lillehammer, Norway, 25-27 June 2012. Gannon et al - ENHR 2012

Bailey, Nick (2011) Constructing the neighbourhood database. Working Paper

Dates

October 2010 to March 2012

Funder

ESRC (£100k) [RES-000-22-4192]