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Social Policy in a Cold Climate

Distribution of economic outcomes

John Hills and Polly Vizard

While the work in Theme 1 concentrates on public policy change and direct outputs from that activity, this theme deals with the overall distribution of outcomes. It asks:
  • How did the overall distribution of economic outcomes change in the periods 2007- 2010 and 2010-12?;
  • Which groups of people moved up and down the distribution?;
  • Did gaps between and within groups get smaller or larger, and in what ways?
  • What, therefore, can we infer about how the changes affected the circumstances of different kinds of people?

Our work builds on the detailed distributional analysis done by the National Equality Panel. This provided data on differences between and within population groups just before the economic crisis (generally to the years 2006-2008, or 2007-08).
This programme of work examines how outcomes have changed for different groups following the recession (using data from 2010) and then under the first years of the Coalition government (using data from 2011-2013).
It includes analysis of the distribution of household income using DWP’s annual Households Below Average Income analysis and the changing distributions of: educational qualifications (using the National Pupil Database to look at Key Stage 4 and 5 outcomes); adult qualifications, employment, hourly wages and weekly earnings (all using Labour Force Survey data); net household incomes (using the Family Resources Survey/HBAI dataset); and wealth (using data from at least the second wave of the Wealth and Assets survey.
We also relate these distributions and changes in them to the positions of the population disaggregated by age, gender, ethnicity, country of birth where available, disability status, and occupational social class.

The first report from this theme, Winners and Losers in the Crisis: The Changing Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK 2007-2010 covering the period up to 2010 (published in 2013) is available here.

The update Falling Behind, Getting Ahead: The Changing Structure of Inequality in the UK covering up to 2012/13 (published in March 2015) is available here.