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Publications and Outputs

Here you will find a list of our published outputs including journal articles, working papers, toolkits, data visuals, media articles and policy briefing papers.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about any of our work, please get in touch at Understanding.Inequalities@ed.ac.uk 

Data Report on Police Charges Reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service under the Coronavirus Regulations: March 2020 to June 2021

25.08.2021
Professor Susan McVie

Professor Susan McVie has authored a data report on the number of charges reported by Police Scotland under the Coronavirus Regulations between March 2020 and June 2021 to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).  The report examines the number of charges reported to COPFS, the prosecutorial decisions that were taken in these cases and the outcomes of disposals.  The data provide assurance that a very small proportion of all pandemic related policing activity resulted in a report to the COPFS and that decisions made in respect of these charges were broadly in line with usual prosecutorial practice.

Third Data Report on Police Use of Fixed Penalty Notices under the Coronavirus Regulations in Scotland: March to December 2020

25.08.2021
Prof Susan McVie and Dr Ben Matthews

Professor Susan McVie and Dr Ben Matthews have authored a third data report scrutinising the police use of Fixed Penalty Noticed (FPNs) under the temporary powers introduced by the Coronavirus Regulations to help stop the spread of the virus. This report examines all FPNs issued between March and December 2020.  It represents the most detailed analysis for any UK police force of how many FPNs were issued, who received them, and where and when FPNs were issued.  Importantly, it also shows how rates and patterns of enforcement changed over time.  

The report was published to coincide with the Scottish Police Authority Meeting on 25th August 2021 and represents one of a number of papers presented by John Scott QC, Chair of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) set up to provide scrutiny around Police Scotland’s use of the temporary powers.

Worksheets: Crime and Inequality in Scotland

23.03.2021
Susan McVie and Isabella Melking

Graphic of  two young people looking at a police car from behind a wall.

The content of these worksheets is based on a data comic that was developed by the Director of the Understanding Inequalities (UI) project, Professor Susan McVie, based at the University of Edinburgh. The worksheets were adapted from the data comic by the UI project Communications and Engagement Officer, Isabella Melking, also based at the University of Edinburgh.

These worksheets have been developed in partnership with the Modern Studies Association and are intended for teachers to use with pupils in class or at home.

UI submission of evidence to the UK Parliament COVID Committee

31.08.2020

The Understanding Inequalities project has submitted evidence to the UK Parliament COVID Committee in response to their national inquiry into life beyond COVID, which asks for views on the long-term implications of the pandemic for our society – for example what it might mean for (in)equality.

Our evidence submission highlights twelve areas of inequality that are likely to be impacted substantially by the pandemic based on highly rigorous research evidence:

Case Study: Working with The Improvement Service to measure inequality across Local Authority areas in Scotland

05.05.2020
Meng Le Zhang and Gwilym Pryce

In 2018, Dr Meng Le Zhang and Professor Gwilym Pryce from the Understanding Inequalities project worked with the Improvement Service to develop a tool to analyse inequalities across all Local Authority areas in Scotland.

The Improvement Service

Meng Le and Gwilym developed a series of measures that calculates an inequality score at local authority level for a particular dimension, for example, air pollution, exposure to crime or housing quality, which can be then followed over time.

The Improvement Service used this index as a key component of their Community Planning Outcomes Profile (CPOP) toolkit which aims to help Community Planning Partnerships (CPP) understand the issues in their area, in order to identify where they might prioritise intervention measures to improve the outcomes for people living in those areas.

Journal article: The dynamics of poverty, employment and access to amenities in polycentric cities: Measuring the decentralisation of poverty and its impacts in England and Wales

Zhang, ML; Pryce, G

August 2019. 
Journal of Urban Studies.

Abstract:

A growing number of studies of European and North American cities have shown that poverty is moving away from urban centres in a process known as the decentralisation (or suburbanisation) of poverty. These findings raise important questions about the impact on the quality of life for poorer residents who face financial constraints with respect to their access to transport. This paper investigates the implications of decentralisation of poverty for inequality in access to amenities and employment.
We define “access” in terms of distance to these features. Using data on England and Wales, we find that the decentralisation of poverty has led to greater inequalities between poor and non-poor households in access to both employment and amenities in large urban areas.

Second data report on police use of Fixed Penalty Notices under the Covid-19 regulations in Scotland

24.02.2021
Susan McVie

Professor Susan McVie has authored a second data report scrutinising the police use of Fixed Penalty Noticed (FPNs) under the temporary powers introduced by the Coronavirus Regulations to help stop the spread of the virus. It is the only study in the UK to look at the characteristics of the individuals who received police fines rather than just the numbers of FPNs issued.

The report is one of a number of papers presented today (24th February 2021) to the Scottish Police Authority by John Scott QC, Chair of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) set up to provide scrutiny around Police Scotland’s use of the temporary powers.

Journal article: Mothers’ employment and child behaviour: new evidence for Scotland

08.01.2021
Marita Jacob and Michael Kühhirt

What is the effect of maternal employment on child behaviour? Given increasing maternal labour-market participation in many European countries, there is an ongoing scientific and public debate on the potential consequences for children’s development.

The present study combines statistical techniques that can account for time-varying confounders with cumulative measurement of maternal employment to investigate its link with children’s behavioural problems around age eight. In addition, our study explores whether the effect of maternal employment history differs by mothers’ education.

Journal article: Different degrees of career success: social origin and graduates’ education and labour market trajectories

21.09.2020
Bożena Wielgoszewska, Cristina Iannelli and Adriana Duta

Can education can act as an equaliser of life chances and a vehicle for social mobility? A growing body of research shows that a university degree is not the great leveller and that, even among graduates, there are great social inequalities in their labour market outcomes.

This study contributes to the existing literature by examining the education and labour market trajectories of degree holders across their life course and how these trajectories vary by social class of origin. We used data from the 1970 British Cohort Study, the most recent birth cohort with detailed employment and education histories up to the age of 42.

Data Comic: How crime has changed in Scotland

30.10.2020
Susan McVie

The Understanding Inequalities project team were delighted to have the opportunity to work with graphic artist Miranda Smith, who used data and findings provided by Professor Susan McVie to create the data comic "How crime has changed in Scotland".

Illustration of police offer behind "police line" tape

The comic looks at how crime has changed in Scotland, including the fall in police recorded crime and how young people have contributed to the crime drop. It also explores poverty as a risk factor for offending and what happens to young offenders who are caught by the police.

Journal article: Maternal employment and the well-being of children living with a lone mother in Scotland

18.12.2020
Francesca Fiori

Is maternal employment beneficial to the child socio-emotional wellbeing? This study examines whether, under which circumstances, and through which mechanisms maternal employment influences the socioemotional well-being of children living with a lone mother in Scotland.

Previous research has shown that children who do not live with both of their parents fare worse on a variety of outcomes. However, less is known about the factors that contribute to the negative effect of family structure.

Using Growing Up in Scotland data, this study reveals that children of working lone mothers are less at risk of having severe socioemotional problems, particularly if their mothers work in medium–high occupational positions. Higher levels of household income and the greater psychological well-being of working mothers partly explain the positive effect of maternal employment.

Breifing paper: Living with a lone mother in Scotland. Do children fare better if their mothers are in work?

08.01.2020
Francesca Fiori
In this Understanding Inequalities briefing paper, Dr Francesca Fiori sets out findings from her research, which uses the Growing Up in Scotland survey data to explore the effect of maternal employment on the socio-emotional wellbeing of children living with a lone mother.
 
Read the briefing in full here:
 
 
 
 

 

Data Comic about inequalities in Scotland

Professor Gwilym Pryce and Dr Meng Le Zhang

Earlier this year the Understanding Inequalities project was approached by University of Edinburgh colleagues Benjamin Bach and Catherine Magill regarding their data visualisation project focussing on inequality and inclusion. This project was funded by the Edinburgh Futures Institute and posed the question -
"Can data visualisations engage a wider audience in data-driven policy and decision-making about inequality?"

We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with Ben, Cat and graphic artist Miranda Smith, who used data and findings provided by Professor Gwilym Pryce and Dr Meng Le Zhang to create a data comic - "We'll take the low road": how has Scotland fared in pursuing its vision for lower inequality?

UI submission of evidence to the Edinburgh Poverty Commission, June 2019

At the end of June, the Understanding Inequalities project submitted evidence to the Edinburgh Poverty Commission in response to their latest call for evidence which focuses on ‘Prospects – what can be done do to improve the life chances of people who are struggling to get by in Edinburgh'.

Our evidence submission focused on the following two areas of research by the Understanding Inequalities team: crime and justice, looking at the rates and patterns of offending and victimisation across the city of Edinburgh,  and the impact of poverty on access to employment opportunities in the city.

You can read the submission in full here.

Police use of the new Covid-19 powers: Using administrative data to analyse and evaluate practice

01.07.2020

A data report scrutinising Police Scotland’s use of the new temporary powers introduced to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic shows that less than seven percent of all interventions involved the use of enforcement, such as a fine or an arrest.

Police use of Fixed Penalty Notices under the Covid-19 regulations in Scotland: A new data report highlights links with deprivation and inequality

19.08.2020
Susan McVie

A data report presented to the Scottish Policy Authority (SPA) today shows that almost a third of all Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were issued to people living in the top 10% most deprived communities of Scotland.  Moreover, FPNs were twelve times more likely to be issued to people living in the 10% most deprived parts of Scotland compared to those living in the 10% least deprived areas.

Social Mobility Commission report cites research by UI project team

23.07.2020

Research by UI Co-Director Cristina Iannelli and Research Fellow Dr Adriana Duta has been cited in the latest Social Mobility Commission reports: Moving out to move on published 23 July 2020 and the 2019 report State of the Nation 2018-19: Social Mobility in Great Britain.

Journal article: Estimating the local employment impacts of immigration: A dynamic spatial panel model

12.12.2019
Fingleton, B; Olner, D; Pryce G

This paper highlights a number of important gaps in the UK evidence base on the employment impacts of immigration, namely: (1) the lack of research on the local impacts of immigration – existing studies only estimate the impact for the country as a whole; (2) the absence of long-term estimates – research has focused on relatively short time spans – there are no estimates of the impact over several decades, for example; (3) the tendency to ignore spatial dependence of employment which can bias the results and distort inference – there are no robust spatial econometric estimates we are aware of.

The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for policy in relation to children and young people: a research review

22.07.2020
Emer Smyth

A research review, co-authored by UI Co-Director Professor Emer Smyth and fellow collaborators at the ESRI, finds that action is needed to address the short and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 response on children and young people.

The report draws on existing and emerging Irish and international research on the effects of the pandemic restrictions on children and young people. In particular, the report reviews research evidence in the areas of family and peer relationships, health and wellbeing, education (from early childhood to third-level) and post-school transitions to provide insights into the potential consequences of the current crisis from infancy to early adulthood.

UI submission of evidence to the Edinburgh Poverty Commission, June 2019

At the end of June, the Understanding Inequalities project submitted evidence to the Edinburgh Poverty Commission in response to their latest call for evidence which focuses on ‘Prospects – what can be done do to improve the life chances of people who are struggling to get by in Edinburgh'.

Our evidence submission focused on the following two areas of research by the Understanding Inequalities team: crime and justice, looking at the rates and patterns of offending and victimisation across the city of Edinburgh,  and the impact of poverty on access to employment opportunities in the city.

You can read the submission in full here.

Summary Report: The impact of inequalities in the early years on outcomes over the life course

We recently held a symposium at the Scottish Parliament, which brought together international academics and policy makers to discuss the impact of childhood inequalities on life outcomes across a broad range of topics, including education, crime and well-being.

We asked each of our speakers to contribute to this summary report, which draws together the findings that were presented toether with the policy discussions that followed. The presentations drew on a range of  international evidence from the US, Israel, Ireland,  New Zealand and Australia, together findings emerging from Scottish and UK data sets, exploring key stages in a young person's life, from early adversity in early childhood through adolescence and the impact of this on adult lives.

We would like to acknowledge all those who participated in the symposium and contributed to the production of the report. This work was supported by an ESRC International Networking Award.

Slides from the UI International Symposium: The impact of inequalities in the early years on outcomes over the life course

On Monday 11th March, we hosted an international symposium on 'The impact of inequalities in the early years on outcomes over the life course'. This event brought together international academics from the US, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Ireland and the UK who are actively researching the impact of disadvantage and inequality in the early years, with policy makers from different jurisdictions who have a shared interest in developing creative and effective solutions.

This was a closed event however the presentations are of relevance to anyone working to address childhood inequalities. Please find a copy of the programme here, which gives more context and information about the aims of the event. You can also find biographies for each of the presenters here.

Developing the ‘Akmedoids’ statistical package and its application to assess long-term inequality in the exposure to crime

Monsuru Adepeju

In recent years we have seen an increasing interest in the study of longitudinal crime concentrations at small geographic scales such as street segments and neighbourhoods. That said, the prospect of being able to adequately identify the slowly changing character of these place-based crime profiles has been hindered by one key methodological drawback: the heightened sensitivity of existing longitudinal clustering methods to short-term fluctuations. Amongst the methods currently available, k-means clustering is the most malleable, allowing the opportunity for bespoke adjustments which might be prompted by theoretical or empirical insight.

UI Symposium speakers on inequalities and the importance of comparative evidence

At our recent symposium on 'The impact of inequalities in the early years on outcomes over the life course' we asked some of our international guest speakers about the importance of using comparative evidence from other countries and jurisdictions when developing policy to tackle inequalities. 

Click on the video clips below to see:

Dr Abby Fagan, Associate Professor at the University of Florida on the importance of projects like Understanding Inequalities in gathering evidence to support initiatives to tackle inequalities. 

Dr Louise Scott, Head of the Families and Analysis Division at Scottish Government on how they use research evidence from other countries to inform policy development in Scotland. 

New AQMeN Research Briefing: Reduction in homicide and violence in Scotland is largely explained by fewer gangs and less knife crime

Sara Skott and Susan McVie

In this briefing paper, Sara Skott and Susan McVie explore how a decline in knife crime and gang violence has made the biggest overall contribution to the reduction of homicides and other forms of  violence in Scotland.

Read the briefing here. 

This briefing paper was produced by Dr Sara Skott and Professor Susan McVie, as part of a wider body of work around homicide and violence which was carried out under the auspices of the ESRC Applied Quantitative Methods Network (AQMeN)  Research Centre (2013-2017).

Find out more about Sara's work and the wider AQMeN research into crime and victimsation at the AQMeN website.  

 

Increasing inequality in experience of victimisation during the crime drop: Analysing patterns of victimisation in Scotland from 1993 to 2014–15

McVie,S; Norris, P; Pillinger, R

2019
British Journal of Criminology.

Abstract:

Research on the international crime drop has predominantly focused on the nature and extent of overall crime or changes in specific crime types, but less attention has been paid to how equally the crime drop has been distributed across society. Applying a novel quasi-longitudinal approach to Scottish victimisation data, this article examines changes in the prevalence, frequency and type of victimisation experienced. We argue that the crime drop has resulted in an increase in inequality between those at most and least risk of being a victim of crime, especially violence. The article contributes to theoretical debates on the crime drop, crime inequality and distributive justice, and provides policy recommendations on the importance of crime reduction strategies that target repeat victimisation.

Presentations from The Dynamics of Spatial Inequality: Processes, Outcomes & Solutions

On Friday 29th March we held a symposium to discuss the Dynamics of Spatial Inequality: Processes, Outcomes & Solutions.

This event brought together policy makers, stakeholders and leading researchers from a variety of academic disciplines and policy perspectives to discuss the latest research on whether and how spatial inequalities matter and  the implications for policy innovation. The aim of the symposium was to examine how inequality in housing wealth reinforces intergenerational inequality, and how discrimination in the housing market makes it more difficult for ethnic minorities to access neighbourhoods with the best economic opportunities.

UI submission of evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Social Mobility

24.06.2020

The Understanding Inequalities project has submitted evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Social Mobility in response to their national inquiry into housing and employment, which is aimed at tackling the employment and earnings gap in social housing.

Our evidence submission focused on answering the following research questions posed by the group:

  • What is the relationship between social housing and employment? and
  • What can Government do to support the social housing sector and tenants, and to reduce the social
    housing employment and earnings gap?

Read the full submission below.

Summary report: Driving forward data-informed approaches to policing

22.01.2020
Susan McVie

In October 2019, Understanding Inequalities held a joint event with the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) and Police Scotland to discuss data-informed approaches to policing, looking at the use of police data to assess demand, inform deployment and address priorities.

We have produced a short summary report which draws together themes from the presentations and facilitated discussion. These themes included the data priorities for policing in Scotland, the various different data sources that are currently being used to inform policing, the challenges associated with accessing and linking types of data, while the report also highlights the potential solutions and ways of working across organisations to mitigate some of these challenges. 

Read the report in full here. 

Documentary: Addressing Spatial Inequality in the 21st Century

15.05.2020

Last year we hosted an international symposium on The Dynamics of Spatial Inequality in Sheffield.  This event brought together US and UK-based speakers and delegates from a variety of policy, practitioner and academic disciplines to share perspectives on whether and how spatial inequalities matter and the implications for policy innovation. 

As part of this event, we filmed a short documentary featuring interviews with our international speakers. We asked them about the implications of spatial inequalities for life outcomes, across health, housing and the labour market, and we asked what they thought a new vision for spatial policy in the 21st Century might look like. This film also features an interview with Lord Blunkett, former UK Home Secretary. 

You can also view a selection of short clips from the film including: 

Journal article: Maternal employment and the well-being of children living with a lone mother in Scotland

18.12.2020
Francesca Fiori

Is maternal employment beneficial to the child socio-emotional wellbeing? This study examines whether, under which circumstances, and through which mechanisms maternal employment influences the socioemotional well-being of children living with a lone mother in Scotland.

Previous research has shown that children who do not live with both of their parents fare worse on a variety of outcomes. However, less is known about the factors that contribute to the negative effect of family structure.

Using Growing Up in Scotland data, this study reveals that children of working lone mothers are less at risk of having severe socioemotional problems, particularly if their mothers work in medium–high occupational positions. Higher levels of household income and the greater psychological well-being of working mothers partly explain the positive effect of maternal employment.