Publications and Outputs

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.


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.

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.

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

British Journal of Criminology.


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.

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.