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Investigating people-place effects in the UK using linked longitudinal survey and administrative data

Researchers: Dr Gundi Knies | Associate Professor Patricia Melo

Project overview


How does place shape people’s social and economic outcomes and does place matter for people’s subjective well-being? Living in deprived areas can hinder individuals’ future prospects, but is local disadvantage the underlying cause of poverty or the spatial manifestation of income determining where people live? To date, evidence based approaches to tackle poverty and inequality have been hindered by the challenges of identifying a causal relationship between residential location and individual outcomes – because of the complex non-random selection mechanisms by which people decide where to live.

This project will provide new evidence for the UK on the presence and relative contribution of place effects to individual social and economic outcomes. It will use longitudinal micro-data from Understanding Society: the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) and linked administrative data for small geographies at various scales to investigate the extent of area effects. The combination of large-scale longitudinal survey and administrative data will enable the development of sophisticated micro-econometric models, to better address some of the key identification issues affecting previous studies.

This project is one of three funded by the Nuffield Foundation that will be working closely together to better understand the drivers of individuals’ well-being.

  1. Investigating people-place effects in the UK
  2. Immigration and well-being
  3. The impact of ethnic diversity on well-being and health

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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