Economy and Society

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    Austerity in English local government: why collaboration was not the answer after all

Austerity in English local government: why collaboration was not the answer after all

To cope with austerity, local councils were encouraged to pool resources and share back-office administration (e.g. legal counsel and internal audit). Was this type of collaboration worth it? Thomas Elston and Ruth Dixon find no evidence that sharing administration or tax services has helped councils manage budget cuts.

Whether by historical standards, or compared with other parts of the public sector, […]

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    Gender pay gap reporting: the agenda for change needs to be broadened and deepened

Gender pay gap reporting: the agenda for change needs to be broadened and deepened

While the mandatory pay gap reporting regulations introduced in 2016 have led to some shocking revelations, their scope needs to be broadened as well as deepened, argues Susan Milner. She writes that the pace of change is slow, while labour market changes mean that more and more women remain trapped in low-paid, low-hours employment.

On 4 April, the second round […]

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    Economic voting and party positions: when and how wealth matters for the vote

Economic voting and party positions: when and how wealth matters for the vote

Does the ownership of economic assets matter for how people vote? Drawing on new research, Timothy Hellwig and Ian McAllister find the answer is yes. They argue that by changing their policy positions, parties can shape the influence of asset ownership on voter decisions.

The politics of asset ownership have received much attention in the aftermath of the Great Recession […]

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    Low income households under austerity: a notable rise in debt for essential needs

Low income households under austerity: a notable rise in debt for essential needs

Looking at low income household indebtedness in austerity Britain, Hulya Dagdeviren and Jiayi Balasuriya find that the poorest households have experienced the greatest growth in unsecured debt to income ratio. More importantly, unlike the pre-crisis period when debt reflected a desire ‘to keep up with the Joneses’, in recent years there has been a rise in debt for essential […]

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    The alleged simplicity of Universal Credit and the lived experience of benefit claimants

The alleged simplicity of Universal Credit and the lived experience of benefit claimants

Kate Summers and David Young challenge the assumed simplicity of Universal Credit by focusing on its single monthly payment design. They draw on two empirical studies of means-tested benefit claimants in order to explain how short-termism is a crucial tool for those managing social security benefits.
At its heart, Universal Credit is very simple

Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions […]

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    Austerity politics, global neoliberalism, and the official discourse within the IMF

Austerity politics, global neoliberalism, and the official discourse within the IMF

Is austerity a ‘dream come true’ for neoliberals, or did the global financial crisis force policymakers to question neoliberalism’s core principles and change direction? Focusing on speeches by members of the International Monetary Fund, Kevin Farnsworth and Zoë Irving find little to suggest that the fundamental assumptions of neoliberalism have been displaced.

It is now over ten years since the […]

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    The Leaving of Liverpool: managed decline and the enduring legacy of Thatcherism’s urban policy

The Leaving of Liverpool: managed decline and the enduring legacy of Thatcherism’s urban policy

Simon Parker looks at the government’s response to civil disorder in Liverpool in the 1980s and specifically at the policy of “managed decline”. This, he explains, involved the abandonment of a damaged part of the city in order to preserve the healthy remainder. Such strategies still influence policy circles, and therefore remain a threat.
Alone, every night … I would […]

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    David Cameron, David Beckham, and the UK’s social mobility problem

David Cameron, David Beckham, and the UK’s social mobility problem

Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin explain how Britain has become less mobile, particularly at the top and bottom of society.

One David was born in a terraced house in East London, his father a kitchen fitter, his mother a hairdresser. The other David grew up in an idyllic village in the English countryside, his father a stockbroker, his mother […]