Practitioner Workshop: Regional Disparities in the UK: Policy and Practice

Friday, 8 November, 2019 - 12:30 to 18:30
National Institute of Economic and Social Research
2 Dean Trench Street
SW1P 3HE London
United Kingdom





Part of the Festival of Social Science 2019 at NIESR


Jagjit Chadha, Director of NIESR, is delighted to host this event where we will explore regional and other place-based disparities in the UK. We aim to discuss how spatial disparities are underpinned by processes of political marginalisation and inequality in economic opportunities, and whether the perceptions that they create are increasingly critical to Britain’s economic and political development. This half-day event will bring together researchers from NIESR, Glasgow and Cardiff universities as well as other research institutions, business and policy agencies from throughout the UK. It is our aim to describe ways in which current research is addressing regional issues to work out priorities for policy and forge new partnerships for future work.



Regional consequences of new digital infrastructure; Can Welsh SMEs gain an edge from access and adoption of superfast broadband?” 

  • Annette Roberts (University of Cardiff) and Max Munday (University of Cardiff)

Annette and Max will be talking about the effects of changes in ICT infrastructure on Welsh SMEs and some of the problems in linking new infrastructure to business performance. Their presentation is based on current research funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Welsh Government, through which Cardiff University is monitoring the performance of SMEs who have successfully adopted the opportunities provided by super-fast broadband roll out in Wales. In the presentation the authors are also seeking to set the research in context of economic problems facing the regional economy. 


Aspirations Failure and the Inclusive Economy” 

  • Sayantan Ghosal (University of Glasgow)

The backlash against globalization (and in extremis, open societies and democracy) has been well documented. For example, Milanovic (2016) has shown that between 1988 and 2011, those between the 80th and 95th percentiles in high incme countries have suffered stagnant real incomes (the skilled workers and middle classes in high-income countries) while the global top one per cent (the top 12 per cent of Americans, the top 5 per cent of British) has seen real income increases of around 40 per cent. One underexplored point of departure is Hirschman's notion "tunnel effect" which describes the initial social tolerance of an inequality generating process followed by a backlash: if the moment of catching up does not arrive the initial tolerance can give way to feelings of frustration, possibly resulting in social and political unrest. This paper develops a theoretical model to capture this point. The model is used to examine the drivers of frustration and backlash against a background of persistent inequality in economic opportunities and, via calibration, quantify their welfare impacts.  


Socio-professional class disparities and inequality under peer pressure” 

  • Konstantinos Angelopoulos (University of Glasgow), Jim Malley (University of Glasgow) and Spyridon Lazarakis (Lancaster University)

We analyse quantitatively inequality between and within clusters of households defined by socio-professional class. To do so, we develop and calibrate to British data a theoretical framework where the cross-sectional distributions of hours, earnings, wealth and consumption are determined jointly with a set of expenditure targets determining peer pressure for members of different social classes. This allows us to study how disparities between social clusters in terms of wages, as well as wage and mobility risk, interact with social factors to generate observed inequality.


Where: NIESR

WhenFriday 8 November, from 13.00 to 17.30

12.30 - 1.00 PM - Registration

1:00 - 2:00 PM     Lunch

2:00 - 2:10 PM     Introduction

2:10 - 2:30 PM     Presentation: Annette Roberts (Cardiff) & Max Munday (Cardiff)

2:30 - 2:50 PM     Presentation: Sayantan Ghosal (Glasgow)

2:50 - 3:10 PM     Presentation: Konstantinos Angelopoulos (Glasgow)

3:10 - 3:30 PM     Coffee and Tea

3.30 - 5:00 PM     Panel discussion: Tony Venables (Oxford), Yael Selfin (NIESR and KPMG), Ron Martin (Cambridge), and Enrico Vanino (Sheffield) Chaired by David Nguyen (NIESR)

5:00 PM               Drinks and nibbles


This workshop will be followed by drinks to mark the launch of the NIESR IAA Regional Unit.  


Registration: The event is free but places are limited. Please RSVP at foss [at] to secure a place.

Please note: Due to the nature of NIESR's Grade II listed building, we are unable to provide step-free access to our facilities and the Library is not currently accessible to wheelchair users, or those with limited mobility. We apologise for the inconvenience. Please do let us know in advance how we can assist your visit to the Institute – we are happy to discuss alternative arrangement in order to access our events.