144 Views

Sussex academic sparks national row

Richard Dickens has caused national controversy (photo: sussex.ac.uk)

Richard Dickens has caused national controversy (photo: sussex.ac.uk)

A Sussex academic has been the focus of a political storm in recent weeks as his study has been used by the government to claim that inequality in the UK is improving.

Richard Dickens, the Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE, has written in a study claiming that ‘after a very long period of increase, there is some evidence that inequity is finally falling due to increases in employment among women in particular’.

The study, titled “The changing patterns of earnings: employees, migrants and low-paid families”, was last week used by the government to support their economic policies. Liam Byrne, Labour party former minister said that ‘Despite the huge economic, social and political changes between 1970 and 2000, social mobility in Britain did not rise. Since 2000 new evidence suggests this might be beginning to change.’ The study has been seen as an endorsement of current Labour policies of tax credits as Dickens writes that ‘Earnings mobility also appears to be on the increase after a long period of decline. Tax credits have led to increases in employment and job retention, increasing the incomes of many low-income families.’

But the Conservative party have attacked Mr Dickens’ study as government propaganda. Chris Grayling, the Conservative Shadow work and Pensions Secretary condemned the new study as a ‘fractional improvement’ and also questions ‘if, indeed that fractional improvement even exists outside the Downing Street spin machine’.

Interestingly, in an interview with The Badger Dickens agrees that the government have been ‘misleading’ in the way they used the data, and that Chris Grayling makes a ‘valid point’. He was quick to stress that his article is focussed on pay mobility increasing year by year rather than across generations; thus, in this sense is ‘not about social mobility’. He highlighted the difference between his type of study and the Cohort study which follows individuals through their lifetime from birth. There have been Cohort studies in 1958, 1970 and in the more recent year of 2000 which is currently ongoing. Consequently there is only ‘weak evidence’ about mobility across generations so far.

Mr Dickens’ study analyses the earnings between a large group of people over a period of 30 years and the results show that wage mobility (how much a person’s earnings has varied from year to year) have generally

risen since 2000. But whilst wage mobility has risen, long-run inequity (the difference between how much the poorest and richest people earn over number of years) has fallen suggesting the beginnings of social mobility. However the 1980s and early 1990s were criticised as a period when a large increase in the inequality of earnings, income and distribution of work resulted in up to a third of British children living in comparative poverty in 1997.

Mr Dickens cites the changing role of women as the key to the narrowing of the inequity gap. In the late 1970s women had a much lower earning mobility than men, but by 2005 it was generally higher than that of their male counterparts. The study also investigates the social mobility of migrant workers, who generally start on lower pay than their British counterparts.

Europeans are catching up the fastest, whereas Asian men seem to show little or no signs of mobility at all. Dickens also acknowledges that the Government have ‘a lot of policies are geared towards it

Follow Us

’ and that ‘Social class background has a big impact’.

But while it appears that there may be clear statistical evidence that social mobility is beginning to change over recent years, economic decline may reverse this trend. Professors Nick Bosanquet and Lucy Parsons have claimed that ‘the recession could be a new and extensive block on social mobility.’ At the moment the change in mobility is only just starting taking shape; it is in its ‘fractional’ beginnings.

In later years however, further studies including the year 2000 Cohort study will give us a better picture of the changing nature of social mobility in the UK.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
720 views1
Campus News
720 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
165 views
Arts
165 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
184 views
Arts
184 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
179 views
Arts
179 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
221 views
Arts
221 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
223 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
218 views
Arts
218 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
209 views
Arts
209 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
332 views
Campus News
332 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
169 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
461 views
Arts
461 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
208 views
Arts
208 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
308 views
Artist Focus
308 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
215 views
Interview
215 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
293 views
Arts
293 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
332 views
Arts
332 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
370 views
Arts
370 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
269 views
Artist Focus
269 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
281 views
Books
281 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
367 views
Science
367 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
337 views
News
337 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…