Living apart, losing sympathy? How neighbourhood context affects attitudes to redistribution and to welfare recipients

Bailey, N. , Gannon, M., Kearns, A. , Livingston, M. and Leyland, A.H. (2013) Living apart, losing sympathy? How neighbourhood context affects attitudes to redistribution and to welfare recipients. Environment and Planning A, 45(9), pp. 2154-2175. (doi:10.1068/a45641)

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Rising levels of income inequality have been directly linked to rising levels of spatial segregation. In this paper, we explore whether rising segregation may in turn erode support for the redistributive policies of the welfare state, further increasing levels of inequality – a form of positive feedback. The role of the neighbourhood has been neglected in attitudes research but, building on both political geography and ‘neighbourhood effects’ literatures, we theorise that neighbourhood context may shape attitudes through the transmission of attitudes directly and through the accumulation of relevant knowledge. We test this through multilevel modelling of data from England on individual attitudes to redistribution in general and to welfare benefit recipients in particular. We show that the individual factors shaping these attitudes are quite different and that the influence of neighbourhood context also varies as a result. The findings support the idea that neighbourhood context shapes attitudes, with the knowledge accumulation mechanism likely to be the more important. Rising spatial segregation would appear to erode support for redistribution but to increase support for welfare recipients – at least in a context where the dominant media discourse presents such a stigmatising image of those on welfare benefits.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kearns, Professor Ade and Bailey, Professor Nick and Livingston, Dr Mark and Gannon, Ms Maria and Leyland, Professor Alastair
Authors: Bailey, N., Gannon, M., Kearns, A., Livingston, M., and Leyland, A.H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Environment and Planning A
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Pion
First Published:First published in Environment and Planning A 45
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
535501The impact of neighbourhood context on attitudes to inequality and redistributionNick BaileyEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/I005684/1SPS - URBAN STUDIES