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Poverty Dynamics in Rural Britain 1991-2008: Did Labour's Social Policy Reforms Make a Difference?

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


This paper uses data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) to examine whether poverty dynamics changed in rural and urban Britain between 1991 and 2008, prior to the economic crisis. In addition to descriptive statistics, poverty exit and re-entry hazard models are estimated to assess the effect of household and personal characteristics, place of residence and participation in social policy programmes (benefits) on the time spent in poverty. Particular attention is paid to the election of the 'New Labour' government in 1997 and the impact of its social policy reforms. The analysis reveals that rural poverty is not a rare experience with half the population of rural Britain experiencing poverty at some point over this period. While the risk of poverty affected a much higher proportion than previously thought, both rural and urban poverty fell from 1999 when Labour began to introduce its spending programme and reforms, with rural poverty falling faster than urban. Our analysis suggests these policy reforms played an important role in rural dwellers' increasing mobility out of poverty and in decreasing mobility back into poverty during 1999-2007.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Vera-Toscano V, Shucksmith M, Brown D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Rural Studies

Year: 2020

Volume: 75

Pages: 216-228

Print publication date: 01/04/2020

Online publication date: 14/02/2020

Acceptance date: 04/02/2020

Date deposited: 09/03/2020

ISSN (print): 0743-0167

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2020.02.003


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