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Complexity, Poverty and Social Exclusion

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Presentation on theme: "Complexity, Poverty and Social Exclusion"— Presentation transcript:

1 Complexity, Poverty and Social Exclusion
Dr David Gordon Professor of Social Justice School for Policy Studies University of Bristol Complexity & the Real World Workshop Merchant Venturers Building, Rm 1.11 22nd June 2010

2 Web Site:

3 Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom: The 2011 Survey
The largest ever research project on Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom started on 1st April The ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) has funded this 42 month, £4.3 million pound investigation designed to advance the ‘state of the art’ of poverty and social exclusion measurement. The research team is one of the most experienced in poverty measurement methodology ever assembled in the UK. It is a major collaboration between researchers at Heriot-Watt University, the National Centre for Social Research, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, Open University, Queen's University Belfast, University of Bristol, University of Glasgow and the University of York.

4 Background Every decade since the late 1960s, UK social scientists have attempted to carry out an independent poverty survey to test out new ideas and incorporate current state of the art methods into UK poverty research. Poverty in the UK survey (Peter Townsend and colleagues), 1983 Poor Britain survey (Joanna Mack, Stewart Lansley) 1990 Breadline Britain survey (Joanna Mack, Stewart Lansley) 1999 Poverty and Social Exclusion Survey (Jonathan Bradshaw and colleagues) and its 2002 counterpart in Northern Ireland (Paddy Hillyard and colleagues) 2011 Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK -

5 Objectives To improve the measurement of poverty, deprivation, social exclusion and standard of living. To measure the change in the nature and extent of poverty and social exclusion over the past ten years. To produce policy-relevant results about the causes and outcomes of poverty and social exclusion.

6 The Terrible Costs of Poverty in Developing Countries

7 Age at death by age group, 1990-1995
Source: The State of the World Population 1998

8 Make Poverty History: Click Video

9 Death Toll of 20th Century Atrocities http://users. erols
Death toll of young children from poverty, 1990 to 1995 9

10 Cause of death for children under five
Only the good die young? – what kills children Cause of death for children under five Bars show estimated confidence interval

11 The Costs of Poverty in the UK


13 Economic Cost of Child Poverty in the UK
Child poverty costs the UK at least £25 billion a year, (equivalent to 2% of GDP) including £17 billion that could accrue to the Exchequer if child poverty were eradicated. Public spending to deal with the fallout of child poverty is about £12 billion a year, about 60 per cent of which goes on personal social services, school education and police and criminal justice. - The annual cost of below-average employment rates and earnings levels among adults who grew up in poverty is about £13 billion, of which £5 billion represents extra benefit payments and lower tax revenues; the remaining £8 billion is lost earnings to individuals, affecting gross domestic product (GDP).


15 Child Poverty in the UK The UK Government is committed to tackling the problem of child poverty. In March 1999, the Prime Minister Tony Blair set out a commitment to end child poverty forever: “And I will set out our historic aim that ours is the first generation to end child poverty forever, and it will take a generation. It is a 20-year mission but I believe it can be done. The Child Poverty Act 2010 has placed this policy commitment into UK law

16 Child Poverty Act 2010 Places in legislation the commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020, this means that UK Secretary of State will have a duty to meet the following child poverty targets: Relative poverty: Less than 10% of children living in relative low income poverty by 2020. Material Deprivation: Less than 5% of children living in combined material deprivation and low income. Absolute low income: Reduce the proportion of children who live in absolute low income to less than 5%. Persistent Poverty: percentage of children living in relative poverty for three out of four years (target level to be set by the end of 2014 as data are currently unavailable) Requires the UK Secretary of State to publish a UK child poverty strategy, which must be revised every three years.

17 Definition and Measurement

18 Scientific Definitions of Poverty
Poverty can be defined as; Command over insufficient resources over time The result of poverty is deprivation

19 Peter Townsend’s concept of dynamic poverty
“poverty is a dynamic, not a static concept…Our general theory, then, should be that individuals and families whose resources over time fall seriously short of the resources commanded by the average individual or family in the community in which they live are in poverty.” Townsend (1962, p 219)

20 Uni-dimensional Poverty Measurement - Low Income in Britain 1961-2003

21 Foster, Greer and Thorbecke (FGT) index
where: Pα is the level of poverty n is the population size Q is the number of poor z is the poverty line yi is the per capita household income and α has a normative value that can be set at different levels according to the importance one attaches to the lowest living standards.

22 Modal Deprivation by Logarithm of Income as a Percentage
of Supplementary Benefit Scale Rates (Townsend, 1979)

23 Definition of poverty

24 Dynamics of poverty

25 Lotka-Volterra (Predator-Prey) Model
If we let R(t) and L(t) represent the number of rabbits and Canadian Lynx, respectively, that are alive at time t, then the Lotka-Volterra model is: dR/dt = a*R - b*R*L dL/dt = e*b*R*L - c*L where the parameters are defined by: a is the natural growth rate of Rabbits in the absence of predation, c is the natural death rate of Lynx in the absence of food (Rabbits), b is the death rate per encounter of Rabbits due to predation, e is the efficiency of turning predated Rabbits into Lynx. This is a simple first order non-linear differential model – when extended to multiple species it exhibits chaotic dynamic behaviour Key ref: May, R. (1974) Stability and Complexity in Model Ecosystems, Princeton U. Press, NJ.

26 Poverty Groups

27 Reasons why people do not participate in socially necessary activities
(%) Can t afford to 47 Not interested 44 Lack of time due to childcare responsibilities 18 Too old, ill, sick or disabled 14 Lack of time due to paid work No one to go out with (social) 6 No vehicle poor public transport 5 Lack of time due to other caring responsibilities 4 Fear of burglary or vandalism 3 Fear of personal attack Can t go out due to other caring responsibilities 2 Problems with physical access 1 Feel unwelcome (e.g. due to disability ethnicity, gender, age, etc) None of these 8 Source: PSE 1999, Multiple responses allowed

28 The Bristol Social Exclusion Matrix (B-SEM)

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