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'Neighbourhood effects': can we measure them and does it matter?


  • Lupton, Ruth


Renewed interest in disadvantaged neighbourhoods is generating increasing research activity. Current work includes qualitative community studies and quantitative investigations of area effects on individual outcomes. This paper criticises the contribution of area effects research to date. Methodological and data constraints mean that quantitative studies often operationalise a weak conception of neighbourhood that does not reflect the understanding gained from qualitative work. These constraints present a barrier to testing specific theories that might usefully inform policy, while exaggerated claims are made about the policy relevance of more generic work. The paper concludes that area effects should be accorded less significance in the broad debate on area-based policy. Multi-disciplinary work is needed to develop studies that can influence the design of specific programmes.

Suggested Citation

  • Lupton, Ruth, 2003. "'Neighbourhood effects': can we measure them and does it matter?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6327, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:6327

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    Cited by:

    1. Ive Marx & Brian Nolan & Javier Olivera, 2014. "The Welfare State and Anti-Poverty Policy in Rich Countries," Working Papers 1403, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    2. Raushan, Rajesh & Mutharayappa, R., 2014. "Neighbourhood development and caste distribution in rural India," Working Papers 326, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
    3. Sara Alidoust & Caryl Bosman & Gordon Holden & Heather Shearer & Leigh Shutter, 2017. "The spatial dimensions of neighbourhood: how older people define it," Journal of Urban Design, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(5), pages 547-567, September.
    4. Tunstall, Rebecca & Green, Anne & Lupton, Ruth & Watmough, Simon & Bates, Katie, 2014. "Does poor neighbourhood reputation create a neighbourhood effect on employment? The results of a field experiment in the UK," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 55913, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Marinus C. Deurloo & Sjoerd De Vos, 2008. "Measuring Segregation At The Micro Level: An Application Of The M Measure To Multiā€Ethnic Residential Neighbourhoods In Amsterdam," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 99(3), pages 329-347, July.
    6. David J. Madden, 2014. "Neighborhood as Spatial Project: Making the Urban Order on the Downtown Brooklyn Waterfront," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(2), pages 471-497, March.
    7. Michelle Norris & Cathal O'Connell, 2014. "Decline and Renewal of Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods: Old Insights, New Evidence and Policy Implications," Planning Practice & Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(4), pages 370-387, August.

    More about this item


    neighbourhood area effects;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General


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