Determinants, Dynamics and Policy Implications of Deep Poverty

Amidst a cost-of-living crisis, this project will explore the changing extent, nature and significance of deep poverty in the UK. Through a mixed-methods longitudinal design, the research will consider the varying ways in which deep poverty is distinctive from the more general challenges of living on a low income. 

A common assumption implicit across the social sciences is that the welfare, agency and civic participation of those below the poverty line is positively related to income in a linear fashion. However, this is rarely evidenced or systematically investigated. This seems particularly problematic given that there are known ceiling effects when it comes to the impact of increasing income on well-being at the top of the income distribution. It is possible that there are ‘cliff edges’ when it comes to the experiences and outcomes of those experiencing particularly acute forms of financial hardship over time. When incomes fall below a certain point, do key opportunities or securities dissolve away whilst others remain? Do the effects of deep poverty become compounding? Is the capacity to bounce back and transition out of poverty compromised as a result of experiencing deep poverty? Answers to these questions have potentially wide-ranging implications for how we come to 1) theorise poverty, 2) understand its dynamics, 3) rationalise interventions, and 4) evaluate policy outcomes. This project will generate new analysis across each of these domains, offering empirical, theoretical and policy lessons on deep poverty and low-income dynamics more generally. 

The focus and direction of the research will be informed by a project steering group made up of experts by experience, practitioners, campaigners and academics.

For further information about the project, watch this Leeds Social Sciences Short

Publications and outputs

Project website