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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper

Wage Disparities in Britain: People or Place?


This paper investigates wage disparities across sub-national labour markets in Britain using a newly available microdata set. The findings show that wage disparity across areas is very persistent over time. While area effects play a role in this wage disparity, most of it is due to individual characteristics (sorting). Area effects contribute a very small percentage to the overall variation of wages and so are not very important for understanding overall levels of wage disparity. Specifically, in our preferred specification area effects explain less than 1% of overall wage variation. This share has remained roughly constant over the period 1998- 2008.


Steve Gibbons, Henry G. Overman and Panu Pelkonen

October 2010     Paper Number SERCDP0060

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This SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper is published under the centre's Urban programme.