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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper

The Economics of Super-Diversity: Findings from British Cities, 2001-2006


British cities have a surprisingly long history of cultural diversity. Recently they have become significantly more multicultural, with ‘super-diversity’ emerging in many urban neighbourhoods. Public interest in these changes is high, but there has been little research assessing their impacts. This paper makes two contributions to the field. First, it assembles new data on UK urban areas 2001-6, using an innovative cultural-ethno-linguistic (CEL) measure of cultural diversity alongside more traditional measures. Second, it tests links between diversity, wages and employment rates at the urban level. As suggested by theory and international evidence, I find some positive associations between super-diversity and UK urban economic performance.


Max Nathan

February 2011     Paper Number SERCDP0068

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