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Cultural and economic discrimination by the Great Leveller

Annie Tubadji, Don Webber () and Frédéric Boy

Regional Science Policy & Practice, 2021, vol. 13, issue S1, 198-216

Abstract: The UK has experienced substantial income and wealth inequalities at the individual and regional levels. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic reveals how inherited domestic economic and cultural disparities lead to greater vulnerability, even in front of the ‘Great Leveller’. We argue that the geography of the pandemic in the UK follows the geography of deprivation and cultural and economic discrimination that existed before the pandemic. We demonstrate this through analysis of multiple deprivation and cultural (ethnic) concentration data, unemployment claims, and small business statistics, as well as lung cancer deaths in non‐pandemic times and weekly death statistics during the early part of the pandemic (3/1/2020 until 27/03/2020) across England and Wales. We apply data decomposition analysis to detect this discrimination and map it against the geography of the pandemic. Our study not only illustrates the geography of the pandemic disease but also demonstrates how past cultural and economic discrimination creates vulnerable groups and places among the general public in times of exogenous shocks. Finally, we discuss our findings in light of the emerging impact of Brexit.

Date: 2021
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https://doi.org/10.1111/rsp3.12456

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