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Estimating the impacts of area regeneration programmes in Scotland on health and unemployment: a quasi-experimental approach

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Daryll Archibald, Zhiqiang Feng, Elspeth Graham

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The last three decades have seen significant investment in area-based initiatives in the UK to regenerate areas experiencing multiple disadvantage. However, there is a dearth of robust evidence on the impacts that area regeneration has on residents’ lives. This is particularly so in the case of the Scottish Area Regeneration Partnership (SARP) Programmes initiated in the mid-1990s, the original evaluation of which was beset by a lack of baseline data and poor data collection through the life of the programmes. This study investigated if residents who lived in SARP areas had improved health and employment outcomes compared to individuals living in similarly disadvantaged areas that had not been subject to regeneration over a ten-year period (1991-2001). A quasi experiment was undertaken using data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study. Propensity score matching was used to identify comparator areas and a Difference in Differences analysis was conducted to investigate the impacts of the SARP programmes for three outcomes: limiting long-term illness, hospital admissions and unemployment. No positive (or negative) programme impact was found on any of the outcomes assessed. Thus, residents in SARP areas over the study period did not see their health and employment prospects improve compared with residents in similarly disadvantaged non-regeneration comparator areas.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalPeople, Place and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2019

    Research areas

  • Area regeneration, Health, Unemployment, Programme evaluation, Quasi-experiment, Scotland

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