IGP Stories

Ethnicity and prosperity in east London

PROCOL UK Prosperity Index Europe

Dr Saffron Woodcraft

28 January 2022

Black and minority ethnic groups reported lower scores in a study using new measures of prosperity devised by researchers.

At the Institute of Global Prosperity (IGP) we have been rethinking what prosperity means for people around the globe, and to challenge the structural features of the economy and the values upon which they are built. The IGP was founded in 2015 and is now deep into the task of creating more accurate indicators of prosperity than gross domestic product (GDP), which focuses narrowly on economic activity. In 2021, we took another step forward, testing this work in a key paper on what relationship these new definitions of prosperity had with regard to ethnicity in East London.

Most indicators and metrics – especially those used to measure economic performance and guide policy-making – are decided by experts in government, academia and business. This centralised, top-down approach denies communities the opportunity to participate fully in their society and economy, and instead compounds their experience of economic and social inequality with a sense of exclusion. We started this work in East London for good reason. The Olympics were held there in 2012 and its legacy was supposed to be about the socio-economic regeneration of East London which would genuinely influence the people of the area.

Since 2015, we have worked with a team of citizen social scientists and community organisations, to carry out research with hundreds of people living in five East London neighbourhoods. Working together, they have co-created a completely new definition of prosperity. Rather than outmoded measures of growth, productivity and income, this research identified 15 headline indicators of prosperity reflecting the actual experience of prosperity for the people in these places.

Read the full article in the Bartlett Annual Review

Photo credit: Patricia Gabalova

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