Regional Aggregation and Economic Performance: The Relative Position of Scotland

Back in 2019, Boris Johnson promised to “unite and level up” different regions of the UK. In particular, Johnson promised to boost economic prosperity in “left-behind” regions, outside London and the South East.

Given that the UK has one of the highest levels of regional income inequality across developed countries, a leveling up agenda could support inclusive growth.

But where does Scotland fit into this picture?

At first glance, Scotland has income levels close to the UK average. However, when looking at smaller regions within Scotland, income levels vary widely.

This becomes clear when looking at Gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) data, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). GDHI per head is a good proxy for material welfare, as it measures individual disposable income, after taxes and benefits. It is available for three levels of regional aggregation.

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