British Living Standards



Our Staff

This project is a result of collaboration between the Departments of Economics and History at the University of Sussex. It also involves working with the Economic and Social Research Council and The National Archive, as well as collaborations with academics at the universities of Cambridge, Reading and Southampton, among others. The main investigators are Prof. Ian Gazeley (PI), Professor of Economic History and Prof. Andrew Newell (Co-I), Professor of Economics.

Prof. Ian Gazeley has based much of his research on the construction and analysis of micro-datasets from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His work is clustered around the themes of British pay inequality and living standards measurement. He has extracted and analysed the data relating to food consumption and nutrition from late nineteenth century and early twentieth century social surveys, including the survey carried out by the United States Commissioner of Labor 1890-91, which was the largest household survey of the nineteenth century (1,021 British households), as well as the more well-know surveys carried out by Charles Booth and Seebohm Rowntree. He is author of Poverty in Britain (2003), and many journal articles on British living standards.

Prof. Andrew Newell is Deputy Head of the School of Business, Management and Economics at Sussex. He is a labour economist who has investigated the causes of changes in the distributions of incomes, wages and employment in many countries and periods of history. His early research examined the causes of unemployment in the economically advanced countries in the 1930s and the 1980s. Later he contributed a sequence of widely-cited papers analysing the emerging distributions of earnings in Eastern European countries in transition from communism. He has also published research on labour and productivity issues with respect to small-scale agriculture in developing countries. Newell has acted as a consultant to the World Bank, the UN Development Programme, the International Labour Office and UNICEF. Gazeley and Newell have been working together on living standards, unemployment and wages for over ten years are co-editors and contributors to Work and Pay in 20th Century Britain (Oxford: 2007).

The Technical Director of the project is Dr. Michael Hawkins. Since completing his PhD on Thomas Willis's neurocartography of the passions in 2004 at the Centre for History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College, London, he has served as Technical Director of the Newton Project and Enlightening Science (both at the University of Sussex) and Livingstone Online at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL. He is currently also the Technical Director of the Casebooks Project in the History and Philosophy of Science Department at the University of Cambridge. When not immersed in technical issues, he has taught in the Department of History at the University of Sussex and the MSc programme at the Centre for History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College.

Dr. Mintewab Bezabih is the Economics Research Fellow on the project. Previously she was Economics Research Officer at the Centre for the Management and Economics of Aquatic Resources, University of Portsmouth. Her main research interests are biodiversity and climate change, performance of rural land markets, and fisheries economics. Her works included biodiversity in relation with adaptation to climate change, management of multispecies fisheries under the risk of collapse, land markets and contracts, and gender issues. Prior to joining the University of Portsmouth, Mintewab Bezabih was an EEU-Sida PhD scholar, and obtained her PhD in April 2007.

Dr. Kevin Reynolds is a History Research Fellow on this project. He was awarded an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award to work at the University of Sussex and the Imperial War Museum. He was awarded his Phd in January 2012. The title of his dissertation was 'That Justice Be Seen: The American use of film at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, 1945-6'. His research entailed traveling to a number of countries including the United States and involved a considerable volume of digital photography in the archives.

Dr. Rebecca Searle is a History Research Fellow on this project. After completing her MA in Contemporary History at the University of Sussex, Rebecca was awarded an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum and the University of Sussex. Her thesis explored how aerial warfare was represented in Britain during the Second World War and demonstrated the ways in which our understanding of such cultural forms can be significantly enhanced by embedding their analysis within the economic, military, technological and experiential histories of the period. Rebecca was awarded her DPhil in December 2010. Through her work on this project, Rebecca is keen to pursue her interest in the history of mid-twentieth century Britain and explore how understandings of poverty in this period can be enriched by bringing quantitative and qualitative sources into dialogue.

Dr. Samantha Shave is a History Research Fellow on this project. After studying geography as an undergraduate at the University of Southampton, Samantha Shave moved to the School of Social Sciences to further her research interests in the history of social policy and welfare - as broadly defined. Samantha was awarded a 1+3 ESRC Competition Award in 2005 and has since completed an MSc in Social Policy and obtained a doctorate on the poor laws in the south of England, c.1780-1850. She is interested in the social science concept of the ‘policy process’, our changing understandings of poverty and individuals’ experiences of being poor. She is keen to take her experience of using sources which contain the ‘voice’ of the poor into analyses of poverty in the twentieth century.