Aaron is a sociologist with interests in public health, culture, and political economy. His research is focused on understanding the causes and consequences of social and economic inequality across countries. He joined DSPI in March 2018. Since 2016 Aaron has been an Associate Professorial Research Fellow in Poverty and Inequality at LSE's International Inequalities Institute. Prior to that he was Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Oxford, where he was also a research fellow at Nuffield College. He has also worked briefly at the University of Cambridge. He completed his PhD in Applied Social & Economic Research with the Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex in 2013.
Aaron's research interests are in three main areas: 1) the political economy of health, 2) the political and cultural consequences of the mass media, and 3) the cultural politics of class.
His research on the political economy of health has used natural experiments to understand whether poverty reduction policies affect health and alter health inequalities. Relatedly, he has published on the influence of the Great Recession and austerity policies on health in Europe and North America. His work on the media has begun tracing the economic, social, and political factors shaping attitudes toward the welfare state and people on welfare in the UK, with a specific focus on how the media shapes these narratives. Finally, he has used interview data, small-scale experiments, and large-scale surveys, to explore the cultural politics of class, examining how social inequalities are linked with economic inequalities.
Aaron is currently involved in a JRF-funded project examining the relationship between inequalities of various kinds and poverty. It will investigate areas such as the consequences of living in an unequal society for the lives of those in poverty; how people's prospects of social mobility are affected if parental resources are unequally distributed between families; the links between poverty, inequality and geographical and neighbourhood segregation; how inequality affects risks of poverty for different groups, such as by ethnicity, gender, disability and migration status; and the political and attitudinal effects of inequality for support (or otherwise) for effective collective action against poverty.
Democracy, Europe, Health Equity, Health Policy, Health Services Accessibility, Humans, Life Expectancy, Socioeconomic Factors, Sustainable Development
The real inequalities
EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Can inequalities in political participation explain health inequalities?
Social science & medicine (1982)
Inequalities in health are pervasive and durable, but they are not uniform. To date, however, the drivers of these between-country patters in health inequalities remain largely unknown. In this analysis, we draw on data from 17 European countries to explore whether inequalities in political participation, that is, inequalities in voting by educational attainment, are correlated with health inequalities. Over and above a range of relevant confounders, such as GDP, income inequality, health spending, social protection spending, poverty rates, and smoking, greater inequalities in political participation remain correlated with higher health inequalities. If 'politicians and officials are under no compulsion to pay much heed to classes and groups of citizens that do not vote' then political inequalities could indirectly affect health through its impact on policy choices that determine who has access to the resources necessary for a healthy life. Inequalities in political participation, then, may well be one of the 'causes of the causes' of ill-health.
Humans, Mortality, Politics, Socioeconomic Factors, Europe, Female, Male, Health Status Disparities
The rise of hunger among low-income households: an analysis of the risks of food insecurity between 2004 and 2016 in a population-based study of UK adults.
Journal of epidemiology and community health
<h4>Background</h4>Rising food bank use in the past decade in the UK raises questions about whether food insecurity has increased. Using the 2016 Food and You survey, we describe the magnitude and severity of the problem, examine characteristics associated with severity of food insecurity, and examine how vulnerability has changed among low-income households by comparing 2016 data to the 2004 Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey.<h4>Methods</h4>The Food and You survey is a representative survey of adults living in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (n=3118). Generalised ordered logistic regression models were used to examine how socioeconomic characteristics related to severity of food insecurity. Coarsened exact matching was used to match respondents to respondents in the 2004 survey. Logistic regression models were used to examine if food insecurity rose between survey years.<h4>Results</h4>20.7% (95% CI 18.7% to 22.8%) of adults experienced food insecurity in 2016, and 2.72% (95% CI 2.07% to 3.58%) were severely food insecure. Younger age, non-white ethnicity, low education, disability, unemployment, and low income were all associated with food insecurity, but only the latter three characteristics were associated with severe food insecurity. Controlling for socioeconomic variables, the probability of low-income adults being food insecure rose from 27.7% (95% CI 24.8% to 30.6 %) in 2004 to 45.8% (95% CI 41.6% to 49.9%) in 2016. The rise was most pronounced for people with disabilities.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Food insecurity affects economically deprived groups in the UK, but unemployment, disability and low income are characteristics specifically associated with severe food insecurity. Vulnerability to food insecurity has worsened among low-income adults since 2004, particularly among those with disabilities.
Humans, Nutrition Surveys, Population Surveillance, Cross-Sectional Studies, Hunger, Family Characteristics, Age Factors, Minority Groups, Poverty, Socioeconomic Factors, Food Supply, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Disabled Persons, Educational Status, Unemployment, Income, Female, Male, Young Adult, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom, Food Insecurity
Aaron would welcome applications for D.Phils from students who are committed to policy-relevant research and are interested in using quantitative methods – and quasi-experimental research designs in particular – to shed light on pressing social problems, such as welfare reform, the role of the media in society, and how social inequalities are (re)produced.