Generation Rent and Supermarkets
Channel 5 programme “Inside Waitrose” and previous research has highlighted the “Waitrose effect” – the impact of retail brands on UK house prices, particularly in relation to the luxury brands.
However, this effect had only been considered in relation to house sales and purchase prices, not on the private rental market. Research done by CDRC researcher, Dr Stephen Clark, using Zoopla and GEOLYTIX data, has now addressed that market as well.
In order to hone in on a true retailer association, the research controlled for other aspects that make properties more desirable (confounders), such as the size of the property, the affluence and character of the neighborhood, access to services and the quality of local schools.
The model produced reassuring insights. Confounding variables all estimated the correct magnitude and influence on rental prices, e.g. higher rents for larger properties, in more affluent areas that are closer to good schools and railway stations. But the retail findings were also insightful. Waitrose did indeed have the strongest effect on rental prices (5.6% increase, for nearby convenience stores), with Marks & Spencer’s Simply Food close behind (5.1%). For medium to large stores, this effect was also strong – 11.1% for Waitrose and 8.7% for M&S.
For statistical reasons, it is only possible to claim an association between the retail brands in a neighbourhood and the rent for local private rental properties. To claim an actual causation requires more sophisticated statistical techniques. Initial investigations are proving positive. Further research considering the effect of the post-COVID-19 living, working, leisure and retail landscape would also be important.
Making crime estimates more accurate
The consequences of unchecked measurement error in crime statistics are grave. At its simplest, inaccurate crime counts can inhibit the effective allocation of resources for crime control. Inaccuracies can also impact on public trust, undermining the relationship between the police and public. Beyond this, failure to effectively recognise and adjust for measurement error can also have severe implications for the conclusions from academic research, with even mild forms of random measurement error affecting a single variable used in regression models leading to severely biased estimates, often in ways that are difficult to anticipate.
Two sources of crime data form the basis for these counts: police recorded crime figures and victim data from the annual Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW). CDRC researchers undertook a Re-counting Crime project to better understand the nature of the gaps in coverage of the two sources of crime data, explore the implications of relying on crime estimates prone to measurement error, develop adjustment methods and estimate new ‘corrected’ crime counts at the local area level.
Research papers: “The impact of measurement error in models using police recorded crime rates” (2021) and “Estimating crime in place: Moving beyond residence location” (2021)