The effect of area based urban regeneration policies on fuel poverty: evidence from a natural experiment in Northern Ireland

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Energy Policy


Gretta Mohan, Alberto Longo and Frank Kee

Publication date


This paper studies the effect of the most extensive area based regeneration policy in Northern Ireland – Neighbourhood Renewal (NR) – on fuel poverty using a natural experiment approach. NR was launched in 2003 in Northern Ireland as a holistic area-based regeneration policy to improve the lives, prospects and environments of residents living in thirty-six of the nation's most deprived areas over a seven- to ten-year roll-out. Using data from the Northern Ireland Household Panel Survey and from the Understanding Society survey, the effect on fuel poverty during a twelve year period is investigated. Difference-in-difference regression modelling of the impact of NR on fuel poverty provides evidence of a 3.0% reduction in fuel poverty comparing respondents in NR areas with the rest of Northern Ireland and a 4.7% decline relative to a similarly deprived control group. When the effect on heterogeneous characteristics of the sample is explored, the analysis reveals that NR has been particularly effective in relieving fuel poverty among groups with lower qualifications, the retired and those receiving benefits, and has therefore contributed to a reduction in inequalities within the most deprived areas in Northern Ireland.

Volume and page numbers

114, 609-618





Area Effects, Regional Economics, Geography, Poverty, Living Standards, Public Policy and Household Economics