10 Years On is a civil society initiative to mark a decade since the global financial crisis. We’re working with a network of organisations to Change Finance: demanding a sustainable financial system where the banking sector first and foremost serves the best interests of people and the planet.
As part of this campaign, researchers at Positive Money have built an online calculator, whatamiowed.org, which provides an estimate of the total additional income individuals would have received over the decade if the financial crash and subsequent public spending cuts hadn’t happened.
The calculator has been generated using two datasets from official statistical releases: the Department for Work and Pensions’ Households Below Average Income (HBAI) and the Office for National Statistics’ Effects of Taxes and Benefits on Household Income (ETB).
The calculation performed is based on information about changes in household income for each quintile (blocks of 20%, when households are arranged in order) of the distribution of disposable income . The values used are before accounting for housing costs.
Respondents are first sorted into the appropriate quintile, based on ETB figures, according to their reported salary in the financial year ending in 2017. These figures provide the average value of wages and salaries and the average disposable income for households in each quintile, as well as the value of disposable income at the lower bounds.
HBAI data provide annual disposable income figures for the median of each quintile, stretching back to 1995. Once a respondent is sorted into the appropriate quintile, the calculator estimates that household’s disposable income each year backwards to 2008, assuming it grew each year at the same rate as the median household in that quintile.
Then, this estimate for the household’s income in 2008 is projected forward at an annual growth rate equal to the average in the decade before the crisis. The resultant value for disposable income in 2017 is the alternative scenario, representing how well off the respondent would have been if the past decade had been like the pre-crisis decade for income growth.
The total income for each year between 2008 and 2017 in the ‘back-cast’ is compared to the alternative scenario where growth was equal to the pre-crisis average. The total the respondent is estimated to have lost is the sum of the differences, adjusted for inflation (as measured by the annual Consumer Price Index, published by the ONS).
 The household disposable income values in each survey dataset are ‘equivalised’, meaning the number and age of household members are accounted for.