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Taking the guesswork out of public policy thinking

Monday 17 February, 6pm
Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House 

All governments have a tendency to act through hunch, guess-work and political bias far more than they need to. In his new book The Scientific Study of Society, LSE academic Max Steuer makes the case for wider use of social science in public policy.

On Monday 17 February, Steuer will give a lecture at LSE marking the launch of the book, which has a foreword by Ken Binmore, the organiser of the Broad Band Auction. Steuer shows how the five core social sciences - anthropology, economics, political science, social psychology and sociology - each in their own way, go about exploring a sample of key social topics. By examining the journal literature of the past ten years on crime, money, the family, migration, housing and religion, he shows by example how to distinguish genuine social science from social prophecy, social poetry, and downright nonsense.

'While economics is reasonably well established in public policy, the other social sciences typically are under used. Often too much use is made of lawyers as all-purpose experts, and this can have unfortunate consequences,' he said.

Professor Anthony Giddens, Director of LSE, will chair the event, which is free and open to all. The lecture will contain a question and answer period, and will be followed by an informal reception. No ticket is required.

Ends

Contact: Max Steuer, LSE, on 020 7955 7521 or email: m.steuer@lse.ac.uk| 

To reserve a press ticket or request an interview with Max Steuer, contact Judith Higgin on 020 7955 7060 or email j.a.higgin@lse.ac.uk| 

Notes:

Max Steuer is currently attached to the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at LSE. Since joining the LSE Economics Department in 1959, he has been an academic governor, and dean of the Graduate School. He initiated the Cities Programme at LSE, played a major role in developing the taught MSc at LSE and also promoted the concept of the PhD Programme. Among his publications are The Impact of Foreign Direct Investment on the United Kingdom, Mathematical Sociology and Miracles and Alien Abduction.

George A. Akerlof, Goldman Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkleley and 2001 Nobel Prize winner in Economics said: 'This great book by Max Steuer uniquely approaches a variety of important questions, including crime, housing, money, migration, religion and the family, from the viewpoint of all the five major social sciences. It is dense with fascinating facts and viewpoints. It is a must read for every practitioner and user of social science, as it is a much needed counterweight to the overspecialization of almost all social science.'

4 February 2003

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