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Department of Social Policy

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Department of Social Policy
2nd Floor, Old Building
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE


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The Department of Social Policy is the longest established in the UK. The Department prides itself in being able to offer teaching based on the highest quality empirical research in the field. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the UK's nationwide assessment of research quality, impact and environment, which is undertaken every six to seven years, the Department was ranked first in the UK for world leading and internationally excellent research and was also awarded the joint highest marks for the non-academic impacts of its work. When adjusted to take account of the high proportion of staff submitted to REF, it is the number one UK Social Policy Department for overall research quality.
The Population Association of America Annual Meeting 2015

Members of Department presenting research at this year's Population Association of America's Annual Meeting|

The Population Association of America (PAA) is a non-profit, professional organisation that promotes research on population issues. The PAA Annual Meeting is the largest annual research conference on population, with hundreds of presentation and posters on population research.

Nine members of the Department of Social Policy are presenting their research at this year's  Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. They include Dr Barclay, Ms Batyra, Dr Coast, Dr Goisis, Professor Grundy, Dr Herman, Ms Mariani, Professor Myrskyla and Ms Vaisanen. 

Boomerang Students

No such thing as an empty nest when it comes to graduates|

An LSE study looking at the relationship between parents and their adult children returning to live at home after university has revealed mixed experiences.

Parents are usually more negative then their children, many of whom are unaware of their parents' dissatisfaction, according to Professor Jane Lewis| from LSE's Department of Social Policy, who led the study.

Professor Sir Julian Le Grand

New Research Impact Case Study- Creating incentives to improve public services|

Innovative policy ideas from Professor Sir Julian Le Grand|, Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy, and LSE researchers inspired radical government reforms that introduced choice and competition to improve key public services.



Call for applications – LTI grants 2015-16

Do you have a great project in mind to enhance learning with technology? Then why not get funding with an LTI grant! 

Applications can be submitted under four strands:
  • Innovative teaching and learning
  • E-Assessment innovation
  • Students as Producers
  • Project applications from students

The deadline for applications is Friday 29 May 2015

More information and ideas for possible projects can be found on the LTI blog| or by emailing lti.support@lse.ac.uk|


Thousands miss out on palliative care due to unfair health system

The UK’s palliative care system needs a major overhaul, according to an LSE report (released Wednesday 8 April), which reveals widespread inequities and a lack of services for non-cancer patients.

Terminally ill patients with illnesses other than cancer; people aged over 85 years; black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups; and people living in socially deprived areas are all missing out on important palliative care services, the report from the LSE PSSRU| shows. Read more here|.

LSE Research News- Professor Elias Mossialos awarded funding.

Professor Elias Mossialos|, LSE Health and Social Care, has received funding of £25,000 from the Commonwealth Fund to undertake a project to outline methodological considerations in performing international comparisons on medical device prices; compare price levels of hospital services across a selection of high-income countries; demonstrate the economic implications of substituting new brand name cancer drugs with equally effective older alternatives; and explore the prices and use rates for generic cardiovascular drugs.
LSE Research News- Dr David McDaid awarded funding.

David McDaid|, Personal Social Services Research Unit, has been awarded £11,200 by the University of Cape Town to participate in the DFID-funded Programme for Improving Mental Health Care (PRIME). The project will model the economic consequences of maternal mental health interventions for mothers and their dependent children in low and middle-income countries.
Professor Paul Dolan

Fundraising Event
Stuttering into Happiness- An evening with Professor Paul Dolan

Date: Monday 11th May 2015
Time: 18.00-20.00
Venue: Peacock Theatre

Professor Paul Dolan| is hosting an engaging fundraising evening providing some key insights into how the role of attention can play a huge part in living with a stammer.

Paul will be joined by Elaine Kelman who runs the Michael Palin Centre where Paul had some transformatory therapy. The Centre is supported by Action for Stammering Children, who along with the British Stammering Association, will benefit from the proceeds from the ticket sales.

There will be a live Q&A session with the whole audience and a book signing at the end.

Tickets from £12.50.

For more information and to book click here|

 Professor Sir Julian Le Grand

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture
The Government Paternalist: nanny state or helpful friend?|

Date: Wednesday 20 May 2015
Time: 18.30-20.00
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Professor Sir Julian Le Grand
Chair: Professor Howard Glennerster

Should governments save people from themselves? If someone smokes, drinks, takes hard drugs, or tries to assist in a friend's suicide, does the government have the right to intervene? If so, how? This lecture offers answers to these questions- among the most socially important of our age.

Sir Julian Le Grand| is the Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at the LSE. He was awarded a knighthood in the 2015 New Year's honours list for services to social science and public service. He is the co-author of Government Paternalism: nanny state or helpful friend?|

Howard Glennerster| is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy

Hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSELeGrand

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries contact events@lse.ac.uk|

Misbehaving: the making of behavioural economics

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture
Misbehaving: the making of behavioural economics|

Date: Tuesday 9 June 2015
Time: 18.30-20.00
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Professor Richard Thaler
Chair: Professor Paul Dolan

Speaking about his latest book Misbehaving: the making of behavioural economics|, Richard Thaler will couple recent discoveries in human psychology with a practical understanding of incentives and market behaviour. Thaler will explain how to make smarter decisions in an increasingly mystifying world, revealing how behavioural economic analysis opens up new ways to look at everything.

Richard Thaler is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioural Science and Economics and the Director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business.

Paul Dolan| is a Professor of Behavioural Science in the Department of Social Policy at LSE.

Hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSEThaler

Ticket Information
This event is free however a ticket is required, only one ticket per person can be requested. Tickets can be requested from 6.00pm on Tuesday 2nd June until at least 12 noon on Wednesday 3rd June. Please view the Public Events listing| to access the ticket request system at this time.
For any queries email events@lse.ac.uk|

Further events are listed in the Department diary|.

Past events are listed in News and Events archive|.

Recent Podcasts

Professor John Hills

LSE Works: CASE Public Lecture
Changing Patterns of Inequality in the UK|

Recorded on 12 March 2015

Speakers: Professor Sir John Hills, Dr Polly Vizard
Chair: Bharat Mehta

LSE Public Lectures

Department of Social Policy/PSSRU LSE Literary Festival Discussion
Perceptions of Madness: understanding mental illness through art, literature and drama|

Recorded on 25 February 2015

Speakers: Dr Sarah Carr, Paul Farmer, Nathan Filer, Dr John McGowan
Chair: Professor Martin Knapp|

Will Hutton

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture:How Good We Can Be: ending the mercenary society and building a great country|

Recorded on 11 February 2015

Speaker: Will Hutton
Chair: Professor Sir John Hills|

More podcasts available at Events podcasts|

Recent Videos

This information is generated by an RSS feed from the Department audio and video channel|, and shows the 4 most recent videos produced by the LSE.
  • Post-graduation opportunities? [Video]
    Contributor(s): Dr Ernestina Coast, Professor David Lewis, Professor Tim Newburn, Kate Laffan, Richard Serunjogi | Guidance on the career options students can expect to purse once they have graduated from a social policy degree i.e working for Government, International NGOs, consultancy roles, and teaching.
  • The Social Policy Student [Video]
    Contributor(s): Dr Ernestina Coast, Professor Paul Dolan, Professor David Lewis, Professor Tim Newburn, Kate Laffan, Richard Serunjogi | What kind of student body does Social Policy attract? We seek diverse and willing students who have something to contribute.
  • What is Social Policy? [Video]
    Contributor(s): Professor Lucinda Platt, Professor Paul Dolan, Professor David Lewis, Professor Tim Newburn, Kate Laffan, Richard Serunjogi | An explanation behind the core beliefs of social policy and how it impacts human well-being.
  • Why study Social Policy at LSE? [Video]
    Contributor(s): Professor Lucinda Platt, Professor Paul Dolan, Professor David Lewis, Professor Tim Newburn, Kate Laffan, Richard Serunjogi | Commentary on why LSE is a leading ‘Social Policy’ institution with regard to research, renowned faculty, high quality teaching practices, and student support.
More videos available at Social Policy Video Channel|

Other videos

The Arts of Desistance Report cover

Koestler Trust Mentoring Programme
Released on:
03 November 2014
Contributor(s): Dr Leo Cheliotis|

Since 2007 The Koestler Trust has supported ex-offenders to continue with their artistic activities by matching them with a specially trained arts mentor. The Koestler Trust commissioned this film to help explain and promote the mentoring programme to future mentees, mentors and funders. The film explains the journey from a mentee that is starting out through to mentee that has attained a higher level with the programme.

Gearty Grilling: Martin Knapp on Spending on Mental Health
Released on: 30 October 2014
Contributor(s): Professor Martin Knapp|

Professor Martin Knapp discusses why we should prioritise spending on mental health.
Professor Paul Dolan

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture:
Happiness by Design|

Released on: 22 October 2014
Contributor(s):Professor Paul Dolan| 

Chaired by Professor Elaine Fox (Oxford), Paul Dolan held a public lecture at the LSE to coincide with his new book ‘Happiness by Design’. The sold out event included a lecture by Paul, a conversation with Elaine Fox and finally a Q&A segment with the audience that posed some interesting questions.

Gearty Grilling: Anne Power on growing inequality and why we need food banks
Released on: 
25 June 2014
Contributor(s): Professor Anne Power|

Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy, discusses growing inequality, why government should listen more to ordinary people and why we now need food banks.

Gearty Grilling: Julian Legrand on how choice and competition can improves public services|

Released on: 21 May 2014
Contributor(s): Professor Julian Legrand
Julian Le Grand, Richard Titmuss professor of social policy and one of the principal architects of the UK Government’s public service reforms, explains why competition is the best way of enhancing hospitals and schools.



Latest Publications|

This information is generated by an RSS feed from LSE Research Online|, and shows the 20 most recent publications (either published, or accepted for publication).

Featured Publications
Social Rights and Human Welfare

Social Rights and Human Welfare|

Routledge (March 2015)

The idea of social rights has always played a central, but often contested, part in social policy. In his latest book, Professor Hartley Dean| radically reframes our understanding of social rights as the articulation of human needs.

Taking an international perspective on rights-based approaches, the book looks at how social rights can be understood and critiqued in theory- discussing ideas around social citizenship, human need and human rights, collective responsibility and ethical imperatives. The book moves on to consider social rights in practice, providing a comparative examination of their global development, before looking more specifically at rights to livelihood, human services and housing, and at the ways in which these rights can be enforced. The final section re-evaluates prevailing theory and debates about rights-based approaches to poverty alleviation and outlines possible future directions.

Hartley Dean, is a Professor of Social Policy at LSE, where he teaches a Masters-level course on Social Rights and Human Welfare. He was formerly a welfare rights worker in Brixton, South London.

Government Paternalism: nanny state or helpful friend?

Government Paternalism: nanny state or helpful friend?|

Princeton University Press (January 2015)

Should governments save people from themselves? Do governments have the right to influence citizens’ behaviour related to smoking tobacco, eating too much, not saving enough, drinking alcohol, or taking marijuana - or does this create a nanny state, leading to infantilisation, demotivation, and breaches in individual autonomy? Looking at examples from both sides of the Atlantic and around the world, Government Paternalism examines the justifications for, and the prevalence of, government involvement and considers when intervention might or might not be acceptable. Building on developments in philosophy, behavioural economics, and psychology, Professor Julian Le Grand| and Bill New explore the roles, boundaries, and responsibilities of the government and its citizens.