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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 and has received the highest possible rating in all Research Assessment Exercises carried out in the UK. In the last RAE in 2008 it led the field nationally with 50 per cent of its research recognised as world-leading, and 100 per cent ranked at international level. The Department prides itself in being able to offer teaching based on the highest quality empirical research in the field.

MPhil/PhD Programmes

Are you interested in our research programmes in Social Policy| and Demography/Population studies|?

We are now welcoming applications for our ESRC and LSE Studentships. Find out more here|.

Professor Tony Barnett

Professor Tony Barnett is leading a United Nations Study on the Socio-Economics Impact of Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Professor Tony Barnett|, now at the LSHTM but still engaged with the LSE, is leading a United Nations Study on the Socio-Economic Impact of Ebola outbreak in West Africa. He is also a recipient of a grant from the BBSRC/DFID/ESRC to research- together with Professor Dirk Pfeiffer and Dr Guillaume Fournier from the Royal Veterinary College- the relationship between avian influenza transmission, risk of zoonotic transfer, and the structure of live bird markets in Bangladesh.

Dr Joan Costa-Font

Stand tall if you are living in a democracy|

Men growing up in a democracy are likely to be taller than those who spend the first 20 years of their lives in a communist regime.

The link between democracy and stature is related to good nutrition, high disposable income and a life free of social and political constraints, according to new findings from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

In a study of Czech Republic and Slovakian residents since the dissolution of the communist regime in 1989, LSE political economist  Dr Joan Costa-Font| and colleague Dr  |Lucia Kossarova| found clear height differences between the two regimes.

Research News-Poor Lose, Rich Gain

LSE Research News: Poor lose, and rich gain from direct tax and benefit changes since May 2010- without cutting the deficit|

New analysis from LSE and the University of Essex shows that the poorest groups lost the biggest share of their incomes on average, and those in the bottom half of incomes lost overall, following benefit and direct tax changes since the 2010 election.

The research, co-authored by Professor John Hills|, suggests that who has gained or lost most as a result of the Coalition's policy changes depends critically on when reforms are measured from.

Advance HTA

Advance-HTA project's interim results presented in Mexico 

Dr Panos Kanavos|, deputy director at LSE Health, Department of Social Policy and Aris Angelis, PhD fellow, Department of Social Policy, presented Advance-HTA project’s interim results together with other partners of the project at a two-day Capacity Building workshop in Mexico City, on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 of November. Over 70 Health Technology Assessment (HTA) experts and decision makers of ministerial and academic affiliation attended the workshop, coming from all over the Latin America region with countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.

Advance-HTA is a research project funded by the European Commission's Research Framework Programme (FP7). It comprises several complementary streams of research that aim to advance and strengthen the methodological tools and practices relating to the application and implementation of HTA. It is a partnership of 13 Consortium members led by the Medical Technology Research Group|, LSE Health. More information can be found at  http://www.advance-hta.eu/|.


LSE Research News: Ethical Dilemmas of vaccination|

How relevant are gender and age when making policies        about vaccination and does this leave governments open to claims of discrimination? 

Dr Jeroen Luyten|, Fellow in Health Economics and Health Policy, discusses the moral and ethical issues in vaccination policy.

 The Arts of Desistance Report cover

Dr Leonidas Cheliotis launches report at the Southbank Centre

On 3 November at the Southbank Centre in London,
Dr Leonidas Cheliotis| launched the report of a long-term multi-method evaluation study he led on the process and effectiveness of an arts-based mentoring scheme for former prisoners, run by the Koestler Trust| with funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The study found that arts mentoring can make indirect but significant contributions to desistance from crime, but also that arts-based programme provision needs to be extended as well as combined with cognate and complementary services to this end. Panel debate included Professor Alison Liebling (Cambridge Institute of Criminology), Michael Spurr (Chief Executive, National Offender Management Service), Tom Wylie (Chief Executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation), and Dame Anne Owers (Chair of the Koestler Trust; Head of the Independent Police Complaints Commission).

To view the report click here| (PDF)

To view the accompanying film click here|

Creating an Impact: Social Care Research in Practice

Wednesday 26th November 2014

Time: 10:00 - 16:30
Venue: LSE

This conference, jointly hosted by the Personal Social Services Research Unit| at the LSE and the NIHR School for Social Care Research, will bring together learning and recommendations from just over two years of activity on knowledge exchange and impact in adult social care. The conference will present findings from a LSE HEIF 5-funded project, Creating an Impact: Social Care Research in Action (SCEiP), which aimed to: bring researchers and social care professionals together to identify key issues in social care and apply research evidence to those priority issues; further enhance dialogue between research, practice and policy stakeholders to support joint knowledge development and exchange; increase the demand for, and utilisation of, research evidence by professionals; and explore ways to demonstrate the impact of social care research.

For further information and ticket reservation, please click here|.

Further events are listed in the Department diary|.

Past events are listed in News and Events archive|.

Recent Podcasts

Professor John Hills

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture: Good Times Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us|

Recorded on 12 November 2014

Speaker: Professor Sir John Hills
|Respondents: Polly Toynbee, Professor Holly Sutherland
Chair: Professor Julian Le Grand|

Professor Paul Dolan

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture: Happiness by Design|

Recorded on 22 October 2014

Speaker: Professor Paul Dolan|
Chair: Professor Elaine Fox

Linda Tirado

Department of Social Policy public conversation: Hand to Mouth: the truth about being poor in a wealthy world|

Recorded on 16 October 2014

Speaker: Linda Tirado
Chair: Rowan Harvey
Introduction by Dr Amanda Sheely|

LSE Public Lectures

LSE Health and Africa Initiative Research Seminar: Practical and ethical dilemmas of working in the current Ebola crisis|

Recorded on 15 October 2014

Speaker: Dr Benjamin Black
|Chair: Dr Ernestina Coast|

 Anton Hemerijck

Department of Social Policy Centennial Lecture: Fault Lines and Silver Linings in the European Social Model(s)|

Recorded on 11 June 2014

Speaker: Professor Anton Hemerijck
Chair: Professor David Piachaud
Commentators: Dr Waltraud Schelkle and Professor David Soskice

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.
  • Reading the Riots [Video]
    Contributor(s): Professor Tim Newburn | Tim Newburn, Professor of Criminology and Social Policy, talks about the prize-winning study ‘Reading the Riots’ that he did with the Guardian newspaper.
  • MSc Criminal Justice Policy [Video]
    Contributor(s): Dr Coretta Phillips, Dr Michael Shiner, Professor Tim Newburn, Professor Robert Reiner, Kirat Kaur Kalyan, Amy Taylor, Sarah Anderson, Elvio Lopez-Correia, Alejandro Litman-Silberman, Sarah Anderson | Introduction to the MSc Criminal Justice Policy at the LSE.
  • Executive MSc Behavioural Science [Video]
    Contributor(s): Professor Paul Dolan, Dr Barbara Fasolo | A short video introduction to the Executive MSc in Behavioural Science which is being launched by LSE’s Departments of Social Policy and Management. The programme is delivered in a modular format and aims to provide a suite of high quality integrated courses for individuals seeking to advance their career in behavioural science while continuing to work.
  • Social Policy at LSE: Alistair McGuire [Video]
    Contributor(s): Professor Alistair McGuire | A profile of Alistair McGuire, Professor of Health Economics at LSE Department of Social Policy.
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
Good Times, Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us

Good Times, Bad times: the welfare myth of them and us|

Policy Press (November 2014)

Two-thirds of UK government spending now goes on the welfare state and where the money is spent - healthcare, education, pensions, benefits - is the centre of political and public debate. Much of that debate is dominated by the myth that the population divides into those who benefit from the welfare state and those who pay into it. This ground breaking book, written by Professor John Hills|, uses extensive research and survey evidence to challenge that view. It shows that our complex and ever-changing lives means that all of us rely on the welfare state throughout our lifetimes, not just a small 'welfare-dependent' minority. Using everyday life stories and engaging graphics, Professor John Hills clearly demonstrates how the facts are far removed from the myths. More|

John Hills is Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion| at the London School of Economics. He was knighted in 2013 for services to the development of social policy.


Happiness by Design: Finding pleasure and purpose in everyday life| 

Penguin (August 2014)

In Happiness by Design, Professor Paul Dolan| brings the latest research in behavioural science together with current findings in happiness studies to create a new concept of happiness - it's not just how you think, it's how you act.


Black and ethnic minority students less likely to receive offers from university than white students|

Dr Philip Noden|, Dr Michael Shiner| and Professor Tariq Modood release a report| funded by Nuffield Foundation|.
(July 2014)

This report revisits the contested issue of ethnic minority access to higher education. It is well established that candidates from black and minority ethnic groups go to university in good numbers, but we also know that candidates from some minority groups tend to be concentrated in less prestigious institutions. The analysis reported here was designed to address two key questions: Are candidates from black and minority ethnic groups less inclined to apply to higher status institutions than white British candidates? And, are candidates from black and minority ethnic groups less likely to receive offers from university (and from higher status institutions in particular) than white British applicants?

Jennifer Brown Publication

What Works in Therapeutic Prisons|

Palgrave Macmillan (July 2014)

Authors: Professor Jennifer Brown|, Sarah Miller, Sara Northey, Darragh O'Neill

Uniquely examining the first purpose-built prison community of its kind, HMP Dovegate Therapeutic Community, this book assesses individual prisoners' progress through therapy and provides an evidence base to support investment into prison-based therapeutic communities.
Charting the process of change, the authors highlight the key essentials necessary for prisoners to address their motivations and criminal patterns of behaviour, revealing that strong therapeutic alliances and willingness to ask for help as well as offering help to others are critical.

The most comprehensive coverage of therapeutic communities to date, this book will be an important resource for students and practitioners working in prisons and with high-risk offenders, providing recommendations for building the best possible environment for prisoners to enhance their self-esteem, improve their behaviour and establish skills to desist.

The student experience
Stories from LSE - the graduation day story|
Podcasts and videos