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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.

Honesty trumps political loyalty in lost wallet experiment

People are just as likely to return a ‘lost’ wallet to an owner who has a different political affiliation to their own suggests new research by Professor Paul Dolan.

Professor Martin Knapp
LSE Research News- Professor Martin Knapp awarded funding.

Professor Martin Knapp from PSSRU, has received funding from the Shirley Foundation to conduct research to examine the economic case for interventions for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The project will feed evidence to the recently launched National Autism Project (NAP), a new national project looking at how we address the costs involved in supporting people with autism.
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, Professor Platt and Ms Vaisanen. 

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

 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


Department of Social Policy PhD Research Day
The Politics of Social Policy

Thursday 04 June 2015
15.00- 18.00
32L 1.04 and 1.05, 1st Floor Conference Rooms, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields
Dr Sonia Exley, Dr Timothy Hidlebrandt, Professor Lucinda Platt, Dr Kitty Stewart
Liz Bailey

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required.

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 on the Social Policy Video Channel
More videos available on the CASE Video Channel
More videos available on the LSE Health and Social Care 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
Boomerang Students

Family Transitions in Early Adulthood

LSE ( May 2015) 

These days the transition to adulthood seems to be particularly difficult.  Youth unemployment, zero hours contracts, high housing costs, unpaid internships and increased tuition fees have created a challenging environment for young people.  Two qualitative studies, undertaken by researchers from  the Families and Children Research Group (Professor Jane Lewis, Professor Anne West, Dr Philip Noden and Dr Jonathan Roberts) at LSE and supported by the Leverhulme Trust, have investigated particular aspects of the transitions of early adulthood as they affect both parents and their young adult children.  The first study has examined the support which parents provide to their children when they go away to university.  The second has explored the increasingly common phenomenon of graduates who return to live with their parents after graduation.  Key findings from the studies have been summarised in two research briefs:

Family Transitions in Early Adulthood: Parental Support of University Students

Family transitions in Early Adulthood: Coresidence of Young Graduates with their Parents

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.