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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.

Launch of our Facebook page.

You can now find us on Facebook| as well.                                                    

Launch of the Social Policy Video Channel

The Department of Social Policy has created a number of videos to help you find out more about our programmes and academics. You can view them here|.

School can worsen disabled children's behavioural problems, researchers say|

A study from LSE and the Institute of Education, University of London, has found that the behavioural problems of many disabled children worsen between the ages of 3 and 7. They encounter increasing difficulties in terms of hyperactivity, emotional problems and getting on with other children.

However, disabled children might have fewer behavioural issues in their early years if more schools introduced stringent anti-bullying measures and other support strategies, the researchers claim.

Lucinda Platt|, Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at LSE, is the lead author of the paper.

Dr Ernestina Coast

LSE Research News: Sex and fertility versus health in AIDS stricken Africa|

How do you reconcile the basic sexual and fertility needs of 25 million Africans with the stark reality of HIV/AIDS? The impact is devastating and extends way beyond a health crisis, with far reaching effects on the African workforce, family, education system and the economy in general.

Dr Ernestina Coast| has been researching this topic with funding from the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Leonidas Cheliotis

Dr Leonidas Cheliotis gives a lecture on the Political Economy of Punishment at the University of A Coruña.

On 19 September, Dr Leonidas Cheliotis|, Assistant Professor in Criminology, gave a keynote lecture at an international two-day conference on 'The Political Economy of Punishment Today: Visions, Debates and Challenges'|, organised in A Coruña, Spain, by the Law School, University of A Coruña. Dr. Cheliotis' lecture focused on the relationship between globalisation, neoliberal capitalism and border control, drawing attention to the problematic nature of the concept of exclusion as a tool for describing and explaining state policies of border control.

Professor Paul Dolan

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture

Happiness by Design|

Date: Wednesday 22nd October 2014
Time: 18.30-20.00 followed by a reception
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building

Speaker: Professor Paul Dolan
Chair: Professor Elaine Fox

Professor Paul Dolan will define happiness in terms of experiences of pleasure and purpose. He will describe how being happier means allocating attention more efficiently: towards those things that bring us pleasure and purpose and away from those that generate pain and pointlessness. Behavioural scince tells us that most of what we do is not so much thought about; rather, it simply comes about. So by clever use of priming, defaults, commitments and social norms, you can become a whole lot happier without actually having to think very hard about it. You will be happier by design|.

Paul Dolan is a Professor of Behavioural Science in the Department of Social Policy, and author of Happiness by Design: Finding Pleasure and Purpose in Everyday Life|.

Elaine Fox is a Professor of Cognitive and Affective Psychology and Director of the Oxford Centre for Emotions and Affective Neuroscience.

Follow on Twitter: #LSEhappiness

Live Webcast: This event will be webcast live on LSE Live|


ALPHA launch- Ageing, Lifecourse and Population Health Analysis

Date: Friday 24th October 2014
Time:  14.00-18.00
Venue: Tower 1, Clement's Inn, Room TW1 9.04

Please register here|.
Programme available here|.

Graduate Open Evening

Date: Wednesday 05th November 2014
Time: 17.00-20.30

Bookings are now open for the Graduate Open Evening on Wednesday 5 November. If you are considering applying for graduate study in the Department, the open evening provides an excellent opportunity to obtain more information about our graduate taught and research programmes, meet academic staff and current students, and find out about the application process, financial support available and career destinations of LSE graduates. 
For further details and to book, please see here|.
Good Times, Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture

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

Date: Wednesday 12th November 2014
Time: 18.30-20.00
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Speaker: Professor Sir John Hills|
Respondent: Polly Toynbee
Discussant: Professor Holly Sutherland
Chair: Professor Julian Le Grand|

This ground breaking book Good Times Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us| challenges the idea of a divide in the UK population between those who benefit from the welfare state and those who pay into it.

John Hills is Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion| (CASE) at LSE.

Polly Toynbee is a political and social commentator for the Guardian.

Holly Sutherland is a Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex.

Julian Le Grand is the Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at LSE.

Follow on Twitter: #LSEwelfaremyth

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

Linda Tirado

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

Recorded on 16th October 2014

Speaker: Linda Tirado
Chair: Rowan Harvey

LSE Public Lectures

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

Recorded on 15th 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 11th 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.
  • 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 Barbra 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|


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.

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.