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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.

Research Highlights: Paying people incentives to make healthy choices only works in the long term if they are paid to NOT do something

Monetary incentives to encourage people to live healthier lifestyles only work in the longer term when they are designed to stop negative behaviour, rather than promote positive choices, suggests new research undertaken by Dr Matteo M Galizzi and Professor Paul Dolan.


Research Highlights: Being a parent – before and after a split

Dads who are actively involved in bringing up their young children are more likely, in the event of a split from their partner, to keep in regular contact with their child, according to new research by Professor Lucinda Platt from the Department of Social Policy.

Research Highlights:  Can't help falling in love? Why divorce and separation might not be that bad for your health

Middle-aged men and women who have experienced the upheaval of separation, divorce and remarriage are almost as healthy as couples in stable marriages, according to a new study involving Professor Emily Grundy.


Dr Timothy Hildebrandt at the LSE-PKU Summer School in Beijing

This summer, Dr Timothy Hildebrandt will be running a course at the LSE-PKU Summer School in Beijing. The course, entitled From NGOs to Social Enterprises: Chinese Social Organisations in Local and Global Governance, will be the first course offered by the Department at the LSE-PKU Summer Schooland places are still available for student applications. More information can be found here


Book Launch: Changing London: The Rough Guide for the next London Mayor

Date: Monday 6 July 2015
Time:16.30-18.00 followed by a reception
Venue: 32L 1.04 1st Floor Conference Room, 32 Lincoln's inn Fields

Speakers: David Robinson, Changing London;Tony Travers, LSE
Chair: Professor Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy, LSE

Author David Robinson will present and discuss the main themes that came out of hundreds of suggestions from Londoners on how their city should look, plus experiences learnt from cities around the world. Tony Travers will respond to the proposals and speak about the coming mayoral elections. Read more here (PDF)

Booking information
This event is free but booking is essential.
Please RSVP to lsehousingandcommunities@lse.ac.uk

Further events are listed in the Department diary.

Past events are listed in News and Events archive.

Recent Podcasts

Professor Richard Thaler

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

Recorded on 9 June 2015

Speaker: Professor Richard Thaler
Chair: Professor Paul Dolan


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

Recorded on 20 May 2015

Speaker: Professor Sir Julian Le Grand
Chair: Professor Howard Glennerster

LSE Public Lectures

LSE Public Lecture
Inequality in the 21st Century: a day long engagement with Thomas Piketty

Recorded on 11 May 2015

Speakers: David Soskice, Wendy Carlin, Bob Rowthorn, Diane Perrons, Stephanie Seguino, Lisa McKenzie, Naila Kabeer, Dr Laura Bear, Gareth Jones, Mike Savage, Sir John Hills, Sir Tony Atkinson, Thomas Piketty

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.
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


Gearty Grilling: John Hills on the Cost of Inequality

Released on:
28 May 2015
Contributor(s): Professor Sir John Hills

John Hills, Professor of Social Policy, discusses the need to reduce inequality in Britain.


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.