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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.

Dementia costs the UK £26 billion a year|

A new report which has been co-authored with The Alzheimer's Society, LSE and the King's College London has found that dementia costs the UK £26 billion a year - enough to pay the energy bills of every household in the country.

Professor Martin Knapp| said ‘the cost of dementia is high, but the key question is what does that cost buy? We need to make sure that people with dementia and their carers get effective and cost-effective treatment, care and support.’

The download the full report, click here|

British Society for Population Studies Annual Conference 2014

The BSPS  Annual Conference 2014| will be held at the University of Winchester from Monday 08 to Wednesday 10 September. Presentations will be made by eight staff and student from the Social Policy Department: Dr Coast|, Dr Gjonca|,
Dr Goisis|, Dr Leone|, Prof Murphy|, Dr Oczan|, Prof Platt|, and Ben Wilson|.
Programme is available here|.

The poster session at BSPS 2014 has been organised by two LSE PhD students – Valeria Cetorelli| and Heini Vaisanen| – and includes posters| by Alessandro Di Nallo and Heini Vaisanen.

Professor Martin Knapp awarded Fellowship at King's College London

Professor Martin Knapp| (picture left with Paul McCrone) has been awarded a fellowship as an Honorary Professor of Health Economics at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London. More|


Social Policy Association launches new website.|

The Social Policy Association used the Sheffield 2014 conference to launch a brand new website, along with three short videos aimed at prospective students which consider, amongst other questions, "What is Social Policy".

Professor Anne Power

Rising prices, falling wages and welfare cuts- a recipe for debt in Newham.|

Households in one of the poorest boroughs in London face crippling debt and financial pressures despite a widespread desire to work and an aversion to high cost lenders, according to a new report from LSE.

Professor Anne Power| from the LSE Housing and Communities Unit, part of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion |led the study.


Twins and short spaced births are linked to premature death among parents. Professor Emily Grundy| discusses the implications of raising children close in age.

Mothers of twins and parents who have children in quick succession have a greater risk of dying prematurely, new research from LSE shows.

The findings, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health|, suggest that the accumulated physical, emotional and financial stresses of raising children close in age could have long-term health implications. More|


Second Joint LSE Behavioural Science-London Behavioural Economics Network Special Event

Date: Thursday 18th September 2014
Time: 19.15- 20.45
Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.

Speakers: Professor Robert Cialdini (Arizona State University), Steve Martin (Influence at Work). Interviewed by Daniel Finkelstein, Baron Finkelstein OBE (The Times).
Chair: Dr Matteo Galizzi

|The special event is part of the Behavioural Economics seminars series| at the Department of Social Policy and LSE Health and Social Care.The event is free and open to anyone. A map of the LSE campus can be found here|.

See also:
The new Exec MSc in Behavioural Science at the Department of Social Policy|
The LSE Behavioural Research Lab
|The London Behavioural and Experimental Group|


Social Media Week

Happier [Dis]connected?|

Date: Monday 22nd September 2014
Time: 15.30- 16.15
Venue: New Theatre, East Building

Professor Dolan| is the author of recently published Amazon bestseller, 'Happiness by Design' and will discussing the ways in which we have become both reliant on an heavily influenced by social media.

What is our relationship with it? What impact does it have on our happiness? Do happier people use social media in the first place?

We'll also be launching two mobile apps: HBD Measure and HBD Monitor which allow you to get important feedback by tracking not just how happy you are as you go about your daily activities, but also how worthwhile those activities feel.

This is a free event so if you would like to attend simply RSVP here|

populationatlse logo

Population @ LSE Conference
Wednesday 24th September 2014

A one day event showcasing LSE's research on population issues around the world.

Time: 9.30-17.30
Venue: Shaw Library, 6th floor of the Old Building.

Programme: View the full programme| here (PDF)

Registration: This event is free but pre-registration is required. To register please visit Eventbrite|.


Linda Tirado

Department of Social Policy public conversation

Hand to Mouth: the truth about being poor in a wealthy world|

Date: Thursday 16th October 2014
Time: 18.30-20.00
Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House

Speaker: Linda Tirado
Chair: Rowan Harvey

Linda Tirado knows from experience what it is to be poor, to struggle to make ends meet. She was working all hours at two jobs - as a food service worker in a chain restaurant and as a voting rights activist at a non-profit organization - to support her young family. She knows what it’s like to have problems you wish you could fix, but no money, energy or resources to fix them, and no hope of getting any.

In 2013, an essay on the everyday realities of poverty that Tirado wrote and posted online was read and shared around the world. In Hand to Mouth|, she gives a searing, witty and clear-eyed insider account of being poor in the world’s richest nation. She looks at how ordinary people fall or are born into the poverty trap, explains why the poor don’t always behave in the way the middle classes think they should, and makes an urgent call for us all to understand and meet the challenges they face.

Linda Tirado blogs, writes and campaigns on poverty and class issues. Hand to Mouth is her first book.

In this event she will be in conversation with Rowan Harvey, Women's Rights Advocacy Advisor at Action Aid UK and LSE Governor.

Follow on Twitter: #LSETirado

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|

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

 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

LSE Public Lectures

PSSRU LSE Literary Festival Discussion: "Who is it who can tell me who I am?" Understanding Dementia through Art and Literature|

Recorded on 25th February 2014
Speakers: Melvyn Bragg, Dr Andrea Capstick, Professor Justine Schneider
Chair: Professor Martin Knapp|

LSE Public Lectures

LSE Literary Festival Discussion: Self-Help: myth or reality?|

Recorded on 25th February 2014
Speakers: Dr Julian Baggini, Professor Paul Dolan|, Professor Barbara J Sahakian
Chair: Professor Ilina Singh


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

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.

Banding and Ballot Report

Banding and Ballots Secondary School Admissions in England: Admissions in 2012/13 and the Impact of Growth of Academies|

Published by The Sutton Trust (February 2014)

Authors: Dr Philip Noden|, Professor Anne West|, Audrey Hind

This report from LSE uses data from all of England's 3000 secondary schools to examine how many schools are using random allocation (ballots) or banding in their admissions.