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Speaker(s): Professor Paul Dolan, Lord Willetts
Chair: Professor Julia Black

Recorded on 21 February 2018 at Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

There is increasing evidence from the UK and the US to show that higher education is associated with less happiness and more inequality. In light of this, Professor of Behavioural Science at LSE Paul Dolan argues that the government should reduce funding to higher education and prioritise early years education instead. Former Minister for Universities David Willetts stands up for the value of a university degree.

Paul Dolan (@profpauldolan) is Professor of Behavioural Science at LSE, Director of Executive MSc Behavioural Science and Head of the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. There are two main themes to Paul’s work: Developing measures of happiness and subjective wellbeing that can be used in policy and by individuals looking to be happier; and considering ways in which the lessons from the behavioural sciences can be used to understand and change individual behaviour, and to add to the evidence base in this regard. He uses a range of data and methods to address these issues, and to better integrate them e.g. surveys, big data, lab studies, and field experiments. He is author of the Sunday Times best-selling book, Happiness by Design and the forthcoming The Narrative Trap, in which he talks about how the stories we tell about how we ought to live our lives harm us.

David Willetts is the Executive Chair of the Resolution Foundation. He served as the Member of Parliament for Havant (1992-2015), as Minister for Universities and Science (2010-2014) and previously worked at HM Treasury and the No. 10 Policy Unit. Lord Willetts is a visiting Professor at King’s College London, a board member of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a Board member of Surrey Satellites and of the Biotech Growth Trust, Chair of the British Science Association, a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation and a member of the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. He is a member of the Board of the Crick Institute and a Trustee of the Science Museum. He is an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College Oxford. Lord Willetts has written widely on economic and social policy. His book The Pinch about fairness between the generations was published in 2010. His latest book A University Education is published by Oxford University Press.

Julia Black is Pro Director for Research at LSE.

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