LSE’s Contributions to the Economics of Social Policy

  • Howard GlennersterEmail author


Social policy as an explicit intellectual endeavour only began after the Second World War, but themes that are central to it can be found in the work of the LSE Economics Department from its beginning. Taxation and its distributional and incentive consequences is one continuous theme. The appropriate and uncertain boundary line between public and private funding and service delivery, between market competition and public monopoly, is another long-standing interest. While the Department began by generally taking a pro-free market line, the development of theories of market and information failure led to an evolving ‘economics of the welfare state’. Though never central to the Department’s work, individual members specialised in this topic and other areas of social policy, including education, housing, social security and pensions.


Social policy Economics Welfare state Income distribution Incentives Taxation Housing Social security LSE Quasi-markets 


  1. Abel-Smith, B. and P. Townsend (1965). The Poor and the Poorest. Occasional Papers on Social Administration, No. 17. London: Bell.Google Scholar
  2. Akerlof, G.A. (1970). ‘The Market for “Lemons”: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism’. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 84(3): 488–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arrow, K.J. (1963). ‘Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care’. American Economic Review, 53(5): 941–973.Google Scholar
  4. Atkinson, A.B. (1969). Poverty in Britain and the Reform of Social Security. University of Cambridge, Department of Applied Economics, Occasional Paper 18. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Atkinson A.B. (1985). On the Measurement of Poverty Derived from Lorenz Curves. TIDI Discussion Paper No. 90. London: LSE/STICERD.Google Scholar
  6. Atkinson, A.B. (1997). ‘Bringing Income Distribution in from the Cold’. Economic Journal, 107(441): 297–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Atkinson, A.B. (2005). Atkinson Review of Measurement of Government Output and Productivity for the National Accounts: Final Report. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. Barna, T. (1945). Redistribution of Incomes Through Public Finance in 1937. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Barr, N. (1987). The Economics of the Welfare State. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. All later editions published by Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Barr, N. (1988). ‘Student Loans Made Easy’. The Times, 28 July: 12.Google Scholar
  11. Barr, N. (1989). ‘Baker’s Proposal: A Better Class of Drain’. The Independent, 22 June: 21.Google Scholar
  12. Barr, N. (1992). ‘Economic Theory and the Welfare State: A Survey and Interpretation’. Journal of Economic Literature, 30(2): 741–803.Google Scholar
  13. Barr, N. and I. Crawford (2005). Financing Higher Education: Answers from the UK. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Barr, N. and P. Diamond (2008). Reforming Pensions: Principles and Policy Choices. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Barr, N. (2012). ‘The Higher Education White Paper: The Good, the Bad, the Unspeakable—And the Next White Paper’. Social Policy and Administration, 46(5): 483–508.Google Scholar
  16. Bartlett, W., J.A. Roberts and J. Le Grand (eds) (1998). Quasi-Market Reforms in the 1990s: A Revolution in Social Policy. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  17. Beveridge W.H. (1909; 1930, second edition). Unemployment: A Problem of Industry. London: Longmans.Google Scholar
  18. Beveridge, W.H. (1914). ‘Review of Unemployment, by A.C. Pigou’. Economic Journal, 24(94): 250–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Beveridge Report (1942). Social Insurance and Allied Services. Cmnd. 6404. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  20. Bew, J. (2016). Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee. London: Riverrun.Google Scholar
  21. Blaug, M. (1970). Economics of Education: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. Second edition. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  22. Bloom, N. et al. (2011). ‘In Defence of our Research on Competition in England’s National Health Service’. The Lancet, 378(9809): 2064–2065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Burgess, E., S. Monk and C.M.E. Whitehead (2010). How Can the Planning System Deliver More Housing? York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
  24. Cannan, E. (1898). The History of Local Rates in England. London: King.Google Scholar
  25. Cannan, E. (1912). The History of Local Rates in England in Relation to the Proper Distribution of the Burden of Taxation. Second edition. London: King.Google Scholar
  26. Cowell, F. (1987). Poverty Measures, Inequality and Decomposability. TIDI Discussion Paper No. 99. London: LSE/STICERD.Google Scholar
  27. CSO (1962). ‘The Incidence of Taxes and Social Service Benefits on Different Groups of Households’. Economic Trends, 109(November): 90–105.Google Scholar
  28. Dalton, H. (1922). Principles of Public Finance. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Eyles, A., S. Machin and O. Silva (2015). Academies 2: The New Batch. Centre for Economic Performance, Discussion Paper 1370. London: LSE/CEP.Google Scholar
  30. Falkingham, J. and J. Hills (eds) (1995). The Dynamic of Welfare: The Welfare State and the Life Cycle. London: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  31. Foster, C.D., R. Jackman and M. Perlman (1980). Local Government Finance in a Unitary State. London: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  32. Gibbons, S., S. Machin and O. Silva (2008). ‘Choice, Competition and Pupil Achievement’. Journal of the European Economic Association, 6(4): 912–947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Glennerster, H. (2006). Tibor Barna: The Redistributive Impact of Taxes and Social Policies in the UK: 1937–2005. CASE Paper 115. London: London School of Economics, CASE.Google Scholar
  34. Hancock, W.K. and M.M. Gowing (1949). British War Economy. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  35. Harris, J. (1997). William Beveridge: A Biography. Revised edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Harris, J. (2010). ‘Citizenship in Britain and Europe: Some Missing Links in T.H. Marshall’s Theory of Rights’. CeS Working Paper No. 2/2010. Bremen: Zentrum fur Sozialpolitik.Google Scholar
  37. Hayek F.A. (1944) [1949]. The Road to Serfdom. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Hayek, F.A. (1976). Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 2: The Mirage of Social Justice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. Hills, J. (1990). The State of Welfare: The Welfare State in Britain Since 1974. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Hills, J. (2015). Good Times, Bad Times: The Welfare Myth of Them and Us. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  41. Hobhouse Memorial Lectures, 1930–1940 (1948). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Le Grand, J. (1991). ‘Quasi-Markets in Social Policy’. Economic Journal, 101(408): 1256–1267.Google Scholar
  43. Le Grand, J. (2003). Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy: Of Knights and Knaves, Pawns & Queens. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Le Grand, J. and W. Bartlett (1993). Quasi-Markets and Social Policy. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  45. Le Grand, J. and R. Robinson (1976). The Economics of Social Problems: The Market Versus the State. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  46. Marshall, T.H. (1950). Citizenship and Social Class. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  47. ONS (2016). ‘The Effects of Taxes and Benefits on UK Household Income: Financial Year Ending 2015’. Statistical Bulletin, May. London: Office for National Statistics. Available at:
  48. ONS (2017). Public Service Productivity Estimates: Health Care 2014. London: Office of National Statistics.Google Scholar
  49. Peacock, A.T. (1952). The Economics of National Insurance. Edinburgh: Hodge.Google Scholar
  50. Peacock, A.T. (ed.) (1954). Income Redistribution and Social Policy: A Set of Studies. London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar
  51. Peacock, A.T. (1957). ‘Welfare in the Liberal State’. Chapter V in G. Watson (ed.) The Unservile State: Essays in Liberty and Welfare. London: Allen and Unwin: 113–130.Google Scholar
  52. Peacock, A.T. and J. Wiseman (1961). The Growth of Public Expenditure in the United Kingdom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Peacock, A.T. and J. Wiseman (1962). ‘The Economics of Higher Education’. Higher Education: Part Two. Documentary Evidence. Cmnd. 2154: 129–138.Google Scholar
  54. Peden, G.C. (2015). ‘Alan Turner Peacock, 1922–2014’. Bibliographical Memoirs of Fellows of the British Academy, XIV: 494–516.Google Scholar
  55. Pollock, A. et al. (2011). ‘No Evidence that Patient Choice in the NHS Saves Lives’. The Lancet, 378(9809): 2057–2060.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Prest A.R. (1960). Public Finance in Theory and Practice. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.Google Scholar
  57. Prest, A.R. (1962). ‘The Finance of University Education in Great Britain’. Higher Education: Part Two. Documentary Evidence. Cmnd. 2154: 139–152.Google Scholar
  58. Rothschild, M. and J.E. Stiglitz (1976). ‘Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information’. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 90(4): 629–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sefton, T. (1997). The Changing Distribution of the Social Wage. STICERD Occasional Paper 21, London: LSE/STICERD.Google Scholar
  60. Stauffacher, C. (1941). ‘The Effects of Government Expenditures and Tax Withdrawals upon Income Distribution, 1930–1939’. In C.J. Friedrich and E.S. Mason (eds) Public Policy, Volume II. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press: 232–261.Google Scholar
  61. Tawney, R.H. (1938). Some Thoughts on the Economics of Public Education. L.T. Hobhouse Memorial Lectures, No. 8. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  62. TIDI Programme Final Report (1991). Available at: Nicholas Stern Private Papers, STICERD.Google Scholar
  63. Titmuss, R.M. (1950). Problems of Social Policy. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  64. Titmuss, R.M. (1958). Essays on ‘The Welfare State’. London: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  65. Whitehead, C.M.E. (1974). The UK Housing Market: An Econometric Model. Farnborough, Hampshire: Saxon House.Google Scholar
  66. Whitehead, C.M.E. and J.C. Odling-Smee (1975). ‘Long Run Equilibrium in Urban Housing—A Note’. Urban Studies, 12(3): 315–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Whitehead, C.M.E. (2015). ‘Is There a Problem with the Current Housing Market?’. Lecture given at the Geffrye Museum of the Home. Available at:

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD), London School of EconomicsUniversity of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations