40 episodes

LSE IQ is a monthly podcast from the London School of Economics and Political Science in which we ask some of the smartest social scientists - and other experts - to answer intelligent questions about economics, politics or society. #LSEIQ

LSE IQ podcast London School of Economics and Political Science

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    • 4.7 • 56 Ratings

LSE IQ is a monthly podcast from the London School of Economics and Political Science in which we ask some of the smartest social scientists - and other experts - to answer intelligent questions about economics, politics or society. #LSEIQ

    What’s the point of social science in a pandemic?

    What’s the point of social science in a pandemic?

    Contributor(s): Professor Laura Bear, Nikita Simpson, Professor Joan Roses, Dr Adam Oliver, Dr Clare Wenham, Professor Patrick Wallis | In this month’s episode of the LSE IQ podcast we ask, ‘What’s the point of social science in a pandemic?’.
    On the 23rd March 2020 Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the country’s first national lockdown. In the months since, there has been a seismic shift in all our lives. As we embark on 2021 and, hopefully, the latter stages of the pandemic, now is an apt moment to reflect on how we’ve got to where we are. While the scientific community has taken centre stage in the fight to overcome the virus, how have social scientists helped us navigate – and evaluate –the UK’s response?
    In this episode we talk to anthropologists Professor Laura Bear and Nikita Simpson, Economic historians Professor Patrick Wallis and Professor Joan Roses, Assistant Professor of Global Health Policy Dr Clare Wenham and behavioural economist Dr Adam Oliver.
    ’A good death’ during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK: a report on key findings and recommendations, by the COVID and Care Research Group
     A Right to Care: The Social Foundations of Recovery from COVID-19, by the COVID and Care Research Group
     The Redistributive Effects of Pandemics: Evidence of the Spanish Flu. By Sergi Basco, Jordi Domenech, and Johanne Rohses
     Separating behavioural science from the herd by Adam Oliver
    Reciprocity and the art of behavioural public policy by Adam Oliver
    What is the future of UK leadership in global health security post Covid-19? By Clare Wenham
    A Dreadful Heritage: Interpreting Epidemic Disease at Eyam, 1666-2000, by Patrick Wallis
    Eyam revisited: lessons from a plague village, by Patrick Wallis
    Professor Laura Bear
    Nikita Simpson
    Professor Joan Roses
    Dr Adam Oliver
    Dr Clare Wenham
    Professor Patrick Wallis

    • 44 min
    How can we end child poverty in the UK?

    How can we end child poverty in the UK?

    Contributor(s): Dr Kitty Stewart | A campaign by the Manchester United footballer, Marcus Rashford, has prompted the UK government to provide extra support for children from low-income families during the pandemic. Even before coronavirus, child poverty had been rising for several years. This latest bite-sized episode of LSE iQ explores the question, ‘How can we end child poverty in the UK?’
    Joanna Bale talks to Kitty Stewart of LSE’s Social Policy Department and Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion. Dr Stewart is currently part of a major research programme examining what progress has been made in addressing social inequalities through social policies.
    Research links:
    K Cooper and K Stewart (2020): Does Household Income Affect children’s Outcomes? A Systematic Review of the Evidence
    K Stewart and M Reader (2020 forthcoming): The Conservatives’ record on early childhood: policy, spending and outcomes 2015-20.
    Polly Vizard, John Hills et al (2020 forthcoming): The Conservatives’ Record on Social Policy: Policies, spending and outcomes 2015 to pre-Covid 2020.

    • 17 min
    B******t jobs, technology, capitalism

    B******t jobs, technology, capitalism

    Contributor(s): Professor David Graeber | This episode is dedicated to David Graeber, LSE professor of Anthropology, who died unexpectedly in September this year. David was a public intellectual, a best-selling author, an influential activist and anarchist.
    He took aim at the pointless bureaucracy of modern life, memorably coining the term ‘b******t jobs’. And his book ‘Debt: The First 5000 years’ was turned into a radio series by the BBC.
    But David started his academic career studying Madagascar. Anthropology interested him, he said, because he was interested in human possibilities - including the potential of societies to organise themselves without the need for a state - as he had seen in his own research.
    He was also a well-known anti-globalisation activist and a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
    David was generous enough to do an interview for us in 2016 when LSE iQ was in its infancy. That episode asked, ‘What’s the future of work?’ and in his interview he reflected on the disappointments of technology, pointless jobs and caring labour.
    David was such an interesting speaker that we would have liked to use more of it at the time, but we didn’t have the space. Now, it feels right to bring you a lightly edited version of the interview.
    David Graeber
    The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy, published by Melville House.
    ‘On the Phenomenon of B******t jobs: A work rant’, STRIKE! Magazine
    B******t Jobs: A theory, published by Allen Lane

    • 36 min
    Is perfect the enemy of the possible?

    Is perfect the enemy of the possible?

    Contributor(s): Dr Thomas Curran | Jess Winterstein speaks to Dr Thomas Curran about the potential pitfalls of wanting to be perfect. Our society values perfection, but is the concept of perfect really that good for us? The latest episode of LSE IQ explores perfectionism.
    In this bitesized episode of the LSE IQ podcast, Jess Winterstein speaks to Dr Thomas Curran, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE. While aspiring to perfection may still be viewed positively by many, Dr Curran’s research reveals that the drive to be the best can potentially do more harm than good. Are the potential downsides worth it when balanced against the possible achievements that can come from being a perfectionist? In a discussion which explores the realities of being a perfectionist, we ask, is perfection really worth it?

    Dr Thomas Curran https://www.lse.ac.uk/PBS/People/Dr-Tom-Curran  
    A test of social learning and parent socialization perspectives on the development of perfectionism by Thomas Curran, Daniel J Madigan, Andrew P Hill and Annett Victoria Stornæs
    Perfectionism Is Increasing Over Time: A Meta-Analysis of Birth Cohort Differences From 1989 to 2016 by Thomas Curran and Andrew P. Hill http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/101352/1/Curran_Hill2018.pdf

    • 17 min
    Can we afford the super-rich?

    Can we afford the super-rich?

    Contributor(s): Paul Krugman, Andy Summers, Dr Luna Glucksberg | The coronavirus crisis has devastated economies and brought existing inequalities into sharper focus. Will it result in higher taxes on income and wealth, as we saw after the Great Depression and WWII? Or will the top 1 per cent continue to pull away from the rest of society? Exploring the question, ‘Can we afford the super-rich?’, Joanna Bale talks to Paul Krugman, Andy Summers and Luna Glucksberg.
    Research links:
    Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future by Paul Krugman.
    Capital Gains and UK Inequality by Arun Advani and Andy Summers.
    A gendered ethnography of elites by Luna Glucksberg.

    • 35 min
    How can we tackle air pollution?

    How can we tackle air pollution?

    Contributor(s): Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, Dr Ute Collier, Dr Sefi Roth, Dr Thomas Smith | Seven million people die of air pollution, worldwide, every year. This episode of LSE IQ asks how this invisible killer can be tackled. 
    Sue Windebank speaks to Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah about her campaigning work for both clean air and a new inquest into the causes of her daughter’s death. In 2013, her daughter Ella Roberta died from a rare and severe form of asthma – she was just nine years old.  According to an expert report there was a "real prospect” that without unlawful levels of air pollution near their home, Ella would not have died. 
    As well as the impact on health, the episode looks at the effects of air pollution on crime and education. It also examines air pollution on the London Underground, forest fires and clean cooking.  
    Addressing these issue are: Dr Ute Collier, Head of Energy at Practical Action; Dr Sefi Roth, Assistant Professor of Environmental Economics at LSE; and Dr Thomas Smith, Assistant Professor in Environmental Geography at LSE.  
    Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah 
    Dr Ute Collier 
    Dr Sefi Roth 
    Dr Thomas Smith 
    ‘Crime is in the Air: The Contemporaneous Relationship between Air Pollution and Crime’ by Malvina Brody, Sefi Roth and Lutz Sager, a discussion paper by IZA Institute of Labor Economics.  
    ‘The Long-Run Economic Consequences of High-Stakes Examinations: Evidence from Transitory Variation in Pollution’ by Avraham Ebenstein, Victor Lavy and Sefi Roth in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.  
    ‘Spatial variability of fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) on the London Underground network’ by Brynmor M Saunders, James D Smith, T.E.L Smith, David Green and B Barratt in the journal Urban Climate.  
    ‘Review of emissions from smouldering peat fires and their contribution to regional haze episodes’ Yuqi Hu, Nieves Fernandez-Anez, T.E.L Smith and Guillermo Rein in the International Journal of Wildland Fire. 

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
56 Ratings

56 Ratings

AlexJC18 ,


Very accessible and thought provoking. Suitable for everyone, regardless of your knowledge and passion for economics.

Jayzaks ,


Essential listening for anyone interested in expert analysis of current issues.

Older Listener 63 ,

Great stuff

Wonderful listening and reflecting !!!

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