18 - 19 May 2015

Effective and Popular? The Complementarities and Contradictions of Egalitarian Social Policy


Can social policies be both effective at reducing social problems and inequalities, and politically popular? For a long time, scholars have thought that universal social policies were more effective and more popular than policies targeted at the disadvantaged. Scholars have also documented tremendous variation in the extent to which social policies are broadly supported by public opinion, constituencies of beneficiaries, and vested stakeholders. However, some of the most effective policies have little political support, and some of the most popular policies do not really make a difference to social problems and inequalities. Indeed, there could be many variations in the complementarities and contradictions between effectiveness and popularity.

This conference brings together a set of leading international and interdisciplinary scholars to explore when/how/if social policies have a complementarity or contradiction between effectiveness and popularity.

The conference is co-hosted by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in the U.K. Our guests include Ed Cox, Juan Fernandez, Jane Gingrich, David Howell, Gavin Kelly, Michael Kenny, Rick Muir, Lindsay Owens, Nick Pearce, Hanna Schwander, Peter Taylor-Gooby, and Claus Wendt.