Governments in liberal democracies pursue social welfare, but in many different ways. The wellbeing approach instead asks: why not focus directly on increasing measured human happiness? Why not try to improve people’s overall quality of life, as it is subjectively seen by citizens themselves?
The radical implications of this stance include shifting attention to previously neglected areas (such as mental health and ‘social infrastructure’ services) and developing defensible measures of overall wellbeing or quality of life indicators. Can one ‘master’ concept of wellbeing work to create more holistic policy-making? Or should we stick with multiple metrics? These debates are well-developed in health policy-making and in alternative ‘capabilities’ approaches to assessing quality of life. Most recently, the connections between wellbeing and political participation have come into sharper focus.
Wellbeing remains a contested concept, one that can be interpreted and used differently, with consequences for how it is incorporated into policy decisions. By bringing together scholars from economics, psychology and behavioural science, philosophy and political science, the authors and editors of this short volume explore how different disciplinary approaches can contribute to the study of wellbeing and how this can shape policy priorities.Book Details
Populist movements, parties and leaders have gained influence in many countries, disrupting long-established patterns of party competition, impugning the legitimacy of representative institutions and sometimes actively weakening or coarsening government capabilities. By positing an acute contrast between the will of the people and established elites, and advocating simplistic policy solutions careless of minority rights, populists have challenged the development and even the maintenance of liberal democracy on many fronts.
Social scientists’ attention to populism has grown rapidly, although it remains somewhat fragmented across disciplines. Many questions remain. Are populism’s causes economic or cultural? National or local? Is populism a threat to liberal democracy? If so, what kind of threat? And what can be done about it? Employing a range of conceptual toolkits and methods, this interdisciplinary book addresses in a critical and evidence-based way the most common diagnoses of populism’s causes, consequences and policy antidotes.Book Details
COVID-19 presents huge challenges to governments, businesses, civil societies, and people from all walks of life, but its impact is highly variegated, affecting society in multiple negative ways, with uneven geographical and socioeconomic patterns. In this regard, this edited volume brings together the voices of researchers who work on and in Southeast Asia to show how COVID-19 reveals existing contradictions and inequalities in our society, compelling us to question what it means to return to 'normal' and what insights we can glean from Southeast Asia for thinking about a post-pandemic world. This volume also contributes to ongoing efforts to de-centre and decolonise knowledge production.Book Details
Violence and war were ubiquitous features of politics long before the emergence of the modern state system. Since the 1780s revolutions and terrorism have also challenged the idea of the state as a final arbiter of international order. This book covers ten major theorists of politics, violence and relations between states – Thucydides, Augustine, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Clausewitz, Lenin and Mao, and Schmitt. Each thinker is considered in detail, not just as a placeholder in ‘realist’ versus moralism debates.
Conflict, war and revolution are generally seen in political thought as problems to be managed by stable domestic political communities. In different ways, all the paradigmatic thinkers here see them as inevitable dimensions of human experience, while yet manifested in different logics of acting politically and requiring different ways of handling. This book dramatically broadens the canon of political thought by considering perspectives on the international system that challenge its historical inevitability and triumph.Book Details
Supplementary material for this textbook, including slides and DSGE and VAR estimation tutorials, can be found here
Supported by the LSE Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund
Macroeconomic policy is one of the most important policy domains, and the tools of macroeconomics are among the most valuable for policy makers. Yet there has been, up to now, a wide gulf between the level at which macroeconomics is taught at the undergraduate level and the level at which it is practiced. At the same time, doctoral-level textbooks are usually not targeted at a policy audience, making advanced macroeconomics less accessible to current and aspiring practitioners.
This book, born out of the Masters course the authors taught for many years at the Harvard Kennedy School, fills this gap. It introduces the tools of dynamic optimization in the context of economic growth, and then applies them to a wide range of policy questions – ranging from pensions, consumption, investment and finance, to the most recent developments in fiscal and monetary policy. It does so with the requisite rigor, but also with a light touch, and an unyielding focus on their application to policy-making, as befits the authors’ own practical experience.
Advanced Macroeconomics: An Easy Guide is bound to become a great resource for graduate and advanced undergraduate students, and practitioners alike.
“A tour de force. Presenting modern macro theory rigorously but simply, and showing why it helps understand complex macroeconomic events and macroeconomic policies.” — Olivier Blanchard (Peterson Institute, Professor Emeritus at MIT, and former Chief Economist and Director of Research at the IMF)
“This terrifically useful text fills the considerable gap between standard intermediate macroeconomics texts and the more technical text aimed at PhD economics courses. The authors cover the core models of modern macroeconomics with clarity and elegance, filling in details that PhD texts too often leave out. At the same time, the authors draw on their own extensive policy experience to provide thoughtful policy motivation and historical context throughout. Advanced undergraduates, public policy students and indeed many economics PhD students will find it a pleasure to read, and a valuable long-term resource.” — Kenneth Rogoff (Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University, former Chief Economist and Director of Research at the IMF)
“This is an excellent and highly rigorous yet accessible guide to fundamental macroeconomic frameworks that underpin research and policy making in the world. The content reflects the unique perspective of authors who have worked at the highest levels of both government and academia. This makes the book essential reading for serious practitioners, students, and researchers.” — Gita Gopinath (John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and of Economics at Harvard University, Chief Economist and Director of Research at the IMF)
“The words Advanced and Easy rarely belong together, but this book gets as close as possible. It covers macroeconomics from the classic fundamentals to the fancy and creative innovations necessary to anyone interested in keeping up with both the policy and the academic worlds.” — Arminio Fraga (former president, Central Bank of Brazil)Book Details
The UK’s Changing Democracy presents a uniquely democratic perspective on all aspects of UK politics, at the centre in Westminster and Whitehall, and in all the devolved nations.
The 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU marked a turning point in the UK’s political system. In the previous two decades, the country had undergone a series of democratic reforms, during which it seemed to evolve into a more typical European liberal democracy.
The establishment of a Supreme Court, adoption of the Human Rights Act, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolution, proportional electoral systems, executive mayors and the growth in multi-party competition all marked profound changes to the British political tradition.
Brexit may now bring some of these developments to a juddering halt. The UK’s previous ‘exceptionalism’ from European patterns looks certain to continue indefinitely. ‘Taking back control’ of regulations, trade, immigration and much more is the biggest change in UK governance for half a century. It has already produced enduring crises for the party system, Parliament and the core executive, with uniquely contested governance over critical issues, and a rapidly changing political landscape. Other recent trends are no less fast-moving, such as the revival of two-party dominance in England, the re-creation of some mass membership parties and the disruptive challenges of social media.
In this context, an in-depth assessment of the quality of the UK’s democracy is essential. Each of the 2018 Democratic Audit’s 37 short chapters starts with clear criteria for what democracy requires in that part of the nation’s political life and outlines key recent developments before a SWOT analysis (of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) crystallises the current situation. A small number of core issues are then explored in more depth.
Set against the global rise of debased semi-democracies, the book’s approach returns our focus firmly to the big issues around the quality and sustainability of the UK’s liberal democracy.Book Details