New Zealand as a “social laboratory”
New Zealand as a “social laboratory”Date: 30 July 2015 Time: 12.30 pm
In the period 1890-1920 New Zealand was at times regarded by foreign observers as a "social laboratory" in which new policy initiatives were being set in train. More recently, and famously, Pickett and Wilkinson have developed their "Spirit Level" hypothesis on societal inequality by comparing different countries and drawing conclusions about theory and policy. Are either or both of these approaches just inspiring and metaphorical insights, or can we attribute more rigour to a kind of "thought experiment" that sets a counterfactual to the status quo? Over the next two years, under a James Cook fellowship, we will be constructing a simulation-based model of some of the key socio-demographic processes in New Zealand society over the last quarter century, drawing in the first instance on the New Zealand Longitudinal Census, 1981-2013, as its empirical foundation. Potentially this is a powerful instrument of cooperative social inquiry that can be used for policy testing, for scholarly purposes, and also for teaching as well.
Peter Davis is Professor of the Sociology of Health and Well-being at the University of Auckland, with cross-appointments in Population Health and Statistics, and founding director of the COMPASS Research Centre, a decade-long grant-funded research group. He has Masters degrees in Sociology and Statistics from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in community health from Auckland. His main interests are in applying advanced methodological techniques to social data in addressing policy and substantive questions.
You are welcome to bring your colleagues
RSVPs are not required and there is no charge
Enquiries to: Maggy Hope Ph: 04 463 6565