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what do we know and what should we do about...?

The 'what do we know and what should we do about...?' series

A collection of books that offers readers of all levels, short, up-to-date overviews of key issues often misrepresented or simplified in the mainstream media, written by leading social scientists who have an established reputation in the relevant subject area.

In each book, the authors provide an overview of the research around the subject ('what do we know'), whether this be long-established or the most recent findings, and suggest ideas about ‘what we should do’, based upon the authors’ knowledge of the field, their own views, values and preferences.

Readers may not agree with these suggestions, but the intention is to provoke thought and well-informed debate.



‘This highly accessible but scholarly series which sees leading social scientists in the UK tackle some of the key issues facing us all today is exactly the sort of publication the Academy of Social Sciences has encouraged over the years. Congratulations to SAGE on bringing it out.’

Roger Goodman, Chair, Academy of Social Sciences

‘Concise, precise, beautifully designed, illustrated and written. If you want to learn a lot about what matters most, in as short a time as possible, this is the series for you.’

Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, University of Oxford


About the authors...


Jonathan Portes

Jonathan Portes is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at King’s College London.

He served as Chief Economist at the Department for Work and Pensions from 2002 to 2008 and Chief Economist at the Cabinet Office from 2008 to 2011. He led the Cabinet Office’s economic policy work during the financial crisis and in 2011 he became Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

Melanie Simms

Melanie Simms is Professor of Work and Employment at the University of Glasgow, UK.

She writes widely on the topic of work and employment with a particular interest in two main areas: how workers get to influence changes at work; and how young people move into the labour market after education.

Mike Brewer

Mike Brewer is a Professor of Economics at the University of Essex and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

He was a member of the National Equality Panel (2008–10), and has served on commissions or similar set up by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Resolution Foundation and the Scottish Government.


Chris Grey

Series Editor: Chris Grey

Professor of Organization Studies at Royal Holloway University of London, having previously held professorships at Cambridge and Warwick, and Visiting Professorships at Copenhagen Business School and Université Paris-Dauphine. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and his research has been profiled on Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed and Social Science Bites.


Out now...


What Do We Know and What Should We Do About Immigration? by Jonathan Portes

Provides readers with a detailed discussion of ‘What We Know’ about the economic and social impact of immigration, and analysis of what the impact of free movement of people has been, both in the UK and the rest of the EU. The author concludes by suggesting ‘What We Should Do” about immigration, and what – if anything – do we need to promote integration?

Read a free chapter

The Future of Work

What Do We Know and What Should We Do About the Future of Work? by Melanie Simms

Analyses ‘What We Know’ about the current state of paid employment in the UK and provides a far-ranging examination of the most pressing issues facing traditional employment, such as the rise of automation and demographic change. The author concludes by suggesting ‘What We Should Do' – identifying four main areas that would have to be strengthened, in order to deliver a society and economy with more and better jobs.

Read a free chapter


What Do We Know and What Should We Do About Inequality? by Mike Brewer

Discusses "What We Know" about economic inequalities in the UK, presenting new analysis of the top 1% and 0.1%, summarising the causes and consequences of high levels of inequality, and concluding with an outline of "What We Should Do" to move the UK off its high-inequality path, including further taxation, wealth redistribution and welfare reform.

Read a free chapter



Coming soon...



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