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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Guest Lecture with Professor Sir Roderick Floud 15th May 2012 Event

16:15 - 17:15
15 May 2012
Building 37, room 4049 (Senate room), Highfield Campus, Southampton, SO17 1BJ. A drinks reception will be held afterwards from 5.30pm. To RSVP please email

For more information regarding this event, please telephone Sarah Dack on +44 (0)23 8059 2522 (x22522) or email .

Event details

Historian, measure thyself:innovation in social science

In this lecture, Professor Floud will discuss the central importance which governments now give to innovation as a justification for funding research and as a major stimulus to economic growth. Most attention is given to innovation in manufacturing, although the economies of all OECD countries are mostly based on services, whose productivity has been rising at least as rapidly as manufacturing.

The lecture discusses the ideology and measurement problems which lead to this situation. It also argues that this concentration on manufacturing devalues services and the social sciences which are both service industries themselves and also analyse problems which are not amenable to mechanical solutions.

The lecture considers the nature of innovation in a social science, that of economic history. It discusses measures of output and productivity and the contribution of ICT. The focus is on four case-studies, which have together transformed our understanding of the growth of the British economy since 1700 and analyses these innovations and the people and institutions which contributed to them. Finally, it draws conclusions for public policy.

Professor Roderick Floud is an economic historian, whose most recent book (with Robert Fogel, Bernard Harris and Sok Chul Hong) is The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition and Human Development in the Western World since 1700. Roderick is Provost of Gresham College, London, and Chair of the Standing Committee for the Social Sciences of the European Science Foundation.

Formerly Vice-Chancellor of London Metropolitan University, Roderick was also President of UniversitiesUK and Vice-President of the European University Association. He was knighted for services to higher education and has been particularly concerned with part-time students.

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