Who to trust? Forming policy beliefs in a polarised world

G03 Alan Walters Building
Monday 25 February 2019 (18:00-19:00)

For more information, please contact Ceara Wason by email or by phone on +44 (0)121 415 1050.

As part of the College of Social Sciences inaugural lecture series, we are delighted to present the inaugural lecture of Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, Professor of Economics. 

We live in an information-rich world but paradoxically may be information poor as a result. Rather than reading news from a ‘mainstream media’, people have the choice to get their news updates from social media and alternate media of almost every conceivable slant. This can lead people to get caught in a bubble where they continuously listen to ‘news’ that confirms their beliefs.

Drawing on research in this field, Professor Bandyopadhyay will explore the implications this has for the types of political parties and leaders that come into power, and the policies that they implement. In particular, he will argue that politicians with extreme policies may be a direct product of this environment. Professor Bandyopadhyay will try to understand how one forms their beliefs about the real impact of different policy options, and whether there is scope for meaningful conversations among people who disagree. Throughout the lecture, illustrations will be used to show why the existence of polarised groups can cause the persistence of inefficient policies. A lack of criminal justice reforms in the US even when everyone recognises the need for reform or the failure to agree on a Brexit deal even where everyone agrees ‘no deal’ is bad for the U.K. are examples of inefficient policies stemming from partisan groups refusing to compromise. The lecture will conclude with what challenges this poses for non-partisan groups who want to see evidence-based policymaking.

About Professor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay

Siddhartha BandyopadhyaySiddhartha is an internationally recognised economist in the field of political economy and public policy, with a particular interest in the economics of crime and economic evaluation of policy. He is the Director of the multi-disciplinary Centre for Crime, Justice and Policing and leads the 21st Century Transnational Crime theme for the Institute for Global Innovation. He is an interdisciplinary scholar, and has recently had a number of funded projects where he works with scholars in psychology, law and medicine. In addition to regularly publishing in Economics journals, Sid has also had work published his in internationally-leading political science and criminology journals.