Economics of Age

The Actuarial Profession, Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ, 16:30, 11 December 2007

A seminar featuring new research on how individuals perceive and respond to 'social risks', and discussion on how public policy should respond.

Risk is inherent in the choices and decisions that individuals make in multiple aspects of their lives, whether in their careers, financial behaviour, healthcare or family-life. How individuals understand and respond to risk determines outcomes in these different spheres right across the life-course.

Perceptions and responses to risk are therefore of enormous interest to policy-makers. The challenge is in how and whether public policy can “improve” the way that individuals perceive and respond to such ‘social risks’.

This debate began with a presentation of new research by Andreas Cebulla of the National Centre for Social Research exploring risk perceptions and responses among different social and age-groups.

This was followed by a panel and audience discussion addressing the following questions:

  • Is it possible to "improve" individuals' response to risk?
  • If so, is it the role of the Government and public policy to achieve this?
  • How can the Government improve responses and perceptions of risk?
  • Which social and age-groups should be the focus of public policy?

The panel comprised:

  • Robert Walker, Professor of Social Policy, University of Oxford
  • Peter Lunt, Professor of Media and Communications, Brunel University