Social and Public Policy is an applied social science that explores the structure and functioning of welfare states from the perspective of social risks, such as unemployment, illness, disability, the birth of children or old age. Social and public policy delves into issues of welfare distribution and social inequality. Research in social and public policy focuses on poverty, sustainable welfare, unemployment and obstacles to employment, health differences, ageing, and social scientific disability studies.
Description of the discipline
The discipline of social and public policy investigates issues of social inequality and welfare, their distribution and related policies as well as ways to promote welfare and equality. Key research topics include social policy, urban issues, environmental policy and ageing.
Research profile and projects
Research in social and public policy focuses on poverty, sustainable welfare, unemployment and obstacles to employment, health differences, aging, and social scientific disability studies. The discipline also investigates the use of research-based information particularly during major changes in environmental policy.
- Anne Kouvonen: Using data linkage to investigate the mental health of migrants
- Decentralizing Finland’s energy regime: The triggers and dynamics of transition (DEFEND)
(project funded by the Academy of Finland New Energy Research Programme 2015–2018)
- Potential of continuous cover forestry for climate change mitigation, wood production and biodiversity protection (CONBIO) (project funded by the Helsinki University Centre for Environment (HENVI) 2015–2018)
For more information about research and grant-funded researchers, see the University of Helsinki research portal.
Discipline coordinator: University Lecturer Arho Toikka.
As a senior lecturer of the Faculty of Social Sciences, I help students become aware of their skills and expertise related to working life. My research interests revolve around career narratives, industrial relations, labour migration and work organisations.
Teaching (Master and Bachelor -level courses; all courses 5 ECTS):
- Social Justice and the City
- City and Culture
- Urban Studies Reading Seminar
- Master seminar I & II (Social and Public Policy)
- Urban Studies and Planning Research Methods (available to USP Master’s Programme students)
- The Land Question and Sustainable Urban Development
Ongoing research projects:
- “Late Modern Urban Place Promotion and Its Discontents”
- “Spaces of Confinement in the Institutions of Care and Control in Finland”
- “'Us and Now': The Politics of Populism, Time and Space in Central Eastern Europe"
I am a social and public policy researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. My doctoral research explores the implications of the digital economy for labour markets and social policy. Currently, I am conducting a European level analysis on the social and economic impacts of technological unemployment. The research, based on the EUROMOD microsimulation modelling, is part of Horizon2020 research project entitled BEYOND 4.0. In addition to my doctoral research, my current research focuses on political feasibility of basic income and Universal Credit.
Previously I worked as a researcher at the Finnish Social Insurance Institution, Kela. During my position at Kela, I was a member of the research group that was responsible for the preparations of the world’s first nationwide basic income experiment which was launched in Finland in January 2017. More recently, I have also worked as a visiting postgraduate scholar at the Institute for Policy Research (IPR), the University of Bath and as a researcher on two different Prime Minister’s Office’s research projects. These projects have examined desirable futures for work, decision-making needs and social policy solutions.
Blogs, websites and social media channels
- Social Policy Association in Finland/Janus
- Finnish Society for Environmental Social Science (YHYS)
- International Society for Ecological Economics
- Finnish Society for Science and Technology Studies
- Expert Panel on Sustainable Development
- Professor Anne Kouvonen on Twitter: @AKouvonen
- Administrative Data Research Network: ADRC-Northern Ireland
- Helsinki Health Study