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Programme Overview

The Community Programme investigates both the sources of stability and change in values and their consequences with the ultimate aim of understanding how we can sustain social cohesion in the face of changing attitudes, faster migration, globalization and crime.

Research from the Wellbeing programme and elsewhere shows that it is the quality of people's interactions with others that is an important determinant of their well-being. The Community Programme will study how beliefs and values shape these interactions since these are also likely to be important in shaping economic outcomes. Beliefs and values are not primarily influenced by the laws and policies enacted by government but by the self-organising and self-regulating rules and norms that govern interactions between people. Other social sciences have traditionally paid more attention to these issues than economists but the traditional emphasis of economists on deriving aggregate behaviour from individual decisions and the use of quantitative analysis offers the hope of making progress on these very important issues.

The Community Programme concentrates on three main areas of research:

  • Change and Resilience: This area considers how communities respond and adapt following migration and other economic shocks.

  • Ideas, Values and Norms: This area examines how ideas, values and norms change over time, and to what extent these are transmitted through generations.

  • Crime: Here we consider how policy and economic incentives affect crime.