Paul Spicker

Turkish SymposiumProfessor Paul Spicker is a writer and commentator on social policy.  His published work includes eighteen books, several shorter works and 90 academic papers. A range of work is available on open access on this website. His studies of housing and welfare rights developed from his early career; since then, his research has included studies related to benefit delivery systems, the care of old people, psychiatric patients, housing management and local anti-poverty strategy. He has also been a consultant on social welfare in practice, doing work for a range of agencies at local, national and international levels. After teaching at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Dundee, he held the Grampian Chair of Public Policy at Robert Gordon University from 2001-2015.  He is now an Emeritus Professor of RGU and a Fellow of CROP, the International Social Science Council's Comparative Research Programme on Poverty. 


Paul Spicker's books have been published in 14 countries and 9 languages.  They include: Books by Paul Spicker There are longer publication lists on Google Scholar and ORCID. Click on the links for more details.

Recent publications and papers


Social Policy 3rd edition
  1. Seven principles of public life: time to rethink, Public Money and Management, 34(1) 11-18.
  2. Universal Credit: Don't blame the IT, Computer Weekly, Feb. 2014
  3. The principles of the Common Weal, Common Weal, March 2014.
  4. Social Policy: theory and practice, Policy Press, 2014.
  5. Universality vs Selectivity, Scottish Left Review 82, May/June 2014, p 7.
  6. Better Together: Pensions, in J Ross, Scottish Independence: can you trust the campaign posters? BBC News Scotland Politics.
  7. Developing a Scottish social security system , Scottish Housing Matters, August; and Developing a social security system for Scotland, Chartered Institute of Housing, July.
  8. Serbo-Croat edition of Social Policy Pol Spiker (sic), Socijalna Politika: teorija i praksa, Belgrade, Univerzitet u Beogradu (trans J Vidojevic, N Perisic)
  9. A social security system for Scotland, Housing Scotland 103 July/Aug p 8.
  10. What will greater powers mean for benefits? Lessons from Northern Ireland, Housing Scotland 105 Oct p.5
  11. A few myths about poverty, Challenge Poverty Week, October.
  12. Cohesion, exclusion and social quality, International Journal of Social Quality, 4(1) pp. 95-107.
  13. Polityka spoleczna - teoria, Warszawa : Centrum Rozwoju Zasobów Ludzkich.
  14. Polityka spoleczna - praktyka, Warszawa : Centrum Rozwoju Zasobów Ludzkich


  1. Policy translation: a reply, Global Discourse, DOI: 10.1080/23269995.2015.1004251.
  2. The devolution of social security benefits in Scotland: The Smith Commission, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice 23(1), DOI: 10.1332/175982715X14226074788880
  3. The proposed draft clauses on welfare: submission to the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee and Evidence to the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee, 19.2.2015
  4. Why study public policy?, in K Vaidya (ed) Public policy and administration for the curious, The Curious Academic Publishing.
  5. An ideas paper: The case for Public Employment Common Weal Policy Unit.
  6. Proposals for a Lobbying Transparency Bill - Consultation Response, Scottish Parliament.
  7. Programme for Government: a social policy analysis, Common Weal.
  8. New powers for Scotland?, Scottish Anti Poverty Review 19, Summer 2015, pp. 16-18.
  9. We need more resources than income alone, Challenge Poverty Week, October.
  10. The future delivery of social security in Scotland (submission to the Welfare Reform Committee), and Official report: Welfare Reform Committee, 10.11.2015, Scottish Parliament.


  1. Ethical covert research, in J Scott-Jones (ed), Research ethics in practice, London: Sage, vol II.
  2. New benefit powers for Scotland, Glasgow: Poverty Alliance.
  3. What can the Scottish Parliament do with new social security powers? Glasgow: Common Weal
  4. The fiscal framework and the delivery of benefits, submission to the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee, March 2016Analiza Politike za Praksu (Serbian Edition)
  5. Economics as practical wisdom, Real World Economics Review 75 June 2016 pp 113-125
  6. Poverty as a wicked problem, Bergen: Comparative Research Programme on Poverty.
  7. A new future for social security: response to the consultation paper .
  8. Evidence to the Social Security Committee of the Scottish Parliament: Work Programme Priorities, Official report:  Social Security Committee 17.11.2016
  9. Pol Spiker (sic), Analiza Politike za Praksu: Belgrade: Univerzitet u Beogradu.


Arguments for welfare, Rowman and Littlefield 2017
  1. What's wrong with social security benefits?, Policy Press 2017What's wrong with social security benefits?, Bristol: Policy Press.
  2. The real dependent variable problem: the limitations of quantitative analysis in comparative policy studies,
    Social Policy & Administration  DOI: 10.1111/spol.12308; currently available on Early View
  3. Arguments for welfare, London: Rowman and Littlefield.
  4. The takeup of benefits: lessons from the UK, in H van Hootegem (ed) Armoede en ineffectiviteit van rechten - Pauvreté et ineffectivité des droits, Brussels: die Keure.
  5. Principles of social welfare: Arabic TranslationPrinciples of Social Welfare (Arabic version), translated by H Mattar, Democratic Arabic Center (Germany).

Also available

The page of Open Access materials in this blog includes previously published books, papers and reports. Five of the books listed above are now available free of charge on open access: There are web pages to complement Social Policy: Theory and Practice and How Social Security Works.