Paul Spicker

Professor Paul Spicker is a writer and commentator on social policy. His published work includes twenty 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 is a consultant on social welfare in practice, and has done 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.


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


  1. What’s wrong with social security benefits?, Bristol: Policy Press.
  2. Arguments for welfare, London: Rowman and Littlefield.
  3. 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.
  4. Principles of Social Welfare (Arabic version), translated by H Mattar, Democratic Arabic Center (Germany).
  5. Social Security (Scotland) Bill: response to the consultation  Scottish Parliament – Social Security Committee
  6. The Future of Social Security in Scotland: views from
    within the system
    , Glasgow: Public and Commercial Services Union,
  7. Social policy and health care, Addendum 3 of J Sturmberg, Health
    systems redesign, Cham, Switzerland: Springer International, DOI
    10.1007/978-3-319-64605-3, pp 283-290.


  1. The real dependent variable problem: the limitations of quantitative analysis in comparative policy studies,  Social Policy & Administration 52(1) pp 216-228 DOI: 10.1111/spol.12308
  2. 50 years of poverty studies: how our ideas of poverty have changed, Social Policy Association.
  3. Antisemitism: if you think this article is about Israel, think again, Common Space 16th April
  4. A correspondence between Paul Spicker and Malcolm Torry,  Citizens Basic Income Trust, 6th August.
  5. Universal Basic Income in the UK, Citizens Income Network Scotland, 12th September.
  6. Basic Income, human rights and equality, Citizens Income Network Scotland, 25th September
  7. Basic Income and housing, Citizens Income Network Scotland, 11th October
  8. UBI, child care and unpaid caring, Citizens Income Network Scotland, October.


  1. Some reservations about Basic Income, Scottish Universities Insight Unit, April.
  2. Background papers on Basic Income and Human  Rights and Equality (pp 12-17), Care (pp 47-52, Housing (62-65) and Reservations about
    Basic Income (pp 90-104) are in M Danson, C Goodman, J Perry
    (eds) Exploring Basic Income in Scotland, Scottish Universities Insight Unit, April.
  3. Thinking collectively: social policy, collective action and the common good, Bristol: Policy Press.
  4. Social security, in D Scott (ed) Manifestos, policies and practices: an equalities agenda, London: UCL Institute of Education, pp 170-190.
  5. Evidence on take-up to the Social Security Committee of the Scottish Parliament, and Official Report of proceedings


  1. Social exclusion and the relational elements of poverty, in G Koelhler, A Cimadamore, F Kiwan, P Gonzalez (eds), The politics of social inclusion, Stuttgart: Ibidem Press, pp 81-98.
  2. The poverty of nations: a relational perspective, Bristol: Policy Press.
  3. The economics of Universal Credit: submission to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

Also available

The page of Open Access materials in this blog includes previously published books, papers and reports. Seven of the books listed above are now available free of charge on open access:

    • Stigma and social welfare (1984)
    • Principles of social welfare (1989)
    • Poverty and social security (1993)
    • The welfare state: a general theory (2000)
    • Liberty, equality, fraternity (2006)
    • Poverty: an international glossary (2007)
    • The origins of modern welfare (2010)

There is a web page to complement Social Policy: Theory and Practice.