EVENT – Listening to Young People for Better Social Policies

Cover Event OECD

27-28 February
London School of Economics and Political Science

Co-organised by the OECD Centre for Opportunity and Equality (COPE) and The 89 Initiative, the conference “Listening to Young People Today for Better Social Policies Tomorrow” will take place on 27th-28th February 2020 at the LSE European Institute in London.

The conference will focus on future directions for social policy-making and implementation, in particular looking at what are the social risks that matter to different generations and to foreign-born and native-born populations. What actions can governments take to address these risks, and is there a role for intergovernmental organisations? The issue of social and environmental policies are also playing an important role in the conversation, together with social mobility, housing affordability, future of the job market and economic insecurity.

It will also discuss the forms of interactions between the public and policy making institutions and within administrations. How can governments reach out to stakeholders and individuals to inform the policy making process? What is the interaction of this process with civic education and democratic participation?

The conference will bring together young participants from different European countries (UK included) for the first half day, to take part in roundtable groups to discuss issues such as housing, social mobility, economic insecurity and the future of work. The second day comprises panel discussion between key thinkers and experts in these fields, from a range of disciplines.  The young participants will then present their policy proposals.

The panel discussion combined with roundtable debates on policy proposals, will result in a post-conference policy report, directed towards MEPs and other key stakeholders in EU affairs and in OECD member states.


27 February 2020

The first day of the conference will be a reserved space for a limited number of participants to engage more closely with the issue of social policies and present during the second day a set of policy recommendations. The first roundtable – led by experts from OECD and facilitated by the 89 Initiative – will create a level playground about the main topics of the conference. The second roundtable will be an interactive workshop about crafting policy proposal led by the research directors and practitioners of the 89 Initiative.

14.00 – 14.15
Simon Glendinning, Head of the European Institute and Professor in European Philosophy, LSE

14.15 – 14.30
Faiza Shaheen, Director, Centre for Labour and Social Studies

14.30 – 14.45
Time to reach the rooms

14.45 – 16.15
Roundtable: An opening presentation by OECD presenting key themes highlighted in the issues note followed by open discussions with participants.

16.15 – 16.30

16.30 – 18.00
Roundtable: The objective of the roundtable will be to develop policy proposals by participants

28 February 2020

9:00 – 09:30
Registration in Shaw Library (Old Building, 6th Floor)

Welcome remarks by the LSE, 89 Initiative and the OECD

Keynote address

What Worries Young People in OECD Countries Today?

The opening plenary session will “set the scene” by looking at what social and economic challenges young adults face today. The session will begin with an OECD director presenting key results from the OECD Risks that Matter survey, which examines people’s perceptions of social and economic risks and seeks to understand how well people feel governments react to their concerns. The presentation will then dig deeper by looking at results for youths in 21 OECD countries. What are youths most worried about today? Do young people feel governments adequately provide for their economic security? The discussion will then open the floor for discussion by 3-4 panelists. The panelists will debate what they see as the key dimensions of economic insecurity for young adults today and how well youths are engaging with government (and vice versa) to bring about policy reform.

Moderated by: 89 Initiative


  • Monika Queisser, Head of Social Policy and Senior Counsellor, OECD
  • Alberto Alemanno, Director, The Good Lobby
  • Linus Steinmetz, Fridays for Future, Germany
  • Andy Green, Professor of Comparative Social Science at UCL Institute of Education

Lunch break

Changing Cities: Housing Affordability and Social Mobility

This panel session will explore issues that youths identify as major concerns in their communities: housing affordability, economic insecurity and social mobility. What challenges do youths face in securing affordable and good-quality housing, and what are the implications for inequality and social mobility in an urban landscape increasingly characterised by segregation? What can be done to ensure that where someone is born does not determine where they end up in life?

Moderator: Dr. Marina Cino Pagliariello


  • Christine Whitehead, Emeritus Professor of Housing Economics at LSE
  • Daniele Ietri, Professor at the Free University of Bozen
  • Maria Sisternas, City Design Consultant and entrepreneur, Mediaurban
  • George Bangham, Economist Resolution Foundation

Coffee break

Thinking Ahead: Economic Insecurity and the Future of Work

The world of work is changing, which presents opportunities, but also challenges for young people’s economic security. This panel session will explore how the future of work and the future of social protection are driving economic insecurity today. How are jobs changing? Are today’s youths adapting to changing labour markets? How can educational reforms facilitate this adaptation? What are the implications of these changes for social protection? Can the workers of tomorrow count on the same protections that their parents and grandparents had, like access to adequate health insurance and financial security in old age?

Moderated by:


  • Jeremias Prassl, Professor, Oxford University
  • Tea Jarc, President of ETUC Youth Committee
  • Francesco Seghezzi, Director, Association for International and Comparative Studies in the field of Labour Law and Industrial Relations
  • Andrea Casamenti, Board Member, European Youth Forum


Plenary Session at which policy recommendations are presented

Closing remarks & Cocktail

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