PS: Political Science & Politics

The 2013 Ithiel de Sola Pool Lecture

What Is the Value of Social Science? Challenges for Researchers and Government Funders

Arthur Lupia

University of Michigan

It is a great honor to have been invited to deliver the Ithiel de Sola Pool lecture. Professor de Sola Pool had a tremendous influence on scholarship and practice. His work describes the ways in which evolving technologies fundamentally alter communicative expectations and social outcomes. Years after their publication, works such as Technologies of Freedom (1984) continue to provide insight about how the networked communications are changing the world. Professor de Sola Pool's work is of great public value. In what follows, I want to focus our attention on the value of social science today.

Arthur Lupia is a research professor at the Center for Political Studies and the Hal R. Varian Professor, Department of Political Science, at the University of Michigan. As his award citation noted, “Professor Lupia truly captures a range of scholarship, nearly unparalleled in the discipline. While he may be best known for his widely cited and influential work on information and public opinion formation, he also has made fundamental contributions to the study of institutions (e.g., referenda, legislatures), comparative politics (e.g., coalition formation, duration), international relations (EU relations), and methodology (e.g., the use of experiments and surveys). For this work he has received, the National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research (he is the only political scientist to have ever won the award), election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the receipt of the Warren Mitofsky Innovators' Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship. His work also stands out insofar as he combines the logical rigor of formal models with the empirical realism of psychologically oriented work.” He can be reached at