Skip navigation
The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Positive linking: How networks can change the world, with Paul Ormerod

>In his new book Positive Linking

As part of our New Era Economics programme, IPPR is hosting an event with leading economist Paul Ormerod - author of Butterfly Economics and partner at Volterra Consulting - on networks and their importance to economics, policy and society.

Tuesday 10 July, (from 8.30 for) 9.00-10.30
IPPR, 4th Floor, 14 Buckingham Street, London, WC2N 6DF

  • Respondent: Marc Stears, professor of political theory, University of Oxford, and visiting fellow, IPPR
  • Chair: Tony Dolphin, senior economist and associate director for economic policy, IPPR

The financial crisis has shown us that conventional economics, and the rigid modelling and mechanistic assumptions that characterise it, are drastically limited by their failure to comprehend networks. Few economists anticipated a scenario in which one bankrupt institution, Lehman Brothers, could bring about the collapse of the entire global financial network. Yet this is what nearly happened, until policymakers decided that the world of finance was 'too connected to fail'.

Meanwhile, our social and economic worlds have been revolutionised, communications transformed, and for the first time in human history, more than half of us live in cities. We are increasingly aware of the choices, decisions, behaviours and opinions of other people. Network effects - the way people change their behaviour on the basis of copying what others do - pervade the modern world.

Paul Ormerod believes network effects make conventional approaches to policy, whether in the public or corporate sectors, much more likely to fail. But they open up the possibility of truly 'positive linking' - of more subtle, effective and successful policies, ones which harness our knowledge of network effects and how they work in practice.

To book a place at this event, please contact or 020 7470 6100 as soon as possible. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.