FEATURE13 January 2016

Claus Moser and the LSE legacy

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Continuing the special editorial celebrating the 70th anniversary of the MRS, Geoffrey Roughton writes about the importance of Claus Moser and his work at the LSE.

Claus Moser, whose obituary appeared in early September 2015, received many tributes about the way he “did so much to enrich Britain economically and culturally after the Second World War”. He was a polymath; a man of empathy and scholarship; a gifted pianist; a director of the Royal Opera House; and a Master of an Oxford college, picking up a knighthood and peerage along the way. 

In such a glittering life, Moser’s contribution to our activities perhaps had less mention. But for market researchers, his 20-year tenure at the London School of Economics (LSE) – where he became professor of social statistics – was seminal to the development of survey methodology. His subsequent appointment by Harold Wilson as registrar general, meanwhile, helped to establish the value and independence of statistics.

For several years after 1945, LSE was pivotal in developing survey techniques. Claus was part of a hot-house of new ideas about social administration that brought him into contact with luminaries ...