About the IFS

The Institute for Fiscal Studies was founded in 1969. Established as an independent research institute, IFS was launched with the principal aim of better informing public debate on economics in order to promote the development of effective fiscal policy. Through the establishment of rigorous independent research, for example the IFS Green Budget and Post Budget analysis, IFS successfully opened up debate about public policy to a wider audience and influenced policy decision making.

Today, IFS is Britain’s leading independent microeconomic research institute. Its research remit is one of the broadest in public policy analysis, covering subjects from tax and benefits to education policy, from labour supply to corporate taxation. Our research not only has an impact on policy makers, think tanks and practitioners, it has also gained a worldwide reputation for academic rigour, and contributes to the development of academic scholarship. We communicate our research widely on a national and international scale, providing independent advice to policy makers in the UK, Europe and in developing countries; collaborating with world renowned academics on new economic theories and techniques; and disseminating our research globally through the press, media and the web.

IFS is host to the ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy which analyses fiscal policy to determine its effects on households and companies. The Centre’s work covers the full extent of policy impact, investigating the ways in which policies influence human capital investments, work and occupational choice, firm behaviour, saving and retirement decisions, consumer choices and the public finances.


IFS Green Budget to be live-streamed

The IFS Green Budget, in association with ICAEW and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, will be launched at an event at Guildhall in London at 10am on Monday 8 February. All presentations will be live-streamed so those unable to attend can hear our analysis in real-time. A full programme and live-stream connection can be found on the main publication page.    

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IFS launches new centre on taxation in developing countries

Today marks the start of the new Centre for Tax Analysis in Developing Countries (TAXDEV) at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Funded by a 26 month accountable grant from the Department for International Development (DfID), TAXDEV will coordinate and conduct a programme of research, policy analysis, and capacity building on tax administration and policy, and associated areas of social protection policy, in developing countries.

TAXDEV’s programme will consist of two main components. The first involves working with governments and other stakeholders in two specific developing countries – Ethiopia and Ghana – to co-produce modeling tools and analyses of the key tax and benefit policy and administration issues these countries face. As well as informing decisions in particular policy areas, this co-production methodology will help foster in-country analytical capacity and help embed quantitative analysis of policies in the policymaking and evaluation process. TAXDEV researchers have already engaged with civil servants and other stakeholders in these countries and will be travelling to Ethiopia and Ghana in the next few months to further develop initial project ideas. Projects are anticipated to start by the summer.

The second component of the programme is broader research on taxation in developing countries. This will focus on understanding how the changing economic and administrative constraints as countries develop affects what makes good tax policy, and the impacts of tax policies and administration systems on revenue raising capabilities and on households, businesses and the economy. This will build on existing research, new empirical and theoretical findings, and outputs from the analyses generated in Ethiopia and Ghana.

TAXDEV’s director will be IFS Senior Research Economist Laura Abramovsky, who will be supported by deputy director, IFS Senior Research Economist David Phillips. IFS researchers as well as senior academics and IFS research associates and fellows from around the world will also be working in this major new initiative, which if successful will hopefully expand in future years.

IFS Director Paul Johnson, who will be Chair of TAXDEV said “Designing effective tax policy requires good empirical evidence on the effects of different policy options on people and businesses. This evidence is too often lacking in developing countries. Our new DfID-funded TAXDEV initiative is designed to help address this, and to help build the capacity of the governments of Ethiopia and Ghana to undertake their own research and analysis of the key tax policy issues they face”.  

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Orazio Attanasio and Rachel Griffith appointed as IFS Research Directors

Orazio Attanasio and Rachel Griffith have been appointed as research directors of the IFS. 

Orazio is Professor of Economics at University College London, where he is currently head of department. He has been involved with research at the Institute since 1995, where he now co-directs the Centre for the Evaluation of Development Policies (EDePo) and the ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy.

Rachel is Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester and has been involved with IFS research since 1993, where she now co-directs the ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2015 and the Birgit Grodal Award in 2014.

Richard Blundell, who has served a Research Director since 1986, is stepping down from this role, but will still make an important contribution to the research programme at IFS and will continue as director of the ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at IFS.

Paul Johnson, IFS Director, said: "We are delighted that Rachel Griffith and Orazio Attanasio are taking on these key roles at IFS. They are intellectual leaders in their fields and will make a vital contribution to the cutting-edge research which underpins our success. I would like to thank Richard for the great work that he has done over many years at IFS and look forward to his continued involvement in our research programme."

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