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About IFS
About IFS

Our goal at the Institute for Fiscal Studies is to promote effective economic and social policies by understanding better their impact on individuals, families, businesses and the government's finances. Our findings are based on rigorous analysis, detailed empirical evidence and in-depth institutional knowledge. We seek to communicate them effectively, to a wide range of audiences, thereby maximising their impact on policy both directly and by informing public debate.

Over the past 40 years, the IFS has come a long way since four financial professionals lamented the poor design of Capital Gains Tax and decided that fiscal policy in Britain needed more effective independent scrutiny.

We are now established as Britain's leading independent microeconomic research institute, and as authoritative commentators on the public finances, tax and welfare policy, tax law, education, inequality and poverty, pensions, productivity and innovation, consumer behaviour and the evaluation of policies designed to promote development in poorer countries.

As fate would have it, we celebrate our ruby anniversary at a time when these areas of expertise could not be more relevant to the challenges confronting policymaker at home and abroad. The demands for our analysis and advice have never been greater and we are determined to rise to the challenge.

The quality of our work reflects the quality of our people, drawn from across the world and nurtured in a unique team-based research environment that combines world class academic excellence with a focus on the practicalities of real-world policymaking. As well as our staff, we are proud of our extensive network of collaborators around the world, the leading experts in their fields. And we are proud of our alumni, many of whom have taken the skills they have developed with us into high-profile roles in the media, politics, the civil service, international institutions, the voluntary sector and the private sector.

Commenting on often controversial issues, our most cherished asset is a hard-won reputation for objectivity and impartiality - whether people agree with the conclusions we reach or not. Fundamentally, that reputation rests on the quality of our work. But it also reflects the way we are funded. We are a charity. We aren't part of a large university. We don't do consultancy work. We don't have politically motivated sugar daddies. And we aren't bankrolled by a few big companies.

We welcome support from charitable foundations, and public and private bodies, to help fund particular pieces of research - as long as we are free to publish our findings whether the funder likes them or not. But to undertake basic research, and to respond flexibly to policy development, we rely crucially on the core funding we receive from the Economic and Social Research Council. Without this support, the IFS could not have become what it is today.

Thanks to this support, the media, policymakers, businesspeople and politicians of every stripe can trust our judgement. As Gordon Brown said a decade ago, on our 30th anniversary, the IFS has "established itself as an indispensable British institution". We hope we can rely on your support in continuing to play that role.

Reflections by previous Directors

The Institute for Fiscal Studies, Dick Taverne, Against the Tide: Politics and Beyond. A Memoir, Biteback Publishing, 2014, chapter 8, pp.201-220. Purchase the full publication here.
Dick Taverne, 1970 to 1979
John Kay, 1979 to 1986
Bill Robinson, 1986 to 1991
Andrew Dilnot, 1991 to 2002
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Contact details
The Institute for Fiscal Studies
7 Ridgmount Street,
WC1E 7AE.      See map

tel: 020 7291 4800
fax: 020 7323 4780