The ESRC Centre for Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy is central to the research carried out and disseminated by IFS. The IFS as a whole seeks to carry out empirical microeconomic work of the highest quality and relevance, and to impact on policy and the public debate. The ESRC Centre is fundamental to the Institute’s success. It provides the long-term funding that allows IFS to carry out groundbreaking independent research in economics and microeconometrics, and to invest in developing a unique range of models and datasets. It is only through ESRC Centre funding that the IFS is able to maintain the combination of impartiality, rigour and authority which are essential if we are to continue to achieve wide-ranging impact on policy and to inform the public debate. It ensures that any evidence given at a select committee, appearance on broadcast media or briefing to ministers or industry leaders is underpinned by deep, unbiased intellectual foundations.
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. The wide ranging activity of the Centre enables researchers to identify and analyse relationships between different policy decisions, drawing, for example, on expertise in education policy analysis to understand better the structure and effects of certain health policies.
The Centre uses an extensive range of microeconomic and microeconometric techniques to provide well-rounded and timely research. For example, researchers refine and develop databases and computer models on public finances and the tax and benefit system; compile and improve new datasets on education, health and consumer choice; and develop and apply new theoretical and empirical models.