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Publication types
Inequality, poverty and well-being
Inequality, poverty and well-being   The distribution of income, consumption and wealth continues to be a central area of IFS research. Amongst the many aspects of our work in this area, we seek to chart, explain, and understand changes in inequality in wages, earnings, incomes and consumption, in the UK and other countries; we also seek to examine the effectiveness of a wide range of policies aimed at reducing poverty - including taxes and benefits, and other types of policy interventions - both at home and abroad.

Our research is also concerned with the welfare implications of changes both to inequality and poverty. These depend on how far they are caused by permanent changes in the relative standings of individuals in the income distribution (e.g. a change in the return to certain skills caused by technical progress) or by changes in the frequency of short-lived events (e.g. temporary layoffs), as well as the availability to individuals of specific insurance and other mechanisms to mitigate unexpected events.

For useful facts and figures, visit our Incomes in the UK section, where you will also find out interactive model, Where do you fit in?, which uses the latest data to plot your position in the income distribution.

Research projects
Date started: 01 January 2013
This project investigates the redistribution and insurance accomplished by the UK tax and benefit system across the lifecycle.
Date started: 01 February 2012
Researchers at IFS monitor the changes in inequality across the population.
Date started: 01 January 2011
Researchers at IFS look child poverty on an ongoing basis, analysing the effectiveness of government policy designed to alleviate - and eventually abolish - child poverty.
Date started: 28 September 2010
Resources and analysis relating to the 2010 Spending Review.
Date started: 01 April 2010
This theme is concerned with a variety of behaviours and activities that can potentially lead either to unfavourable or indeed enhanced outcomes for young people.
Date started: 01 April 2010
For some groups of children, the pressures on their lives stemming from within their family, their peers, or the wider community will increase the chances of taking part in risky behaviours.
Date started: 17 March 2010
Analysis of the three main parties' proposals in the run-up to the general election 2010 and of Labour's record between 1997 and 2010.
Date started: 01 November 2009
With this short project, we intend to provide a descriptive analysis of the
Date started: 14 April 2009
This project uses the Labour Force Survey, the Family Resources Survey and TAXBEN, the IFS's tax and benefit simulation model to analyse the interaction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) with the tax and benefit system.
Date started: 15 October 2008
This research will analyse existing datasets to identify the characteristics of the very poorest families, and also self-employed families. It will examine different aspects of the economic circumstances of these families, including their income, material deprivation, and other subjective measures of poverty.
Date started: 01 July 2008
This project will update the forecast of child poverty in 2010 and 2020, and set out the cost of various policies that would help the government meet its target. The project will report in time to inform Budget 2009.
Date started: 01 April 2006
By taking a life-cycle approach, starting in early childhood and moving through to compulsory schooling and beyond, this project will build a picture of the cumulative nature of educational attainment, assessing the relative importance of different factors at different stages in the lives of young people growing up in poverty.
Date started: 01 September 2004
This project aims to explore the extent to which parental income affects smoking behaviour amongst children.
Date started: 01 September 2004
In this research we ask what differences in child development can be found between different ethnic groups.
Date started: 30 June 2004
In recognizing that it is hard to measure the relative welfare of individuals, households and countries this project so that we can understand phenomena like social exclusion, poverty etc this project will develop a method for deriving rankings which avoids the need to specify a weighting scheme.
Date started: 01 April 2004
Health inequalities among the older population have important implications for a range of policy issues as our population continues to age.
Date started: 01 January 2004
This study considers the consumption patterns amongst households in extreme poverty using a dataset covering 122 municipalities in Colombia. Looking particularly at goods such as food, education, health, house services, alcohol and tobacco, researchers will analyse the changes in relation to income, income sources and prices. In addition the research will look at how different members of the household change their patterns of consumption, especially children.
Date started: 01 October 2002
The worsening record on teenage pregnancies of both Britain and the USA relative to other countries motivates a continued interest in estimating the long-term socioeconomic consequences of teenage motherhood.
Date started: 01 October 2002
Policymakers have used the wide body of research evidence from around the world, which purports to show that children who grow up in poor families experience a wide range of negative outcomes, to justify large increases in benefits to families with children. The most commonly found justification for this approach has been that it serves to improve children's outcomes, both in childhood and later in life.
Date started: 01 October 2001
Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy (CPP)
Date started: 01 July 2000
The overall aim of this project was to investigate the trends in inequality in Britain in the 1990s and beyond, looking at what can be learned both from patterns of household income and expenditure.
Date started: 20 March 1994
PEUK is a forum for UK-based academic economists and policy makers interested in the broad area of applied theoretical and empirical analysis of public policy to meet and to exchange ideas.