Facts and figures about UK taxes, benefits and public spending.
Income distribution, poverty and inequality.
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Analysing government fiscal forecasts and tax and spending.
Analysis of the fiscal choices an independent Scotland would face.
Case studies that give a flavour of the areas where IFS research has an impact on society.
Reforming the tax system for the 21st century.
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This paper examines the impact of month of birth on national achievement test scores in England whilst children are in school, and on subsequent further and higher education participation. Using geographical variation in school admissions policies, we are able to split this difference into an age of starting school or length of schooling effect, and an age of sitting the test effect. We find that the month in which you are born matters for test scores at ages 7, 11, 14 and 16, with younger children performing significantly worse, on average, than their older peers. Furthermore, almost all of this difference is due to the fact that younger children sit exams up to one year earlier than older cohort members. The difference in test scores at age 16 potentially affects the number of pupils who stay on beyond compulsory schooling, with predictable labour market consequences. Indeed, we find that the impact of month of birth persists into higher education (college) decisions, with age 19/20 participation declining monotonically with month of birth. The fact that being young in your school year affects outcomes after the completion of compulsory schooling points to the need for urgent policy reform, to ensure that future cohorts of children are not adversely affected by the month of birth lottery inherent in the English education system.
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Recent IFS Working Papers
Estimating the effect of teacher pay on pupil attainment using boundary discontinuities
This paper provides causal estimates of the effect of teacher pay on pupil attainment using a sharp geographical discontinuity in teacher salaries.
Nutrition, information, and household behaviour: experimental evidence from Malawi
This paper studies the effects of a randomised intervention in rural Malawi which, over a six-month period, provided mothers of young infants with information on child nutrition without supplying any monetary or in-kind resources.
Labor income dynamics and the insurance from taxes, transfers and the family
What do labor income dynamics look like over the life-cycle? What is the relative importance of persistent shocks, transitory shocks and heterogeneous profiles? To what extent do taxes, transfers and the family attenuate these various factors in the evolution of life-cycle inequality? In this paper, we use rich Norwegian data to answer these important questions.
IFS research increased awareness of the disadvantages faced by children born at the end of the academic year.
Why do children born at the start of the academic year do better at school than those born later? Using innovative techniques, we have shown that it is primarily because of the age at which children sit national achievement tests.