Facts and figures about UK taxes, benefits and public spending.
Income distribution, poverty and inequality.
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.
A peer-reviewed quarterly journal publishing articles by academics and practitioners.
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.
View all IFS Working Papers in the series
Recent IFS Working Papers
The UK's public finances in the long run: the IFS model
This working paper describes how the IFS’s model of the UK’s long-run public finances (and those of its constituent nations) is constructed.
Efficient responses to targeted cash transfers
In this paper, we estimate a collective model of household consumption and test the restrictions of collective rationality using z-conditional demands in the context of a large Conditional Cash Transfer programme in rural Mexico.
Policy discontinuity and duration outcomes
A comparison of hazard rates of duration outcomes before and after policy changes is hampered by non-identification if there is unobserved heteogeneity in the effects and no model structure is imposed. We develop a discontinuity approach that overcomes this by exploiting variation in the moment at which different cohorts are exposed to the policy change, i.e. by considering spells crossing the policy change.
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.