Health and healthcare

Research in this area encompasses both healthcare systems and individual health.

Our work on healthcare systems focuses on the increased use of market mechanisms within the NHS. We examine the responses of patients, GPs and other healthcare workers to market incentives, and the impacts upon recorded NHS activity and hospital outcomes.

Our work on health includes:

  • trying to understand the relationship between socio-economic status and health;
  • examining the causes and consequences of poor health across the lifecycle;
  • the effect of individuals’ consumption decisions on health; and
  • how public policy can influence these behaviours.


We also compare levels of and inequality in health in the UK with patterns seen in other developed countries.

Designing alcohol taxes: Evidence from the UK market

| External publications

Governments have long used taxation to correct for the socially costly overconsumption of alcohol, but as the external cost of overconsumption varies across drinkers, a single tax rate is not optimal. This column argues that variation in preferences for different products and in price responsiveness across heavy and light drinkers provides scope to improve welfare by varying tax rates across alcohol products. The proposed framework is well suited to addressing other sources of external costs, such as obesity.

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What's happening to NHS spending?

| Video clip

IFS researcher, Andrew Hood, looks at what is happening to spending in the National Health Service.

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The prevalence and dynamics of social care receipt

| Report

The prevalence and dynamics of social care receipt

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