Our goal at the Institute for Fiscal Studies is to promote effective economic and social policies by better understanding how policies affect individuals, families, businesses and the government's finances.

The decline in homeownership among young adults

Whether they are rich or poor, today’s young adults are much less likely to own their own home than those in their place one or two decades ago - but the biggest decline in homeownership has been among young adults with middle incomes. These are some of the key findings from new IFS research looking at how and why homeownership rates have changed for young adults over the past twenty years.

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Wage progression and the gender wage gap

The gender wage gap has come down, but it remains at around 20%. There are lots of reasons for the scale and persistence of this gap, but new work shows that one important factor is that mothers spend less time in paid work, and more time working part-time, than do fathers. As a result, they miss out on earnings growth associated with more experience.

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A 'Brexit Dividend' to spend on the NHS?

NHS funding has been important in recent policy debates and also played a prominent role in the 2016 referendum campaign. This famously included claims that some or all of the UK’s gross contribution (including rebate) to the EU budget - currently about £19 billion per year, or £360 million a week - could instead be diverted to the NHS. However, higher health funding will involve more difficult trade-offs than these figures imply. Here we explore some of the issues.

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Earmarking a tax to pay for the NHS alone is not a healthy option

In an article in the Times newspaper, Paul Johnson argues against linking what we spend on health to what we happen to raise from a particular tax. This means that any serious attempt at hypothecation is almost bound to end up being little more than an exercise in deceiving the voters.

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Problem debt and low-income households

Over 60% of unsecured debt is held by households with above-average incomes, and more than half of households with unsecured debts have enough financial assets to pay them off. However, about one sixth of the lowest-income tenth of households are in arrears on repayments or bills and an additional 10% are spending more than a quarter of their income on unsecured debt repayments. In a new report we examine who holds unsecured debt and when that that debt might be considered a problem.

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Beware politicians who promise "fairness"

The main parties are in furious agreement over the need for greater fairness in everything from the tax and welfare systems to pay, prices and corporate governance. One of the problems with this, argues IFS Director Paul Johnson in The Times, is that we all have a different understanding of what is "fair".

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Firms’ supply chains form an important part of UK-EU trade: what does this mean for future trade policy?

We often think of exports and imports as things made in one country and consumed in another. In fact the majority of UK exports and imports are now made up of goods or services which are themselves inputs into production. This sort of trade is particularly important for understanding the UK’s trade with the EU. Here we look at the implications this has for the UK’s future trade policies.

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