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.

It may just sound like a statistic, but productivity growth matters for all of us

Productivity measures how much, on average, workers in the UK produce per hour worked. Ultimately, improvements in living standards arise as a result of productivity increases – slower productivity growth means wages will grow more slowly. It is this effect on wage growth that means lower productivity is bad news for the Chancellor (as this means lower tax revenues) but it is also why the downgrade announced on Budget day was bad news for all of us.

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Autumn Budget 2017

A summary of our analysis, recordings and slides from the IFS Budget briefing, held on Thursday 23 November, can be found on our Budget 2017 page. You can also see a range of IFS analysis and comment, including explainer videos and background charts, relating to the Autumn Budget 2017.

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Options for reducing the interest rate on student loans and reintroducing maintenance grants

In October, the Prime Minister called for an inquiry into the student loan system for higher education (HE). In this briefing note, we focus on two of the more unpopular features of the current system. We explore government options for reducing the interest rates charged on student loans and for reintroducing living-cost grants – which do not have to be repaid – for students from lower-income families.

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Orazio Attanasio to be Econometric Society President in 2020

Orazio Attanasio, Research Director of IFS and Professor of Economics at University College London, has been elected Second Vice-President of the Econometric Society. He will be First Vice-President in 2019, and President in 2020. Orazio is Co-Director of the ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy (CPP) at IFS.

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How can we level the playing field between young and old?

In an article in today's Times, IFS director Paul Johnson examines the economic challenges facing young people in the UK and possible ways the chancellor might address inter-generational inequalities.

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Wages, labour market policy and the safety net

This conference was held in October, jointly run by IFS and the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. The academic organisers were Richard Blundell, Rui Costa, Hilary Hoynes, Robert Joyce, Stephen Machin and Jim Ziliak. Presentations from the conference are available online.

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Recessions, income inequality and the role of the tax and benefit system

In this report, we seek to understand why past recessions have had such different effects on income inequality. We also examine the potential impact of the next labour market downturn on the distribution of household incomes.

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