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Announcements about IFS research and researchers.

On Wednesday 23 January, CPP co-director Imran Rasul will give the annual lecture at the Institute for the Economic Analysis of Decision-making at the University of Sheffield. Find more information here.


A masterclass given by Charles Manski (Northwestern) sponsored by CeMMAP and the Economics Research Initiative at Duke University, March 28-29 2019


This masterclass will focus on evidence-based decision making for patient care under uncertainty, in which clinicians face only limited ability to predict patients’ future illness and treatment response. To deal with this inherent uncertainty, partial identification analysis can be applied to make credible predictions for patient ...


IFS Research Fellows Gabriella Conti and Martin Weidner have been awarded Consolidator Grants by the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC bestows the Consolidator Grants to outstanding researchers who have a promising scientific track record, and between 7-12 years of experience after the completion of their doctorates.

The ERC grants have been awarded to 291 top scientists across Europe. Funding for these researchers, part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is worth in total €573 million and will give them a chance to build up their teams and have far-reaching ...


On 28 November, IFS Research Director Orazio Attanasio gave a lecture as part a series convened by the Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL) and the Centre for Evaluation, addressing methods and innovation in primary studies. The lecture was entitled, 'Contextualised structural modelling for policy impact' and focused on Early Childhood interventions. You can find out more and watch a video of the lecture on the CEDIL website.


IFS Research Director Orazio Attanasio has given the 2018/19 Richard Ely Distinguished Lecture Series at Johns Hopkins Department of Economics:

Lecture 1: November 12, 2018; 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm; 

The process of human development over the early years: what we know and what we don’t

Lecture 2: November 13, 2018; 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm; 

Modeling parental behavior

Lecture 3: November 15, 2018; 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm;

Human capital policies: what can be done and at what scale 

The department has funded The Richard Ely Distinguished Lecture Series since 1998. For a two-week period once a ...

This 2 day conference presents recent developments in econometrics, with an emphasis on  macroeconometrics, identification and robustness. It is sponsored by the organisers’ respective ERC grants and by Cemmap. 
This conference is organised by Raffaella Giacomini, UCL and Sophocles Mavroeids, Oxford. 
Please see below for a list of speakers:

Isaiah Andrews (Harvard)
Xu Cheng (Penn)
Tim Christensen (NYU)
Frank Kleibergen (Amsterdam)
Luca Gambetti (Collegio Carlo Alberto)
Patrik Guggenberger (Penn State)
Adam McCloskey (Colorado)
Anna Mikusheva (MIT)
Alexey Onatskiy (Cambridge)



Today the Social Security Advisory Committee, of which IFS Deputy Director Carl Emmerson is a member, released their report on the draft Universal Credit (Managed Migration) Regulations 2018. The report, and the government's response to its recommendations can be found here.


This year’s Gorman Lectures will be delivered by Claudia Goldin (Harvard) on May 20/21, 5.30-7pm, at UCL.

There will be a Conference during both days (co-sponsored by CREAM and IFS) themed around Claudia’s work and co-organised by Uta Schoenberg, Monica Costa Dias and Claudia Olivetti.

Established in 2001, the Gorman Lectures are given in honour of the influential economist William Moore "Terence" Gorman. The annual series features a different leading economist each year and has included: Eric MaskinDan McFaddenJames HeckmanAvinash DixitRobert M. TownsendKen ...



On Tuesday, October 30th, Professor Sir Richard Blundell, CBE FBA, will deliver a Levine Family Lecture on "Household Behaviour and the Dynamics of Inequality" at University of California, Davis. The lecture will be held from 4:00 to 5:30pm in the Buehler Alumni Center, Alpha Gamma Rho. Levine Lectures are free and open to the public at large.

Created by the Jay (BA Economics '84) and Tammy Levine Family Foundation, the Levine Family Fund supports activities that further the academic and research mission of the Economics Department, including funding for visiting speakers, undergraduate ...


The launch of the ELSA Wave 8 Report took place on Thursday 18th October 2018, at the Royal Society in London.


The launch conference brought together researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders to discuss the latest findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

Presentations from the conference and report code will be available to download soon.  

If you would like a hard copy of the report, or any other information related to the launch, please contact the ELSA Team

⇒Download the ELSA Wave 8 Report.

⇒Download the conference programme.



The ELSA dataset is freely available to all bonafide researchers but an account will need to be set up for you.
Please contact the UK Data Service to gain access to the data.


Recent evidence indicates that dementia rates have decreased in the last few decades in the United Kingdom and other parts of Western Europe, with the greatest declines apparent in those with higher educational attainment relative to more basic educational attainment.

However, less clear is the extent to which other socioeconomic markers such as wealth, income, and area deprivation contribute to dementia risk. ELSA data were used to investigate the associations between markers of socioeconomic status (wealth quintiles and the index of multiple deprivation) and dementia incidence. To ...


IFS Deputy Director Carl Emmerson gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee today as part of their inquiry into the benefit cap.

Since 2013 the government has placed a cap on the amount that some working-age families can receive in benefits. In May 2018 60,000 households saw their benefits reduced by the cap. The Government’s objectives for the cap are “improving work incentives, promoting fairness between those on out of work benefits and taxpayers and delivering savings”. The Work and Pensions Select Committee wants to understand how well the benefit cap is achieving ...


Richard Blundell, Director of the Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at the IFS, has given the keynote speech at the Copenhagen Business School's launch of their Business in Society Platform on Inequality. His address was on ‘The dynamics of income and earnings inequality’ and was followed by a discussion. 

The Inequality Platform is running from 2018 to 2023 and aims to address the causes and consequences of inequality from a Danish, European, and global level. The Inequality Platform brings together researchers from four CBS departments – DBP, ECON, INT, and ...


Ration shops allow households to purchase limited quantities of certain goods at subsidised prices, and are used by governments in a numbre of low and middle income countries. In a new IFS working paper, Lucie Gadenne shows theoretically that such systems can be better for household welfare than a universal cash transfer scheme if the goods in question are consumed in relatively large quantities by the poor and if the market prices for them are volatile.

Using data from India, where ration shops are prevalent, she shows that this may be true for three of the four goods sold through the ...


In the UK, the IFS plays a leading role in informing the public debate and scrutinising government and opposition tax and spending policy decisions and proposals. David Phillips, an Associate Director at the IFS who works in both the TAXDEV centre and on devolved and local government, explained this role to a delegation of Tajiki parliamentarians and auditors tasked with scrutinising tax and spending in Tajikistan. He talked about the various types of work the IFS does, from immediate commentary to major programme evaluation to fundamental economic research, how it disseminates this to a ...


On 26 September, IFS Associate Director David Phillips was in the hot seat at the Health Show UK 2018 to talk about social care funding. He was quizzed by Victoria Macdonald, Channel 4 News's health and social care correspondent, and health and social care professionals about:

- What has happened to social care funding in recent years, and why this may pose a problem;

- What factors may affect the funding needed for social care in the future;

- The options and issues for raising more revenues from people receiving care, or via taxation or compulsory insurance;

- And the tensions between ...


IFS Research Economist, Laura ven der Erve, spoke at the fourth annual Women in Economics conference, held in Cambridge at Gonville and Caius College.

The speakers at the event were:


On 13 September, IFS Associate Director Robert Joyce gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee on social security and in-work poverty.

The Committee also took evidence from David Finch, Senior Research Fellow, Resolution Foundation; Russell Gunson, Director, Institute for Public Policy Research Scotland;Deborah Hay, Scotland Policy Officer, Joseph Rowntree Foundation; Polly Jones, Project Manager, A Menu for Change Project, Oxfam Scotland.

The committee session is available to watch online here.


From the 9-10 November 2018, the Centre for Econometrics at Northwestern University is hosting a conference on Incomplete Models co-sponsored by the Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice (CeMMAP) at University College London.

Speakers include:


  • Aureo de Paula, University College London
  • Alfred Galichon, New York University
  • Marc Henry, Pennsylvania State University
  • Stefan Hoderelein, Boston College
  • Joseph Hotz, Duke University
  • Hiroaki Kaido, Boston University
  • Simon Lee, Columbia University
  • Natalia Lazzati, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Tong Li, Vanderbilt ...

This week, Ghana's Ministry of Finance has organised and run a training  workshop for civil servants from the Ministry and the Revenue Authority on GHATAX, the microsimulation model built by the IFS's TAXDEV team for Ghana. The model, built in conjunction with Ministry staff, allows analysts to examine the revenue and distributional impacts of tax and transfer policies and policy reforms, and is designed to provide additional information to the policymaking process. Understanding the impact of policies on households with different characteristics (e.g. high, middle and low incomes) is key ...


It is with great sadness that the Institute for Fiscal Studies notes the death of Sir James Mirrlees (1936-2018). He has been a figure of enormous importance both for the magnitude of his influence on the field of public policy analysis in general and more particularly for his role in the Institute’s recent activities.

His work on the optimum design of tax systems has had incalculable influence on economics.  The challenge of finding a balance between the objective of reducing inequality and the need to maintain work incentives is at the core of analysis of direct taxation.  He found a ...


This week, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) announced a £65 million investment in health and social care policy research. Over five years, 13 NIHR Policy Research Units will inform decision-making by government and arms-length bodies, and IFS researchers will play a critical role.

In January 2019, the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce will begin its work, based in King’s College London. Dr Elaine Kelly, who joins as co-director, and George Stoye will use administrative data to examine recruitment and retention in health and social care.

The ...


IFS Director Paul Johnson has been awarded an honorary doctorate from University College London. The degree was presented on 3rd June at the morning graduation ceremony for Social and Historical Sciences postgraduate students at the Royal Festival Hall.

IFS Director Paul Johnson and CPP Director Richard Blundell before the ceremony.


The Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice and Department of Economics at Duke University are pleased to co-sponsor a two-day lecture series to be delivered by Professor Charles F. Manski of Northwestern University. These lectures will focus on evidence-based decision making for patient care under uncertainty, in which clinicians face only limited ability to predict patients’ future illness and treatment response.

To deal with this inherent uncertainty, partial identification analysis can be applied to make credible predictions for patient outcomes. This analysis motivates the use of ...


IFS Research fellow Dr Abi Adams has been awarded the 2018 ESRC Outstanding Impact in Public Policy award. The award was given for her research on employment tribunal fees which contributed to the unanimous Supreme Court finding in July 2017 that the fee system for employment tribunal claimants was unlawful.

Her article on the adverse incentives of the fees, co-written with Dr Jeremias Prassl, was highlighted as a contribution to the Supreme Court verdict in a House of Commons Research briefing note. This successful case has inspired great interest in considering what evidence to draw on ...


An article by IFS authors was the most downloaded in the journal Economica for 2017. The article, 'Two Decades of Income Inequality in Britain: The Role of Wages, Household Earnings & Redistribution', by Chris Belfield, Richard Blundell, Jonthan Cribb, Andrew Hood, and Robert Joyce was published in Economica in January 2017. In the paper, the authors study earnings and income inequality in Britain over the past two decades, including the period of relatively ‘inclusive’ growth from 1997 to 2004, and the Great Recession.

Find the full article here or download the summary.


We will begin with a presentation of standard models of comparative advantage that have been used to explain the pattern of trade (who trades what with whom) and the normative effects of trade (who gains and who loses when trade becomes easier to do) both between and within nations.  This will span the perfectly competitive models of Ricardo and Heckscher-Ohlin (including their modern versions such as that due to Eaton and Kortum), as well as the monopolistically competitive models of Krugman and Melitz.

We will then turn to the recent empirical literature that aims to connect these models ...


IFS director, Paul Johnson, has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), for services to the social sciences and economics, in the Queen's birthday honours list 2018.


On the 5 June, IFS senior researcher Kate Smith presented at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Science and Policy.  The meeting looked at the likely effect of the sugar tax on public health and children’s health in particular. The government recently extended its campaign against the childhood obesity epidemic by telling the food industry to cut 20 per cent of calories from their products within six years. The action by Public Health England comes on top of its drive to reduce consumption of sugary foods and sweet drinks.

Kate Smith is part of a team at the IFS ...


How would you fund the NHS? Use our interactive NHS funding tool to try and reach these projected funding “targets” through increasing taxes and/or by cutting government spending in other areas.

  Try the NHS funding tool

Richard Blundell writes:

"For the last 25 years the ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy (CPP) has provided core long term research funding for IFS. With centre funding IFS has brought rigorous evidence-based research to the analysis of public policy, allowing us to respond swiftly, authoritatively and independently to the changing public policy debate. It has created a unique environment for building new generations of economists who have gone on to take leading roles in academia, in public policy, and in the media. The new Research Institute status will enable ...


Helen Miller, director of the tax research programme at the IFS, has been awarded the prestigious Tax Personality of the Year award for 2018. The 2018 awards were on Thursday 17th May at the Hilton Park Lane where over 500 tax professionals celebrated the winners.

Helen Miller receives the award
This one-day conference covers methodological advances and empirical applications in the empirical analysis of contracting and bargaining, with a special focus on vertically related markets and implications for competition policy.


Confirmed speakers:

Enghin Atalay (UW Madison)

Matthew Backus (Columbia)

Pierre Dubois (Toulouse)

Alon Eizenberg (Jerusalem)

Matthew Grennan (Penn)

Gautam Gowrisankaran (Arizona)

Robin Lee (Harvard)

Peter Newberry (Penn State)

Howard Smith (Oxford)

Introduction to conference by Mike Walker (Chief Economic Adviser, Competition and Markets Authority, ...



IFS Associate director Rowena Crawford is presenting today at 'Re-assessing the Generational Contract', an all-day conference organised by the Resolution Foundation, Imperial College Business School and the Economic and Social Research Council. Presentations given will address issues surrounding intergenerational inequality, from why the rapid generation-on-generation incomes gains of the 20th century have ended, to how the market and state should respond to ageing populations. Rowena's talk will focus on "Inheritances and inequality in the UK".


As in many high income countries, developing countries often exempt or apply reduced rates of VAT to food and other goods and services in an effort to limit the impacts of VAT on poorer households' cost of living. But with richer households often consuming far more of these goods in absolute terms, and developing countries expanding their cash transfer and social protection schemes, are there better ways to support poorer households?

In a new video, Ross Warwick, a research economist at the IFS, talks about ongoing research being carried out alongside Commitment to Equity Institute ...


Rachel Griffith, Research Director at IFS, is the 1st holder of the newly established ECORES chair. She will give 4 lectures, looking at what different types of policies, aimed at reducing obesity, might achieve in terms of reducing long-run inequalities in health, social and economic outcomes. Lecture topics:

  • "Should governments control what we eat?"(19 April)
  • "Self-control in Food Purchases" (23 April)
  • "Tax Design for Sin Goods" (24 April)
  • "Habit Formation in Sugar Consumption" (26 April)

Full details & registration can be found here:


Our partners from the Ghanaian Ministry of Finance joined us in London for the TAXDEV Policy Conference on March 23rd, where they presented our joint work, and discussed some of the key tax policy issues facing Ghana. While they were here they also took part in video interviews to explain how our joint work is helping improve tax policy analysis and the policy-making process in Ghana.

Andara Kamara, Assistant Revenue Officer at the Ghana Ministry of Finance explains how the GHATAX microsimulation model allows policy analysis to move beyond revenue effects".

Dan Nuer, Head of the Tax ...


To mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) will be working with a group of leading independent research organisations including the Health Foundation, the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust on a project with the BBC.

The group will be coming together to address some of the important questions facing the NHS as it turns 70, the first time all four organisations have come together in this way. 

The following questions will be looked at, and IFS researchers will contribute where expertise allows:

  • how good is the NHS?
  • does the NHS need more ...

The Academy of Social Sciences has announced that it has conferred the award of Fellow on 58 leading social scientists, including IFS Director Paul Johnson.

The new Fellows are drawn from academics, practitioners and policymakers across the social sciences. They have been recognised after an extensive peer review process for the excellence and impact of their work through the use of social science for public benefit.

Announcing the conferment, Professor Roger Goodman FAcSS, Chair of the Academy said:

“Each new Fellow has made an outstanding contribution in their respective field and ...


Today for the first time, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recognised two global centres of excellence with official ESRC Research Institute status. One of these is the Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy (CPP), which is based at IFS. The other is the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), at LSE. 

The move acknowledges those centres which have demonstrated sustained strategic value to the Council, as well as to the broader social science research landscape, with long-term, five-year funding. Both CEP and CPP have demonstrated significant impact over the ...


The Royal Economic Society (RES) has appointed Professor Rachel Griffith as its President-elect from 2019/2020. They also announced that the former Chief Economist of the World Bank and former President of the British Academy, Lord Nicholas Stern will be President of the Royal Economic Society for 2018/19.

She will join the ranks of other prestigious economists who have led the Society in its 128-year history. Past Presidents have included John Maynard Keynes and William Beveridge.

President-elect Rachel Griffith is Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester, Research Director ...


IFS Director Paul Johnson will give the 2018 Joseph Fisher Lecture at the University of Adelaide, Australia.  The Joseph Fisher lecture is one of the longest running lecture series held by the University of Adelaide, having been started in 1903. 

Paul's presentation, entitled 'Choices in Public Policy' will explore why:

  • Making policy is much harder than politicians or commentators allow;

  • There is huge uncertainty over facts and forecasts, as well as over policy impacts;

  • There are also almost always big trade offs and ethical judgments;

The talk will be ...


Low and middle income countries (LMICs) face particular challenges in designing and implementing efficient and equitable tax systems. IFS researchers and partners from LMIC governments presented ongoing research and collaborative policy analysis aimed at helping this process at the TAXDEV policy conference on Friday 23 March.

Read more about the event and download the papers and presentations


We will begin with a presentation of standard models of comparative advantage that have been used to explain the pattern of trade (who trades what with whom) and the normative effects of trade (who gains and who loses when trade becomes easier to do) both between and within nations.  This will span the perfectly competitive models of Ricardo and Heckscher-Ohlin (including their modern versions such as that due to Eaton and Kortum), as well as the monopolistically competitive models of Krugman and Melitz.

We will then turn to the recent empirical literature that aims to connect these

Researchers from IFS TAXDEV were in Accra on 7th March 2018 for an event hosted by the Ghanaian Ministry of Finance (MoF). The event was a chance to present ongoing work on tax policy analysis that is being undertaken in collaboration with the MoF and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and to get feedback and suggestions from key stakeholders. 

IFS researchers David Phillips and Ross Warwick and MoF analysts Seth Anoff Akuffo and Andara Kamara from the Revenue Policy Division (RPD), presented three strands of their joint work:

1. Refining approaches to costing new tax policies, including ...



This masterclass develops structural approaches for analyzing large cross sectional and longitudinal data sets, by exploiting restrictions derived from the equilibrium dynamic outcomes in individual discrete choice optimization problems and non-cooperative games. We investigate empirical content, characterize identification of the primitives and  counterfactuals, and evaluate alternative estimators and testing procedures.


CPP director Professor Sir Richard Blundell CBE FBA has received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Economics from Ca' Foscari University of Venice.  He delivered his Lectio Magistralis on 'Economic Policy Reform and the Challenge of Inequality'.  

In his speech, Professor Blundell stated: "inequality is probably the most pressing issue facing modern society. We need to actively support complementary activities to innovation and human capital. Universities have a key role to play in these and other aspects of delivering equitable growth".


Optimization is coming back as a major developing research area in economics. There are at least two reasons for this. The first one is the emergence of online platforms, which act as central planners and need to solve complex optimization problems such as matching service providers with customers, introducing potential dating partners, performing dynamic pricing  tasks, etc. The second reason is that econometric methods have been cross-fertilized by novel techniques from machine learning, that heavily rely on optimization tools. This conference is a chance for experts on optimization, ...


We are delighted to announce that IFS Associate Director Helen Miller has joined the consultative committee for the Office for Tax Simplification review of Depreciation and Capital Allowances.  The project concerns whether the use of accounting depreciation to provide relief for capital expenditure instead of capital allowances would simplify the preparation of tax returns for both incorporated and unincorporated firms.