The IFS is largely oriented towards microeconomic study, with a strong focus on quantitative analysis. Our researchers make use of major surveys of households, company behaviour and individuals, along with government administrative data, detailed data sets and purpose built models. The IFS maintains detailed simulation models of the UK tax and benefits system and develops datasets, codes and software for analysing data. (See our tools and resources).
IFS research covers areas including public finances, the impact of taxation and other public policies on households and behaviour, individual spending, saving behaviour and development economics. You can find out more about our research areas here.
The IFS aims to improve the quality of public and academic debate by providing impartial rigorous analysis. We disseminate our research through our website publications, an extensive conference programme and our academic journal Fiscal Studies. IFS researchers also attend academic and policy conferences, give evidence to select committees and discuss their research with civil servants, policymakers and foreign delegations. Our work has significantly influenced debate in a number of key areas, such as the public finances, tax reform, pensions and education policy.
Research by the Institute receives a significant amount of press coverage. Staff regularly interview for radio and television and their research is often covered in print and online media.
Working at the IFS offers outstanding opportunities for career development. The Institute provides financial assistance and study leave for researchers who choose to study for a Masters degree or PhD. There are also chances to gain exceptional media experience, through interviews with national and international broadcasters. From their first day at IFS, staff contribute research to top quality publications, including IFS reports, academic journal articles and advisory papers for government. During their career at the IFS staff are encouraged to develop managerial expertise, by leading IFS research programmes or heading up project teams.
Experiences gained at the IFS can lead to senior economic positions in research institutes, government, universities and media. Many of our senior staff, including our Director, joined the IFS as research economists. Other researchers have moved into senior positions in the civil service or advisory positions to MPs. A number of top academic economists gained experience at the Institute, while several top economics journalists also began their career at IFS: for example, Evan Davis, presenter on the Today Programme, Stephanie Flanders, BBC Economics Editor, Tom Clark, Leader Writer for the Guardian, Ed Crooks, Energy Editor for the Financial Times and Chris Giles, Economics Editor of the Financial Times.