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David Phillips

David Phillips

Associate Director

Education

MSc Economics (Distinction), University College London, 2009
BA Economics (1st Class), University of Cambridge, 2006

David is an Associate Director working in the Pensions and Public Finances sector and the Centre for the Evaluation of Development Policies (EDePo). Presently, David is helping lead two main areas of research at the Institute. First is work on devolved and local government finance, with a particular focus on the incentives and risks that different systems entail for sub-national government, and their responses to these. This includes work on implementing the Smith Commission proposals for Scotland and on the ongoing major changes to English local government finance. Second is work on tax and social protection policy in developing countries, including the IFS's DfID-funded Centre for Tax Analysis in Developing Countries (TAXDEV). This centre aims to generate new research, analysis and in-country analytical capacity in the area of tax and benefit policy and administration in (or of relevance to) DfID-priority countries, including Ghana and Ethiopia. Further work is being undertaken in countries such as Mexico and Jordan, and in cross-country studies.

David is also finalising work on the behavioural effects of National Insurance contributions and the UK's short-lived 50% income tax rate. He also has experience of working on a range of other issues including poverty and inequality; labour supply; consumer demand; human capital investment; and social capital. This experience helps inform his ongoing research, especially on tax policy design in developing countries. 

Academic outputs

Journal article | Journal of Public Economics
We examine the effects of employee and employer social security contributions (SSCs) on labor cost, hours of work, and labor cost per hour in the UK.We find that reductions in marginal rates of employee – but not employer – SSCs have positive effects on labor cost that operate through hours of ...
IFS Working Paper W18/11
As in high-income countries, reduced rates of VAT and VAT exemptions (“preferential VAT rates”) are a common feature of indirect tax systems in LMICs. Many of the goods and services that are granted preferential rates – such as foodstuffs and kerosene – seem likely to receive such treatment ...

Reports and comment

Newspaper article
In this article, David Phillips argues that pivotal choices loom on local government funding, but if we don’t address what we expect from our councils we risk a system that fails to meet our objectives.
Observation
Some have claimed that Boris Johnson's tax pledges mean Scots would end up paying for a tax cut for higher earners in the rest of the UK. This is not the case.

Presentations

Presentation
A presentation on recent trends and the outlook for local government spending. It includes a discussion of local tax devolution options, and the potential impacts of the ongoing Fair Funding Review.
Presentation
How is local government funding changing? And what might the implications for children's services be? In this presentation for the Office of the Children's Commissioner of England, IFS Associate Director David Phillips looked at the trends in local government spending over time, across the country, ...