About the IFS

The Institute for Fiscal Studies was founded in 1969. Established as an independent research institute, IFS was launched with the principal aim of better informing public debate on economics in order to promote the development of effective fiscal policy. Through the establishment of rigorous independent research, for example the IFS Green Budget and Post Budget analysis, IFS successfully opened up debate about public policy to a wider audience and influenced policy decision making.

Today, IFS is Britain’s leading independent microeconomic research institute. Its research remit is one of the broadest in public policy analysis, covering subjects from tax and benefits to education policy, from labour supply to corporate taxation. Our research not only has an impact on policy makers, think tanks and practitioners, it has also gained a worldwide reputation for academic rigour, and contributes to the development of academic scholarship. We communicate our research widely on a national and international scale, providing independent advice to policy makers in the UK, Europe and in developing countries; collaborating with world renowned academics on new economic theories and techniques; and disseminating our research globally through the press, media and the web.

IFS is host to the ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy which analyses fiscal policy to determine its effects on households and companies. The Centre’s work covers the full extent of policy impact, investigating the ways in which policies influence human capital investments, work and occupational choice, firm behaviour, saving and retirement decisions, consumer choices and the public finances.


ECORES Lecture Series with Rachel Griffith

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:

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IFS announces project with the BBC to mark 70 years of the NHS

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 money?
  • how can we do better on social care?
  • what will new technology mean for the NHS and its patients?
  • are we expecting too much from the NHS?

The group will be producing independent analysis, which will be a major contribution to the national conversation around the NHS at 70, and will help to inform the BBC's coverage of the NHS at a crucial time. It will be published in late June, shortly before the anniversary.


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Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy (CPP) afforded official ESRC "Research Institute" status

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 long term on public debates around policy in their areas, particularly in economic and fiscal policy. They are also key centres of excellence for training researchers, building expertise and skills within the UK research community in these areas, to compete at an international level. 

Successful application for Institute status will provide long-term funding (with review every five years) for the new Institute to pursue independent research into ongoing, complex research and societal challenges, as well as to respond promptly in cases of national need. 

Professor Sir Mark Walport, UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, said: “These two ESRC Institutes represent landmark investments in the national research landscape.  They will continue to play a vital influence in maintaining the UK’s international standing at the cutting edge of economic research, and in influencing thinking on economic and fiscal policy nationally, and globally.  We are delighted that they have been recognised for their achievements to-date and look forward to their future relationship with UK Research and Innovation in helping shape the future of economic research and policy.”

Professor Sir Richard Blundell, Director ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at IFS, said: "We are delighted with the recognition the ESRC has given to us with the award of Research Institute status. Over the last 25 years and more the ESRC has been key to the success of IFS. Centre funding has allowed us to bring rigorous evidence-based research to the analysis of public policy. It has provided a unique environment for building new generations of economists who have gone on to take leading roles both in public policy, the media and academia. It has allowed IFS to respond swiftly, authoritatively and independently to the changing public policy debate.  In recognising the international excellence of our work, Institute status also provides us with stability for the future development of our ambitious research programme. We intend to ensure that we maintain our global leadership and enhance our public policy influence."

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