Paul Johnson CBE

Paul Johnson CBE

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Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies

To book Paul Johnson CBE please contact your JLA Agent.


Before heading the independent research institute Paul was the Treasury’s Director of Public Spending. Now heading arguably the country’s leading economic research organisation, Paul considers the size of cuts to come, welfare and tax. He also examines radical changes in pension policy and how well pensioners are doing relative to those of working age; the behaviour of the labour market; and how we have witnessed a fall in living standards combined with a fall in inequality.


Paul Johnson is director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and a member of the Committee on Climate Change. The institute is widely considered the leading independent economic research and analysis organisation in the country. As well as analyses of the economy and future of government spending, Paul also considers the economics of climate change and the path to net zero, the effects of inequality, and the long and short-term impacts of shocks including Brexit and Covid-19.

Paul has published and broadcast extensively on various issues in the economics of public policy including tax, welfare, inequality and poverty, pensions, education, climate change and public finances. He is the author of major books on pensions, tax and inequality and is a regular contributor to news and current affairs programmes across the UK broadcast media.

As well as a previous spell at the IFS in the 1990s (including a period as deputy director) Paul has been chief economist at the Department for Education and director of public spending in HM Treasury. At the Treasury his responsibilities included public sector pay and pensions and climate change policy. In the latter role he worked closely with Nicholas Stern on his review of the economics of climate change. Other positions include a period as head of economics at the Financial Service Authority and as a senior associate with Frontier Economics.

Paul was also deputy head of the Government Economic Service. He served on the council of the Economic and Social Research Council and was elected to the council of the Royal Economic Society. He was a founder council member of the Pensions Policy Institute and has led a review into the policy of pensions auto-enrolment. Other roles and bodies Paul has been involved in include the council of the Family and Parenting Institute, the Pension Provision Group, the Commission on taxation and citizenship, the Youth Justice Commission and the Commission on Living Standards.

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Agent Recommendation

Paul is clearly an accomplished economist, but it’s his delivery that sets him apart. Immediately likeable on stage, throwing in a bit of humour, Paul reels off statistics that highlight areas relevant to whichever industry he’s talking to and explains what they really tell us. Whether the brief is a general overview, an assessment of government policy or something more specific, Paul makes economics accessible to everyone – and even entertaining! JLA Agent Jessica Prior

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