James Banks

James Banks


Personal profile


James Banks is Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). He received his BSc from Bristol and MSc from the London School of Economics, joining the IFS as a full-time research economist on completing his MSc in 1990. While employed by the IFS he directed the research into consumption and savings (1992-1999), completed a part-time PhD in Economics at University College London, and served as Deputy Director of the Institute from 1997 to 2002. In 2002 he became Deputy Research Director of IFS and joined the Economics faculty at UCL where he was Professor of Economics. He moved to Manchester in 2010.

He has published his research in the top economics journals, including the Review of Economic Studies, the Journal of Political Economy and the American Economic Review, but also in leading journals in other disciplines, such as JAMA, PNAS, Health Psychology, Demography and Psychological Science. He plays an active role in research funding organisations, and has also sat on multiple policy advisory committees and panels. He served as a Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation from 2010 to 2023.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Co-Principal Investigator, English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
  • Co-Director, ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at IFS
  • Understanding Society Governing Board
  • ESRC Expert Advisory group on Data Infrastucture, Skills and Methods
  • UKRI Infrastructure Advisory Committee 

Research interests

Broad research fields: Applied Microeconometrics, Consumer behaviour, Labour Economics, Public Economics, Economics of Ageing.

Specific research interests: My research focuses on empirical modelling of individual economic behaviour over the life-cycle, with particular focus on consumption and spending patterns, saving and asset accumulation, housing dynamics, retirement and pension choices. In addition I look at broader issues in the economics of ageing, such as health, physical and cognitive functioning and their association with work and socioeconomic status; the dynamics of work disability; the nature of expectations of retirement, health and longevity.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD (Economics), 1999, University College London (UCL)

External positions

Senior Research Fellow, The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing
  • Healthier Futures


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