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Dr Howard Reed

Senior Research Fellow

Department: Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

I am Senior Research Fellow in Public Policy working as part of a team in SWECW examining the health case for basic income and a broader programme of policy development aimed at creating a new settlement of the same scale and sustainability as that of the Beveridge-inspired reforms of 1945. My particular focus lies in exploring the economic and health economic impacts of public policies. A key example of recent work is Treating Causes not Symptoms: Basic Income as a Public Health Measure, which presents findings on the health and health economic impacts of basic income schemes.

I am a leading specialist in microsimulation modelling of tax-benefit systems and other applied microeconomic analysis and am Director of Landman Economics. In 2008-09 I wrote the original version of the tax-benefit model used by the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Resolution Foundation, which (following further revisions) has evolved into the Landman Economics Tax-Transfer Model (TTM), one of the leading tax-benefit microsimulation models in the UK.

Before founding Landman Economics, I was Chief Economist and Director of Research at the Institute for Public Policy Research from 2004 and 2008. My first job after studying for an MSc in Economics at University College London was at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, where I had primary responsibility for the IFS’s tax-benefit model TAXBEN between 2000 and 2004.

Since founding Landman Economics in 2008 I have received over £2 million in funding from public and third sector bodies including the (Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Greater London Authority, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Action on Smoking and Health, Oxfam and many others).

In order to conduct research, I have formed a number of multidisciplinary teams and I have a clear record of success in collaboration with academics at a number of institutions including the Open University, University of Bristol and University of Southampton.

Howard Reed

There are four key themes to my work:

Cumulative impact assessment of tax and welfare reforms

The period following the May 2010 general election witnessed significant changes to the tax and welfare system in the UK, as the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government introduced such changes as: reducing the value of social security payments in real terms for working age adults and families; ‘triple locking’ the state pension; raising the real terms value of the income tax personal allowance, and increasing VAT to 20%. I have co-authored a series of papers which exploit the microsimulation capabilities of the Landman Economics Tax-Transfer Model (TTM) to model the cumulative impact of tax and welfare reforms between 2010 and 2015 (Reed and Portes, 2014) and also the subsequent impact of reforms by the Conservative governments in the second half of the 2010s (Portes and Reed 2018, Reed 2020).

These studies feature distributional analysis across a whole range of individual, family and household characteristics including household net income decile, age of adults in the household, number of children, disability status or adults or children in the household, ethnicity of household members, gender of adults in the household. The studies also present intersectional analysis across two or three different characteristics at once (as far as the sample sizes of the Family Resources Survey and Living Costs and Food Survey datasets used in the analysis allow). I have also carried out impact assessments for countries within the UK, such as in Scotland (Reed and Portes 2019a) and Northern Ireland (Reed and Portes 2019b). Analysis was produced at household, benefit unit and (in Portes and Reed 2018) individual level; modelling impacts at the individual level requires assumptions about how benefit payments are allocated between partners in couple benefit units. The analysis allows for partial take-up of means-tested transfers. The phased introduction of Universal Credit from 2013 onwards, replacing means-tested benefits and tax credits for working-age households, presents particular challenges in terms of forecasting take-up as well as modelling transitional relief for claimants migrated onto the new system.

Distributional impacts of in-kind public spending changes

The 2010s were a period of real-terms reduction in spending on most public services as part of the government’s austerity agenda (with the exception of the NHS, which saw real-terms increases although these were still relatively modest compared to previous decades of health spending). I developed the Landman Economics public spending model to analyse the distributional impacts of changes to in-kind public spending on services such as health, social care, early years provision, schools, higher education, social housing and public transport. The model combines information from HM Treasury’s Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses on aggregate spending by functional category with data on individuals’ and households’ use of public services from household survey datasets (in particular the Understanding Society longitudinal survey). Combining these two data sources allows the pattern of spending on each public service to be analysed according to household net income and a range of other characteristics. Portes and Reed (2018) presents a range of different distributional analyses for England, Scotland and Wales, while Reed (2017) focuses on the impact of reforms by gender of adults. As well as modelling historical changes in spending in different countries of the UK, this approach has also been used to simulate the effect of expanding universal publicly funded in-kind provision to services such as broadband communications and local bus services (Reed, Portes and Percy, 2017).

Distributional and fiscal impacts of Universal Basic Income

In addition to modelling the impact of historical changes to net income as a result of tax and benefit reforms, the Landman Economics Tax-Transfer Model can be used to model the distributional impacts of, and provide aggregate costings for, reforms to the tax and/or welfare systems that do not currently exist in the system. Universal Basic Income – an unconditional, non-means-tested payment to every individual citizen in the UK – is one such policy which I have modelled extensively in the past ten years. Initially my focus was on static microsimulation of the costs and distributional impacts of a scheme that would replace supplement the existing means-tested social security system with relatively small top-up payments to adults and children (Lansley and Reed 2016). More recently, I have modelled schemes that would replace substantial elements of the current benefit system (e.g. Jobseekers Allowance / adult Universal Credit payments, Child Benefit and the State Pension) as well as providing a realistic time path to full implementation of such a scheme (Lansley and Reed 2019). I have also shown that a much more extensive (and expensive, in terms of gross costs) scheme that paid individuals sufficient amounts to meet the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Minimum Income Standard level could be funded by increased income tax rates and reforms to the personal tax system (Reed et al, 2023).

Forecasting poverty and inequality using microsimulation techniques

The Landman Economics Tax Transfer Model can produce results for the impact of changes to tax and benefits on summary distributional measures such as poverty (e.g. the proportion of households whose net incomes are below 60% of median equivalised net income) or inequality (e.g. the Gini Coefficient), but it can also be used to forecast future levels of poverty and inequality when combined with assumptions about growth in wages and other market incomes, employment rates for different segments of the population, future tax-benefit policies, etc. Reed and Portes (2014b) analysed whether the UK Government would be able to meet its 2020 targets for child poverty by relying on growth in employment rates for working-age adults alone, or whether increases in real-terms social security support for families would be required. Reed and Stark (2018) forecast trends in child poverty for Scotland up to the early 2030s under a range of different assumptions regarding income and employment growth. Harrop and Reed (2015) model the outlook for UK inequality and poverty in 2030 under a range of different assumptions about the generosity of welfare policy after 2015.



  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Act Now: A vision for a better future and a new social contract, Johnson, M., Dorling, D., Driscoll, J., Hardill, I., Hobbs, C., Johnson, E., Lawson, N., Nadel, J., Nettle, D., Pickett, K., Polanski, Z., Pollock, A., Reed, H., Robson, I., Stark, G., Taylor-Robinson, D., Wilkinson, R. 1 Jul 2024
  • Can the ‘downward spiral’ of material conditions, mental health and faith in government be stopped? Evidence from surveys in ‘red wall’ constituencies, Johnson, M., Johnson, E., Reed, H., Nettle, D. 1 Feb 2024, In: British Journal of Politics and International Relations
  • Labour Must Revisit £28 billion Green Pledge: It’s Affordable, Profitable, Crucial for Net Zero and will Create Jobs, Johnson, M., Reed, H., Johnson, E. 12 Jun 2024
  • Rishi Sunak wants to cut the cost of ‘sicknote’ Britain. But we’ve found a strong economic case for benefits, Johnson, E., Reed, H., Johnson, M. 25 Apr 2024
  • The health case for basic income, Johnson, E., Johnson, M., Nettle, D., Reed, H., Stark, G. 5 Feb 2024
  • To Rebuild Britain, Tax the Rich, Johnson, E., Reed, H., Johnson, M. 9 Jul 2024
  • Can Universal Basic Income work for disabled people? An examination of existing UK organisational and academic positions, Johnson, E., Reed, H., Johnson, M. 14 Jul 2023, In: Disability & Society
  • Changing circumstances and new basic premises: turning the affordability and feasibility relationship on its head: a reply to ‘The big tax hikes that make UBI “affordable” could be used to cut poverty in more targeted ways’ by Donald Hirsch, Reed, H., Johnson, M., Lansley, S., Johnson, E., Stark, G., Pickett, K. 1 Feb 2023, In: Journal of Poverty and Social Justice
  • Development of a framework for action to advocate for a coherent prevention policy for tobacco, alcohol, and foods high in fats, salt, or sugar: a mixed-methods approach, Jawad, A., Reed, E., Severi, K., Jenner, K., Reed, H., Cheeseman, H. Nov 2023, In: Lancet (London, England)
  • Quantifying the mental health and economic impacts of prospective Universal Basic Income schemes among young people in the UK: a microsimulation modelling study, Chen, T., Reed, H., Parra Mujica, F., Johnson, E., Johnson, M., O'Flaherty, M., Collins, B., Kypridemos, C. 4 Oct 2023, In: BMJ Open

  • Economics PhD July 11 2024
  • Economics MSc October 01 1995
  • Economics BA (Hons) July 01 1994

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