Income changes and their determinants over the lifecycle

Document type
Working Paper
Hood, Andrew; Joyce, Robert
Institute for Fiscal Studies
Date of publication
21 December 2015
IFS Working Paper; W15/33
Social Policy, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

Download (989KB )

The evolution of individuals’ incomes across the course of their lives, and the extent to which that evolution is predictable from the perspective of the individual, are central questions in microeconomics.

There are implications for the measurement of economic welfare, the modelling of consumption and savings behaviour, and assessments of whether individuals are prepared for retirement.

Following a sample of UK households over nearly twenty years using the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), this report investigates the distribution of changes in earnings and incomes over two different periods of the lifecycle: prime working-age life (35-44 to 50-59), and the move into retirement (50-59 to 66-75).

The key finding is that changes in family structure and the characteristics of partners are more important than changes in an individual’s employment status. It also explains variable incomes between mid and late working-age life.

Related to Social Policy

The winter (economy plan) is coming

Briefing on the Job Support Scheme

Low Pay Britain 2020

Report on the impact of the coronavirus on minimum wage policy

Macroeconomic Policy Outlook Q3 2020

Briefing on the outlook for the labour market during the coronavirus

Final furlough: six months on from the start of the Job Retention Scheme

Briefing on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

More items related to this subject