John Hills is a professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Co-Director of the new International Inequalities Institute, and was director of the ESRC Research Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion from 1997 to 2016. His work has focused on inequality, the welfare state and the role of social policy over the life course.
Professor Hills has worked at the LSE since 1986, having previously held posts at the House of Commons and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. His appointment as Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) in 1997 coincided with the election of New Labour and a greater level of interest in issues around poverty and social exclusion.
He has taken part in a number of high-profile reviews for government. These have included a review of fuel poverty in 2011, chairing the National Equality Panel, which reported in 2010, and a 2007 review of council housing entitled Ends and Means.
Perhaps most notably he was one of three commissioners on the Pensions Commission. Among the most important reforms proposed by the Pensions Commission were reforms to the state pension, a new type of non-state pension, which was later introduced in 2012 in the form of the National Employment Savings Trust, as well as the idea that employees should be ‘automatically enrolled’ into NEST or an employer pensions scheme.
He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1998 New Year honours for services to social security analysis and was knighted in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to social policy development. He is Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the Academy of Social Sciences. He was one of the sub-panel members for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework in the field of social work and social policy & administration.
Professor Hills’ research interests are: welfare state and public attitudes; social security; pensions policy; income and wealth distribution; social policy and the life cycle; and fuel poverty. He has recently worked on: social policy and the dynamics of people’s lives; social policy developments and impacts in the UK; differences in consumption patterns between countries with different levels of social spending and taxation; and the changing distribution of wealth in the UK.
Expertise: distribution of wealth; housing finance; housing subsidies; income distribution; pensions policy; public attitudes; public expenditure; social exclusion; social security; tax; taxation; welfare state