Professor Ashwin Kumar

Professor of Social Policy and Deputy Director of PERU
Professor Ashwin Kumar


Ashwin is an economist and is Professor of Social Policy in the Policy Evaluation Research Unit at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is also the Unit's Deputy Director.

Ashwin works on analysis and modelling of incomes, poverty, the labour market and welfare reform.

He is also a member of the UK Statistics Authority Advisory Panel on Consumer Prices (Stakeholder), and a member of the Audit Committee of the homelessness charity St Mungo’s.

He teaches on the Analysing Social Problems module of the undergraduate degree in Sociology, and on the Master of Public Administration course.


Ashwin has worked as a social policy economist for over 20 years.  Before joining MMU, Ashwin was the Chief Economist of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. 

In the past he has worked for Gordon Brown as an economic adviser, supporting him in his post-prime-ministerial role for the World Economic Forum, and for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

At the DWP, he had roles in charge of economic modelling within the department, and in charge of housing research and analysis.

He has also worked as Rail Director of the consumer watchdog Passenger Focus (now called Transport Focus), and run his own public policy economics consultancy Liverpool Economics.

Research Activity

Ashwin maintains and develops the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) Tax-Benefit Model, used by the IPPR, Resolution Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, New Economics Foundation and the Legatum Institute to analyse the effects of tax and benefit policy on incomes, poverty and government costs.

He is currently working with the Fraser of Allander Institute and IPPR Scotland to carry out an economic evaluation of a Citizens Basic Income for Scotland.

He is working with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to produce an analysis of the drivers of increasing in-work poverty over the past two decades.


  • JRF (2018), UK Poverty 2018, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2018,
  • Kumar (2018), Could the Government have done more to help people escape poverty?, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2018,
  • Barnard, Heykoop, Kumar (2018), How could Brexit affect poverty in the UK, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2018,
  • Kumar, Newton Smith (2018), To solve Britain’s productivity puzzle, don’t just focus on frontier firms, Prospect, 2018,
  • Innes (2018), The links between low productivity, low pay and in-work poverty, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2018,
  • JRF (2017), UK Poverty 2017, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2017,
  • Kumar (2017), If you want to fix Britain’s economy, there’s one word you need to remember, New Statesman, 2017,
  • Kumar (2016), The impact of the budget on UK household finances in two graphs, The Guardian, 2016,
  • Kumar (2015), So, Osborne scrapped tax credit cuts – but what of universal credit?, The Guardian, 2015,
  • Shelter (2015), A home of their own, Shelter, 2015,
  • Kumar, Rotik, Ussher (2014), Pay progression: understanding the barriers for the lowest paid, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2014,
  • Kumar, Ussher, Hunter (2014), Wealth of our nation: rethinking policies for wealth distribution, Smith Institute, 2014,
  • Kumar (2002), Pension reform in the UK: from contribution to participation, in Ihori & Tachibanaki, Social Security Reform in Advanced Countries, Routledge, 2002,
  • DWP (2000), The Changing Welfare State: Pensioner Incomes, Department for Work and Pensions, 2000,

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