Jonathan Portes is Principal Research Fellow of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), the UK's longest-established independent economic research institute. Jonathan was Director from 2011-2015. NIESR is often regarded as a bridge between the academic and policymaking sides of economics, and Jonathan offers a similar synthesis: an academic's education and depth of thought along with a policymaker's outspokenness and direct, practical approach. He is an articulate speaker with bold, compelling opinions who is not afraid to speak out against common wisdom or existing policies. Under Jonathan's leadership, NIESR was named Prospect Magazine's Thinktank of the Year, specifically for its critique of the UK government's macroeconomic strategy.
He is the author of 50 Capitalism Ideas You Really Need to Know. From capitalism's history, core theories and key institutions to its current-day political power and social impact, this book explains everything you need to understand the world's dominant economic system.
Jonathan's expertise covers a wide range of economic policy issues, including macroeconomic and fiscal policy, with an emphasis on the UK and the Eurozone. He also speaks on migration, labor markets, education, skills, poverty, and social mobility. He publishes articles on these subjects regularly in the UK and international press and contributes frequently to print and broadcast media as well as academic and policy journals. His blog, "Not The Treasury View", is widely read and cited by senior policymakers and economic commentators.
Previously, Jonathan held a number of senior positions within the UK Government. Before joining NIESR, he served as Chief Economist at the UK Cabinet Office, where he advised the Cabinet Secretary, Gus O’Donnell, and Number 10 Downing Street on economic and financial issues. In this role, he led the Cabinet Office’s economic analysis and economic policy work during the financial crisis and on the G20 London Summit in April 2009. Prior to that, he was Chief Economist at the Department for Work and Pension, and Director for Child Poverty.
He has testified on numerous occasions before Parliamentary select committees, in particular the Treasury Committee, and is currently a Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change.
He is a member of advisory committees at a number of economic research institutes and is a Trustee of the Coram Foundation, the UK's longest established children's charity.