Along with his team, Professor Hirsch is responsible for the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for the United Kingdom, an ongoing JRF-funded programme.
Since 2008 this programme has been researching what incomes households need to reach a minimum acceptable standard of living in the view of members of the public. Based on this research, Donald has played a leading role in helping to establish the accredited Living Wage across the UK, with the MIS results forming the basis for the calculation of its level.
Donald has had a close association with JRF since the mid 1990s, and between 1998 and 2008 was its Poverty Adviser. Previously, he had been a journalist on magazines including The Economist, before moving to Paris to carry out international studies of education for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Having been involved in analysing social policies in the UK and abroad since Margaret Thatcher's second year in office, he endeavours to ignore a sense of deja vu, seeking to learn from past lessons only to the extent that they are relevant to today's distinctive challenges.
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