John Kay, CBE, FRSE, FBA, is one of the UK’s leading economists. He is visiting Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and, since 1970, a fellow of St John’s College, Oxford.

In 1979 he became Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. He has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 1997, with other honours including Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (1999), Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2008), Hon. D.Litt, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh (2008), Hon. Fellow, CFA Society of the UK (2009) and Hon. Fellow, Chartered Institute of Taxation, 2010.

His government and official activities include: Special Advisor, House of Commons Select Committee on the Treasury and Civil Service Department (1980-1983); Special Advisor, House of Lords Committee on Unemployment (1981-1982); Member, Company Law Review steering group (1998-2000); Member, Council of Economic Advisers, Scottish Government (2007-2010); and The Kay Review on Short-Termism for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, UK Government (2011-12).

Kay’s editorial activities include: member of Board of Review of Economic Studies (1974-1984, Treasurer, 1976-1980); member of the editorial board of Oxford Economic Papers (1975-1977); associate editor, The Economic Journal (1976-1980); and founder and first editor of Fiscal Studies (1979-1986). He is a regular editorial contributor to the Financial Times, where he has also had a weekly column since 1995. And he sits on the European Advisory Board of Princeton University Press.

In 1986, Kay became a professor at the London Business School and founded London Economics, a consultancy firm. He was the first director of Oxford’s Said Business School from 1997 to 1999. He is a director of several public companies.

Kay was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2014 for services to economics.


As well as extensive journalism, John Kay is the author of:

  • Obliquity: why our goals are best achieved indirectly (2010)
  • The Long and the Short of It (2009)
  • The Hare and the Tortoise (2006)
  • Culture and Prosperity (2004)
  • Everlasting Light Bulbs (2004)
  • The Truth about Markets (2003)
  • The Business of Economics (1996)
  • Why Firms Succeed (1995)
  • Foundations of Corporate Success (1993)
  • The British Tax System (with MA King, 1978, 5th Ed, 1990)
  • The Economic Analysis of Accounting Profitability (with J Edwards and CP Mayer, 1987)
  • The Reform of Social Security (with AW Dilnot and CN Morris, 1984)
  • Concentration in Modern Industry (with L Hannah, 1977)