Donald has been analysing trends and policies related to poverty and low income for over four decades. In the 1980s he was a journalist, latterly on The Economist. In the 1990s, after a period at the OECD, he was an international policy consultant, and between 1998 and 2008 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Poverty Adviser. He played a central role in establishing the Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom (MIS), joining Loughborough’s Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) in 2008 to lead the MIS work. He was Director of the Centre from 2012 to 2022. Since retiring from Loughborough, he has been policy adviser to abrdn Financial Fairness Trust, which funds a range of research related to income, assets and spending. Donald’s work has been influential in establishing a living wage for the UK, in developing strategies to combat child poverty and fuel poverty, in providing an evidence base for a more generous legal aid means test, announced in 2022, and in other areas of policy and practice.
Among the research projects that Donald played a leading role in at CRSP, up to 2022, were:A Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom
- Padley, M., Davis, A., Stone, J., Hirsch, D., Shepherd, C. and Blackwell, C. (2022) A Minimum Income Standard in the UK for 2022. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
- Hirsch, D. (2022) More affordable justice: proposals to reform the legal aid means tests and implications for living standards Loughborough: Centre for Research in Social Policy
- Stone, J. and Hirsch, D. (2022) Poverty at the end of life in the UK London: Marie Curie
- Hirsch, D. (2022) The Cost of a Child in Scotland 2022. Glasgow: Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland
- Hill, K., Webber, R. and Hirsch, D. (2021) Staying Home and Getting On: Tackling the challenges facing low to middle income families where young adults live with their parents. Edinburgh: abrdn Financial Fairness Trust
- Hirsch, D. and Lee, T. (2021) The Cost of a Child in 2021. London: Child Poverty Action Group
- Davis, A., Hirsch, D., Padley, M. and Shepherd, C. (2021) A Minimum Income Standard in the UK for 2021. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
- Hirsch, D. (2021) The Cost of a Child in London. London: Child Poverty Action Group
- Hirsch, D. (2020) The cost of a child in 2020. London:Child Poverty Action Group
- Hill, K., Hirsch, D., Stone, J. and Webber, R. (2020) Home Truths: Young adults living with their parents in low to middle income families, Edinburgh, Standard Life Foundation.
- Hirsch, D. (2020) ‘After a Decade of Austerity, Does the UK Have an Income Safety Net Worth its Name?’ in J. Rees, M. Pomati and E. Heins (ed) Social Policy Review 32. Analysis and Debate in Social Policy, 2020. Bristol: Policy Press
- Davis, A., Hirsch, D., Padley, M. and Shepherd, C. (2020) A Minimum Income Standard for the United Kingdom in 2020. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation
- Hill, K., Hirsch, D., and Davis, A. (2020) The Role of Social Support Networks in Helping Low Income Families through Uncertain Times. Social Policy and Society, 1-16. Doi:10.1017/S1474746420000184
- Hirsch, D., Concialdi, P., Math, A., Padley, M., Pereira, E., Pereirinha, J., and Thornton, R. (2020) The Minimum Income Standard and equivalisation: Reassessing relative costs of singles and couples and of adults and children. Journal of Social Policy, 1-20. doi:10.1017/S0047279419001004
- Hirsch, D., Padley, M., Stone, J. and Valadez-Martinez, L. (2020) Social Indicators Research. The Low Income Gap: A New Indicator Based on a Minimum Income Standard. DOI 10.1007/s11205-019-02241-6
- Davis, A., Hirsch, D. and Padley, M. (2018) ‘The Minimum Income Standard as a benchmark of a ‘participatory social minimum', Journal of Poverty and Social Justice. Volume 26, Number 1, February 2018, pp. 19-34(16)
- Hirsch, D. (2017) 'The 'living wage' and low income: Can adequate pay contribute to adequate family living standards?' Critical Social Policy. Vol. 38 Issue:6 pp1-20.
- Hirsch, D. (2017) 'Contemporary wage floors and the calculation of a living wage', Journal of Employee Relations. Vol. 39 Issue:6 pp815-824.