Institute of Economic Affairs IEA – UK

The Institute of Economic Affairs IEA is the UK’s original free-market think-tank, founded in 1955. The IEA’s goal is to explain free-market ideas to the public, including politicians, students, journalists, businessmen, academics and anyone interested in public policy.

What is meant by ‘free-market’?

The core belief of free-marketeers is that people should be free to do what they want in life as long as they don’t harm anyone else.

On the whole, society’s problems and challenges are best dealt with by people and companies interacting with each other freely without interference from politicians and the State. This means that government action, whether through taxes, regulation or laws, should be kept to a minimum. IEA authors and speakers are therefore always on the look-out for ways of reducing the government’s role in our lives.

How does the IEA achieve its goal?

Think-tanks are run in different ways and use different methods to put forward their ideas. The IEA’s main activity is a programme of researching and publishing books (up to 20 a year) and a quarterly journal on various public policy issues. The IEA usually commissions outside authors to do the work, though some is done ‘in-house’ by IEA staff. The IEA also holds an extensive series of conferences, seminars, lectures and working lunches to discuss its themes (100-150 events a year). There is also a student outreach programme.

The IEA is a registered educational and research charity. As such it is entirely funded by voluntary donations from individuals, companies and foundations who want to support its work, plus income from book sales and conferences. It does no contract work, accepts no money from government and is independent of any political party.

The Mission

The Mission of The Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve public understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society, with particular reference to the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA achieves its mission by:

- a high quality publishing programme
- conferences, seminars and lectures
- outreach to university, college and school students
- brokering media introductions and appearances;
- and other related activities

The IEA is an educational charity (No CC 235 351) and independent research institute limited by guarantee. Established in 1955 by the late Sir Antony Fisher, the IEA is entirely independent of any political party or group. The IEA is financed by sales of publications, conference fees and voluntary donations from corporate donors and private individuals.

The Institute has an ambitious publishing programme. IEA papers are arranged in a series of titles, each with its own ‘brand image’. The main series of publications is complemented by the Institute’s quarterly journal Economic Affairs.

The Institute’s research activities are aided by a distinguished international Academic Advisory Council and an eminent panel of Honorary Fellows. Together with other academics they review all prospective IEA publications. Their comments are passed on anonymously to the authors. This process means that all IEA papers are subjected to the same rigorous independent refereeing process that is used by leading academic journals. The views expressed in IEA papers are those of the authors and not of the Institute (which has no corporate view), its Trustees, Directors or Advisers.

IEA publications are sold throughout the world, reprinted and translated into over twenty five languages. At the end of 1998 the Institute had subscribers in over 55 countries, sales in 65+ countries and conference attendees from over 50 countries. At home many IEA titles have become mandatory in university and classroom reading lists.

Since 1974 the IEA has played an active role in developing similar institutions across the globe. Today there exists a world-wide network of over one hundred institutions in nearly eighty countries. All are independent but share in the IEA’s mission.

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