Institute of Economic Affairs
||This article contains wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information. (September 2011)|
|Institute of Economic Affairs|
|Type||free market think tank|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
|Director General||Mark Littlewood|
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is a free market think tank in London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1955, its stated mission is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.
In 1945, Antony Fisher read a summary of The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek in the April issue of Reader’s Digest. Later that year, Fisher visited Hayek at the London School of Economics. The economist dissuaded Fisher from embarking on a political and parliamentary career to try to prevent the spread of socialism and central planning. Instead, Hayek suggested the establishment of a body which could engage in research and reach the intellectuals with reasoned argument. If the intellectuals could be convinced of the benefits of free markets, the politicians would follow.
In June 1955, The Free Convertibility of Sterling by George Winder was published, with Fisher signing the foreword as Director of the IEA. In November 1955, the IEA’s Original Trust Deed was signed by Fisher, John Harding and Oliver Smedley. Ralph Harris (later Lord Harris) began work as part-time General Director in January 1957. He was joined in 1958 by Arthur Seldon who was initially appointed Editorial Advisor and became the Editorial Director in 1959.
The IEA has also played an active role in developing similar institutions across the globe. A world-wide network of over one hundred institutions in nearly eighty countries has been created. All are independent but share in the IEA's mission.
The Social Affairs Unit was established in December 1980 as an offshoot of the Institute of Economic Affairs in order to carry the IEA's economic ideas onto the battleground of sociology. "Within a few years the Social Affairs Unit became independent from the IEA, acquiring its own premises." In 1986 the IEA created a Health and Welfare Unit to focus on these aspects of social policy.
The IEA is a registered educational and research charity. On that basis it claims to be entirely funded by voluntary donations from individuals, companies and foundations who want to support its work, plus income from book sales and conferences. It claims to do no contract work, accept no money from government and to be entirely independent of any political party or group. However, when George Monbiot requested the sources of funding in 2011, the IEA declined to reveal these. He is critical of the fact the Charity Commission gives charitable status to organisations, such as the IEA, which are involved in political lobbying and who refuse to reveal their sources of funding.
Monbiot has also criticised the Institute for receiving donations from a number of tobacco companies, while taking various positions favorable to the tobacco industry. Despite the IEA's refusal to reveal their donors, he stated that "British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco International have been funding the institute – in BAT's case since 1963", contrasting this with their work in strong opposition to policies such as plain packaging for tobacco products.
In 2002, a leaked letter from a prominent member of the IEA, Roger Scruton revealed that he had failed to declare payments of £54,000 p.a. from Japan tobacco while publishing an attack through the IEA on the World Health Organization's attempts to decrease tobacco use. In the letter he asked Japan Tobacco for this amount to be increased to £66,000 p.a., in exchange for which "we would aim to place an article every two months in one or other of the WSJ [Wall Street Journal], the Times, the Telegraph, the Spectator, the Financial Times, the Economist, the Independent or the New Statesman". In response the IEA stated that they would change their policies to avoid a recurrence of such a conflict of interest.
He also reports that the American Friends of the IEA, whose sole purpose is to provide funds for the IEA, has received $215,000 from the two secretive funds as of 2010.
Arthur Seldon proposed a series of Papers for economists to explore the market approach to the issues of the day. Eventually these emerged as the Hobart Papers; 154 had been published by August 2006. In addition, 32 Hobart Paperbacks had been released along with 139 Occasional Papers, 61 Readings and 61 Research Monographs. A large number of other titles has been published in association with trade and university presses.
The Journal of Economic Affairs was first published in October 1980 and continues to be published to the present day. IEA publications are sold throughout the world – reprinted and translated into over twenty-five languages. In the UK, many IEA titles have become mandatory in university and classroom reading lists.
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 an international Academic Advisory Council and a panel of Honorary Fellows. All IEA papers are subjected to the same rigorous independent blind-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.
Twelve economists engaged in the IEA's work have gone on to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics: Gary Becker, James M. Buchanan, Ronald Coase, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, John Hicks, James Meade, Douglass C. North, Elinor Ostrom, Vernon L. Smith, George Stigler and Oliver E. Williamson. The condensed version of Hayek's The Road to Serfdom has been republished by the IEA , while the work of Nobel Prize Winners is reprinted in The Road to Economic Freedom with a foreword by Margaret Thatcher . The IEA has also published research in areas such as business ethics, economic development, education, pensions, regulation, taxation and transport.
In September 2008, the Institute started the IEA blog  as a further means to disseminate free-market ideas.
In October 2009, the IEA appointed Mark Littlewood as its Director General with effect from 1 December 2009.
The IEA holds a range of events throughout the year at its 2 Lord North Street headquarters, from book launches and debates to conferences and lectures (including the Annual Hayek Lecture), Working Lunches and Political Economy Suppers.
The 20th Annual Hayek Lecture was delivered on 5 July 2011 by Robert Barro of Harvard University. Barro is considered one of the founders of new classical macroeconomics and is the current Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics at Harvard.
Shadow Monetary Policy Committee
The Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (SMPC) was established in July 1997, immediately following the creation of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee. The SMPC has met on a monthly basis since then. The decisions and minutes of the SMPC are published a few days before the Bank of England’s own interest rate decision each month.
- Chairman – David B. Smith, Visiting Professor, University of Derby.
- Secretary – Professor Kent Matthews, Julian Hodge Professor of Money and Banking, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University.
- IEA representative – Professor Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director of the IEA.
Other members of the Committee are: Roger Bootle (Deloitte and Capital Economics Ltd), Tim Congdon (International Monetary Research Ltd.), Jamie Dannhauser (Lombard Street Research), Anthony J Evans (ESCP Europe), John Greenwood (Invesco Asset Management), Ruth Lea (Arbuthnot Banking Group), Andrew Lilico (Europe Economics), Patrick Minford (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University), Gordon Pepper (Lombard Street Research and Cass Business School), Akos Valentinyi (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University), Peter Warburton (Economic Perspectives Ltd), Mike Wickens (University of York and Cardiff Business School) and Trevor Williams (Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets).
- Mark Littlewood, Director General and Ralph Harris Fellow
- Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director
- Terry Arthur, IEA Pensions and Regulation Fellow
- James Bartholomew, IEA Social Policy Fellow
- John Blundell, IEA Distinguished Senior Fellow
- Keith Boyfield, IEA Regulation Fellow
- Dr Robert L. Bradley, IEA Energy and Climate Change Fellow
- Professor Tim Congdon, IEA Economics Fellow
- Professor Dennis O'Keeffe, IEA Education and Welfare Fellow
- Richard D. North, IEA Media Fellow
- Dr Mark Pennington, IEA Political Economy Fellow
- Professor John Spiers, IEA Health Policy Fellow
- Dr Elaine Sternberg, IEA Philosophy and Corporate Governance Fellow
- Dr Cento Veljanovski, IEA Law and Economics Fellow
- Professor Armen Alchian
- Professor Michael Beenstock
- Samuel Brittan
- Professor James M. Buchanan
- Professor Ronald Coase
- Professor R M Hartwell
- Professor Terence W Hutchison
- Professor David Laidler
- Professor Chiaki Nishiyama
- Professor Sir Alan Peacock
- Professor Anna Schwartz
- Professor Vernon L. Smith
- Professor Gordon Tullock
- Professor Sir Alan Waters
- Professor Basil Yamey
- IEA website
- Richard Cockett, Thinking the unthinkable: think-tanks and the economic counter-revolution, 1931–1983, Fontana Press, 1995, ISBN 0-00-637586-3
- "about the IEA". Institute of Economic Affairs. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- Andrew Marr BBC 2007 A History of Modern Britain
- Muller, Christopher (1996), "The institute of economic affairs: Undermining the post-war consensus", Contemporary British History, Volume 10, Issue 1 Spring 1996, ppp 88–110, 102
- "about the IEA: chronology". Institute of Economic Affairs. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- The Institute of Economic Affairs Limited, Registered Charity no. 235351 at the Charity Commission
- , 'Think of a tank' column by George Monbiot