Legatum Institute

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Legatum Institute
Legatum Institute Logo.jpg
TypeThink tank
PurposePromoting policies that lift people from poverty to prosperity
Headquarters11 Charles Street, London, W1J 5DW
Philippa Stroud
Key people
Alan McCormick Chairman, Toby Baxendale

The Legatum Institute is an independent educational charity based in London, UK, run by Baroness Philippa Stroud, a Conservative member of the House of Lords.[1][2][3] Its stated aim is to advance the education of the public in national and international political, social and economic policy.[4][5][6] The Institute has over forty donors including the Legatum Foundation.[7]


The Legatum Institute was founded in 2007 by the Legatum Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Dubai-based investment firm the Legatum Group.[8] It was given charitable status in 2015.[9] Legatum Institute is funded by over 40 donors including the Legatum Foundation.[10][11] The Institute is currently located in Mayfair.[12] Philippa Stroud (formerly Executive Director of the Centre for Social Justice, and a Conservative Party Peer in the House of Lords) was appointed CEO of the Legatum Institute in 2016.[13][14] Other senior fellows include Oliver Letwin and Gisela Stuart (former Labour MP and chair of Vote Leave).[15]

Reports and advocacy[edit]

Current programmes[edit]

The Institute currently has seven programmes including the country we want to be, effective government, cultural transformation, populism and political change, the economics of prosperity, global people movements and 21st century international development.[16]

The Legatum Institute publishes the annual Legatum Prosperity Index,[17] which measures prosperity across countries by applying a combination of material wealth and life satisfaction factors. The report has been in continuous publication since its launch in 2007 and has expanded its coverage from 50 countries to 142.[18][19] In the third edition of the Prosperity Index, released in 2009, the institute ranked India 45th out of 104 countries, with other emerging markets, Brazil 41st and China 75th.[20] The large gap between China and India's prosperity narrowed in 2017, as the Index applauded the latter for improving governance through new laws.[21] "In the 2014 Prosperity Index, Legatum ranked the United Kingdom the 13th most prosperous country in the world.[22]

Legatum's 2016 Central and Eastern European Prosperity Report discusses moving beyond wealth as a sole measure of prosperity, and demonstrates that whilst Eastern European countries average income was much lower than that of Western Europe, its overall prosperity, when looking at a full range of indicators, has become much closer to that of it's neighbours[23].

The Institute also runs the Global People Movements programme, which has been working to develop data-driven solutions to the largest movement of forcibly displaced people since the Second World War.[24]

In 2017 the Legatum Institute conducted research into economic attitudes in the UK.[25] The report, co-authored by Matthew Elliott, showed strong support amongst the UK population for socialist policies with up to 83% of respondents favouring renationalisation of major UK industries.[26][27]

Legatum have focused a portion of their research on strengthening families, parenting skills and supporting children and young people with mental health problems.[28][29] In July 2018, Legatum Institute released a report linking “anxiety, self-harm and other mental illness with high social media use among young people”. The report argued that this is damaging families and young people's relationships with other adults.[30] More widely, Legatum Institute has advocated the use of parenting courses as a useful way of embedding parental skills and values to support children, but that the take up of these courses remains low due to stigma (people relating such courses incorrectly to ‘troubled families’ and ‘poor parenting’), poor accessibility and lack of familiarity with the trainer's and facilitators.[31]

Historic programmes[edit]

At the 2015 Africa Prosperity Summit, the Legatum Institute participated as a panellist during the session on “Stoking African Innovation: Ways and Means”, which focused on addressing economic and social requirements.[32] The same year, the Institute commissioned YouGov to investigate public attitudes towards capitalism, which highlighted a nearly universal belief that the biggest corporations in the world had become successful through cheating and at the expense of the environment.[33]

In 2016, the Legatum Institute, in partnership with the Center for European Policy Analysis, published research and recommendations relating to Russian disinformation techniques and their impact.[34].

Other initiatives[edit]

In October 2013, the Legatum Institute co-founded the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) in partnership with entrepreneur Luke Johnson.[35][36] Its intention is to research and communicate the positive impact of entrepreneurs on the economy and society. The CFE took ownership of Startup Britain in 2014 and has released research on the role universities should play in entrepreneurship[37] and the benefits of offering entrepreneurship schemes to pre-release prisoners.[38]

The Legatum Institute houses the Social Metrics Commission, founded in 2016 and chaired by its CEO Philippa Stroud, which published a new report into UK poverty levels in September 2018.[39][40] The report found that 14.4 million people were living in poverty in 2017, including 4.5 million children.[41]

Role in Brexit[edit]

The think tank has been widely characterised as influential in the Brexit debate[7][42]. In July 2017, soon after the UK's EU Referendum result, Legatum Institute formed the Special Trade Commission headed by Shanker Singham (who backed remain in the run up to the EU referendum) and included former New Zealand Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization Crawford Falconer as a commissioner[42]. This group provided reports looking at the UK's future trade negotiations. The Special Trade Commission's work was seen by some commentators as pushing for a “hard Brexit"[43], a claim denied by the Institute who said their role was to support the referendum result and took no public position in the lead up to the EU referendum[44].

In one report by the Legatum Institute[45], they proposed using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles as a suggestion to help patrol the Republic of IrelandNorthern Ireland border issue post-Brexit. The solution, which by the report's own admission faced issues around cost and bad weather, was criticised by certain commentators[46]. The report proposed a series of other potential measures including re-purposing the Special EU Programmes Body and creating a Special economic zone, an idea also put forward by the Republic of Ireland's main opposition party[45]. Crawford Falconer left the Special Trade Commission to become the Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser and Second Permanent Secretary for the Department for International Trade in June 2016[47]. Shanker Singham left the institute in March 2018[48][49] to take his team to the Institute of Economic Affairs and Matthew Elliott left in May 2018[50]. In May 2018, the institute announced it would end its Brexit related research and focus on its wider programme of research.[51]


The Legatum Institute holds regular public events. In 2012 the Dalai Lama spoke at an event called "ethics for a more prosperous world"[52]. In 2015, they held an event which looked at the ownership and management of public assets[53]. In 2018 they held an event to gather thinkers from different perspectives and let them argue under Chatham House Rules to promote debate[54].


The following people are current Fellows at the Legatum Institute[55]:

Previous Fellows have included Peter Pomerantsev and Matthew Elliott (politics).


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  2. ^ "Legatum Institute Foundation". Charity Commission. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
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  4. ^ Springer, Jon (14 November 2014). "Legatum's 2014 Prosperity Index: Asia Positives For Entrepreneurship, Indonesia, Mongolia". Forbes. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  5. ^ Martin, Will (14 February 2018). "The 19 countries with the world's best healthcare systems". Business Insider. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  6. ^ Colson, Thomas (13 November 2016). "The 17 best-governed countries in the world". Business Insider. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  7. ^ a b O'Murchu, Cynthia (4 December 2017). "Legatum: the think-tank at intellectual heart of 'hard' Brexit". Financial Times. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
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  11. ^ Leroux, Marcus (October 14, 2017). "Christopher Chandler: billionaire behind Legatum think tank has unrivalled access to Brexit MPs". The Times. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  12. ^ "Matthew Elliott: What the man behind Vote Leave did next". Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Legatum Institute - People". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  14. ^ Cordell, Jake (12 September 2016). "Conservative peer Baroness Stroud to become chief executive of Legatum Institute". City A.M. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  15. ^ "HP Sauce". Private Eye (1462). January 2018. p. 11.
  16. ^ "Introducing our programmes". www.li.com.
  17. ^ "The 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index". Legatum Institute. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  18. ^ "List of thinktanks in the UK". The Guardian. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  19. ^ Kohli, Sonali (6 November 2014). "How the US stacks up to the world's most prosperous country". Quartz. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  20. ^ "India more prosperous than China: Legatum Prosperity Index". IIFL. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  21. ^ "India reduces gap with China on prosperity: Study". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  22. ^ Straus, Rachel (3 November 2014). "Britain ranked 13th most prosperous country in the world ahead of Germany and France - and Norway comes top". This is Money. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  23. ^ "Legatum Institute: Central and Eastern Europe Prosperity Report". Wired Gov. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  24. ^ "The Legatum Institutes Global People Movements programme is developing a pioneering method of analysing the trends shaping today's migration patterns". Keep The Faith Magazine. n.d. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  25. ^ Clothier, Will (9 October 2017). "No wonder nationalisation is popular when capitalism has delivered for too few". The Times. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  26. ^ Cunliffe, Rachel (29 September 2017). "The far left is winning the capitalism debate". City A.M. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  27. ^ "Returning the UK's privatised services to the public". The Times. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  28. ^ Wilce, Hilary (13 April 2017). "We ALL need help to be a good parent". Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  29. ^ "Adolescence". Legatum Institute. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  30. ^ Hurst, Greg (24 July 2018). "Put down phones and talk to children, parents told". The Times. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  31. ^ Chirinda, Gerald (8 May 2018). "What can be done to economically empower women in Africa?". World Economic forum. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  32. ^ "LEGATUM INSTITUTE 2015 AFRICA PROSPERITY SUMMIT – PROMOTING WEALTH AND WELLBEING". Human Development Innovation Fund. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  33. ^ "WHAT THE WORLD THINKS OF CAPITALISM". Shorthand Social. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  34. ^ Lucas, Edward (2 August 2016). "Winning the Information War". Center for European Policy Analysis. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  35. ^ "Entrepreneurs unite to form think tank". BQLive. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  36. ^ "Serial entrepreneurs will be key to the success of the UK economy". Coutts Bank. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  37. ^ "The CFE highlights the role universities should play in supporting startups". New Asian Post. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  38. ^ "Turning prisoners into entrepreneurs would save 1.4bn per annum, claims CFE report". National Enterprise Network. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  39. ^ "New measure of poverty proposed for UK". Retrieved 17 Sep 2018.
  40. ^ "What is the new UK poverty measure – and why is it needed?". 16 September 2018. Retrieved 19 Sep 2018.
  41. ^ "New study finds 4.5 million UK children living in poverty". 16 September 2018. Retrieved 19 Sep 2018.
  42. ^ a b Alex Spence (22 May 2018). "The Definitive Story Of How A Former Washington Lobbyist Became "The Brexiteers' Brain"". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 24 May 2018. Weeks after the referendum, he formed a “special trade commission”
  43. ^ "David Davis went to seminar that drew up hard Brexit blueprint". The Guardian. 2 October 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  44. ^ "Why we've taken down an article on Christopher Chandler and the Legatum Institute". Left Foot Forward. 17 February 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  45. ^ a b "Brexit: Airships could patrol Irish border, says think tank". BBC. 11 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  46. ^ "Legatum Institute's 'solution' for the Brexit border is highly problematic". LSE Brexit. 18 September 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  47. ^ "Second Permanent Secretary and Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser Crawford Falconer". Gov.uk. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  48. ^ "Legatum Institute parts ways with pro-Brexit trade expert". Financial Times. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  49. ^ "IEA poaches Legatums top team". City A.M. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  50. ^ "Matthew Elliot says farewell to the Legatum Institute". 9 March 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  51. ^ "Legatum Institute calls time on its EU research". 30 May 2018. Retrieved 10 Sep 2018.
  52. ^ "His Holiness the Dalai Lama Participates in a Symposium - Ethics for a More Prosperous World". dalailama.com. 24 October 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  53. ^ "Legatum Institute Event:" Sweating our assets: Yield not ownership is the answer"". Cobden Centre. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  54. ^ Juliet Samuel (19 January 2018). "Teach authoritarian students to debate and 'no platforming' will be no more". Telegraph. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  55. ^ "Legatum Fellows". Legatum Institute.