Institute of Economic Affairs

Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)


The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is a London-based free-market think-tank and “educational charity” founded in 1955 by the late Sir Anthony Fisher and Lord Harris with the mission “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.” [1]

According to an archived 2010 version of their website, “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.” [2]

IEA became very influential in the UK, and Nobel economist Milton Friedman believed its influence was so strong that “the U-turn in British policy executed by Margaret Thatcher owes more to him (i.e., Fisher) than any other individual.” [3]

SourceWatch describes IEA as the head of a network of similar UK organizations including the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and the International Policy Network, both closely-related charities also founded by Anthony Fisher. [4]


On March 19, 2018, IEA introduced the “FREER” program, directed by Rebecca Lowe. [23]

FREER will be distinctive in its embrace of both social and economic liberalism: we have a packed range of upcoming events and papers on topics ranging from no-platforming to Blockchain. We also have a great group of Conservative MPs signed up as parliamentary supporters, and we have Liz Truss and James Forsyth giving speeches at the launch tonight,” Lowe wrote in an article introducing FEER at ConservativeHome.  

According to its website, “FREER will refocus the political debate, shifting attention towards free enterprise and social freedom. Britain’s upcoming departure from the EU provides a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to reassess and reform our country across the whole range of policy areas. The ideas we will champion are those that coalesce around an enduring agenda of unleashing the enterprise, imagination, and inspiration of individual men and women. We are energetic and hopeful for a country that is open, dynamic, enterprising, and thriving.” [24]

For its first year, FREER would “avoid enormous overhead costs by being run administratively through the IEA” and would “benefit from the IEA’s staff’s expertise and experience in different areas” while being separate within IEA's overall budget. [24]

Stance on Climate Change

November 17, 2004

According to an IER publication by Robert L. Bradley Jr. titled “Climate Alarmism Reconsidered”:

“Government intervention in the name of energy sustainability is the major threat to real energy sustainability and the provision of affordable, reliable energy to growing economies worldwide. Free-market structures and the wealth generated by markets help communities to best adapt to climate change.” [5]


The IEA is an educational charity (No CC 235 351) and “independent research institute limited by guarantee.” According to their website, “The Institute is entirely independent of any political party or group, and 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 and accepts no money from government.”  [1]

According to the IEA website, the “American Friends of the Institute of Economic Affairs” is an incorporated 501(C)(3) charity that allows those in the United States to show their support for IEA. It operates under EIN#54-1899539. [6]

The following is based on data the Conservative Transparency project collected from publicly-available tax forms on the Institute of Economic Affairs as well as American Friends of the Institute of Economic Affairs. Note that not all individual values have been verified by DeSmog. [7], [8]

See the attached spreadsheet for details on the Institute of Economic Affairs's funding by year (.xlsx).

Donor American Friends of the Institute of Economic Affairs Institute of Economic Affairs Grand Total
Earhart Foundation $1,074,952 $1,074,952
John Templeton Foundation $380,797 $380,797
DonorsTrust $284,900 $284,900
Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation $210,000 $210,000
Chase Foundation of Virginia $175,140 $175,140
Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation $89,000 $89,000
Exxon Mobil $50,000 $50,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $22,400 $22,400
The Roe Foundation $20,000 $20,000
Aequus Institute $10,000 $10,000
Ruth & Lovett Peters Foundation $10,000 $10,000
Atlas Economic Research Foundation $7,500 $7,500
Grand Total $626,540 $1,708,149 $2,334,689

ExxonMobil Funding

Greenpeace's ExxonSecrets confirms that the American Friends of the Institute of Economic Affairs has received at least $50,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. [9]

Institute of Economic Affairs Charity Forms

American Friends of the Institute of Economic Affairs 990 Forms

Key People

Staff (2015)

As of November, 2015, the following people were listed on the IEA website[10]

  • Mark Littlewood — Director General
  • Alicia Barrett — Executive Assistant to Mark Littlewood and American Outreach Officer
  • Sam Collins – Policy Advisor to Mark Littlewood
  • Philip Booth — Academic and Research Director
  • Ryan Bourne — Head of Public Policy and Director, Paragon Initiative
  • Stephen Davies — Education Director
  • Richard Wellings — Deputy Academic and Research Director & Head of Transport
  • Christopher Snowdon — Head of Lifestyle Economics
  • Diego Zuluaga — International Research Fellow
  • Len Shackleton — Editorial Research Fellow
  • Stephanie Lis — Director of Communications
  • Chloe Mingay — Communications Officer, Public Affairs
  • Christiana Hambro — Director of Programmes
  • Sophie Sandor — External Relations Assistant
  • Isabelle Agerbak — External Relations Assistant
  • Glynn Brailsford — Director of Creative, Marketing & Development
  • Declan Pang — Development Officer
  • Chad Wilcox — Chief Operating Officer
  • Clare Rusbridge — Office Manager and Company Secretary
  • Ralph Buckle — Events Manager
  • Christian Killoughery — Operating Officer

Trustees (2015) [10]

Past Staff (2012)

The following additional staff members were also listed on the IEA website as of November, 2012: [11]

  • Rebecca Connorton — Events Manager.
  • Kristian Niemietz — Poverty Research Fellow.
  • Kimberley Painter — Executive Assistant to the Director General.
  • Tom Papworth — Development Manager.
  • Ruth Porter — Communications Director.
  • Gabriel Sahlgren — Research Fellow.

Fellows (2015)

As of November, 2015, Fellows and Honorary Fellows listed on the IEA website included the following: [12]

  • Dalibor Rohac IEA Economics Fellow
  • Amarendra Swarup IEA Finance Fellow
  • Andrew Lilico IEA Economics Fellow
  • Armin J Kammel IEA Law and Economics Fellow
  • Cento VeljanovskiIEA Law and Economics Fellow
  • Elaine Sternberg IEA Philosophy and Corporate Governance Fellow
  • Robert L Bradley IEA Energy and Climate Change Fellow
  • James Bartholomew IEA Social Policy Fellow
  • James Croft IEA Education Research Fellow
  • Jamie Whyte IEA Economics Fellow
  • Keith BoyfieldIEA Regulation Fellow
  • Kristian Niemietz IEA Poverty Research Fellow
  • Nick SilverIEA Pensions Fellow
  • J R Shackleton IEA Economics Fellow
  • John Bourn IEA Economics Fellow
  • Mark PenningtonIEA Political Economy Fellow
  • Tim Congdon CBEIEA Economics Fellow
  • Richard D NorthIEA Media Fellow
  • Ruth Lea IEA Regulation Fellow
  • Terry Arthur IEA Pensions and Financial Regulation Fellow

Honorary Fellows (2015) [12]

Past Fellows (2012)

The following additional Fellows were listed on the IEA website as of November, 2012. [13]

  • John Blundell IEA Distinguished Senior Fellow.
  • Dennis O'Keeffe IEA Education and Welfare Fellow.
  • J R ShackletonIEA Economics Fellow.
  • John Bourn IEA Economics Fellow.
  • Mark Pennington IEA Political Economy Fellow.
  • Tim Congdon CBE IEA Economics Fellow.
  • Richard D NorthIEA Media Fellow.
  • Ruth LeaIEA Regulation Fellow.
  • Terry ArthurIEA Pensions and Financial Regulation Fellow.

Past Honorary Fellows (2012) [13]

  • Armen A Alchian
  • Gordon Tullock
  • James M Buchanan
  • Michael Beenstock
  • Ronald H Coase
  • Alan Peacock

Advisory Council (2015)

As of November, 2015[12]

Past Advisory Council Members (2012)

Additional Advisory Council members, as of November 2012, included: [13]

  • Richard Wellings — Director.
  • Paul Withrington
  • Gabriel Roth
  • Gabriel H. Sahlgren — Research Fellow.
  • Oliver Knipping — President, Institute for Free Enterprise.
  • David Starkie
  • Nigel Essex
  • Charles K Rowley
  • Richard A Epstein
  • Roland Vaubel
  • Stephen C Littlechild
  • Steve H Hanke
  • Steven N S Cheung
  • Tim Congdon CBE
  • Victoria Curzon-Price
  • W Stanley Siebert
  • Walter E Williams
  • Walter E Grinder


    September 2018

    The IEA helps to launch an 'alternative' plan for a post-Brexit UK-US trade deal, alongside US group the Cato Institute. It called on the UK government to cut EU environmental regulations to secure free-trade deals with the US, China and India after Brexit. Environmental NGOs said the plans were not credible if the UK was to fulfil its own environmental commitments, warning that the Brexit vote was not a mandate to lower standards. BBC Newsnight Policy Editor Chris Cook wrote an analysis piece dismantling the report's bizarre maths​.

    Greenpeace's Unearthed revealed details of a 'lucrative' tour of the US undertaken by IEA chief Mark Littlewood in advance of the report being published.

    A separate Guardian analysis revealed a related US-group, the American Friends of the IEA, has raised at least $1.69m in the last decade. The director of the American Friends of the IEA, Robert Boyd, revealed some of the money had been used to fund specific projects for the IEA, but said the US-arm was run independently of the UK thinktank.

    August, 2018

    Continuing the revolving door betwen Tufton Street organisations and key Brexit departments in government, IEA Director of Communications Stephanie Lis took a post as a Special Adviser at the Department for Exiting the EU under Secretary of State Dominic Raab.

    July 2018

    IEA chief Mark Littlewood was filmed by undercover reporters tellling  a prospective donor they could discreetly influence a report in ways that could advance their business interests, in exchange for £42,500. The IEA also offered to broker access to senior politicians for foreign donors seeking to influence the course of Brexit, according to the investigation by Greenpeace's UnEarthed.

    June, 2015

    Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director at the IEA, was featured on Newsnight where he criticized some aspects of Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment. [14]
    According to the event description, “Pope Francis's comments on how best to combat climate change however, are at risk of overstepping the mark when it comes to the role of the clergy.” [14]
    Phillip Booth also wrote a corresponding blog post at the IEA titled “Property rights and the environment - a response to Pope Francis’ encyclical.[15]
    “It is correct to say that pollution leads to premature deaths. Indeed, many would argue that climate change will do so and some that it already does so. But, there are trade-offs. And the underlying picture is one of huge increases in life expectancy and health because of the economic development that is taking place. Indeed, in many parts of the world, the environment is improving dramatically,” Booth writes.

    June, 2013

    The Institute of Economic Affairs and the Adam Smith Institute “received tens of thousands of pounds in funding from cigarette firms,” which was revealed in The Observer's article, “Health groups dismayed by news 'big tobacco' funded rightwing thinktanks.” [16], [17]

    British American Tobacco (BAT) confirmed in The Observer's article that in 2011 BAT “gave the IEA [Institute of Economic Affairs] £10,000, plus £1,000 in event sponsorship. Last year [2012] it [BAT] donated a further £20,000 to the institute.” [17]

    September 5, 2011

    The Institute of Economic Affairs hosted an event by climate change skeptic Fred Singer titled “The Big Global Warming Debate: Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate.”

    According to the conference description, “If climate change is natural, if there is no appreciable Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), then there is little we can do about it. We'd better just adapt – as humans have been doing for many millennia.” [18]

    November 23, 2009

    The Institute of Economic Affairs held an event titled “The Copenhagen Summit: Do Science and Economics Support Government Action on Climate Change?

    Speakers included climate change skeptics Nigel Lawson and Fred Singer. The conference description suggests that policies to reduce carbon emissions will cause consumers to “face higher bills as businesses pass on the additional costs.” [19]

    September, 2009

    The Institute of Economic Affairs created a document titled “Climate Change Policy: Challenging the Activists.” The report includes sections written by numerous climate change skeptics. [20]
    Here are some excerpts from the report:
    “[T]he Stern Review […] exaggerate the costs that may be associated
    with emissions of greenhouse gases”
    Russell Lewis:
    “It is possible to accept aspects of the science of global warming without predicting a forthcoming apocalypse or highly coercive and centralising government action to deal with the consequences. […] the consequences of environmental and ecological change are regularly exaggerated.”
    “The science of climate change is far from settled. Arguably, it will never be settled.”
    “I have argued that the relationship between human emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and global warming remains uncertain. Plausibly, increased emissions of GHGs during the 21st century will lead to mild warming – of perhaps 1–3° Celsius. To the extent that this warming occurs gradually, the best strategy is likely to be adaptation.”
    “[T]he IPCC process, viewed as a whole, is not professionally up to the mark.”
    “[Governments] should no longer presume or aim at consensus. Rather, they should see to it that, both within the IPCC reporting process and more broadly, serious differences of professional opinion are aired.”

    “Critics of the conventional view that science ‘proves’ that, given present policies, damaging global warming will occur as a consequence of human actions frequently warn that this view is leading towards adoption of a new secular religion, of a pronounced ascetic character. […]  [S]upporters of the damaging climate change hypothesis fervently advocate stringent government measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which would have a serious impact on individual freedom.

    “[W]e should be wary of the dangers to individual freedom inherent in the present consensus about prospective climate change and how to deal with it.”

    Colin Robinson:
    “In general, the authors of this volume take a far more sceptical view than is usual of the hypothesis that drastic action to combat severe climate change can be justified.”

    March 6, 2007

    The Institute of Economic Affair's Russell Lewis published a report titled, “Global Warming False Alarms,” which constituted the “25th IEA Current Controversies Paper.” [21]

    The report states that “claims about the future impact of global warming are alarmist and unwarranted,” and “also suspect as an excuse for mounting taxes and controls.” [21] The IEA's report goes on to say that “there is a strong case that the IPCC has overstated the effect of anthropogenic greenhouse gases on the climate and downplayed the influence of natural factors such as variations in solar output, El Niños and volcanic activity. The empirical evidence used to support the global warming hypothesis has often been misleading, with ‘scare stories’ promoted in the media that are distortions of scientific reality.” [21]


    The Institute of Economic Affairs has issued a number of publications that challenge the science behind man-made climate change. These include:

    Institute of Economic Affairs Contact & Location

    The Institute of Economic Affairs (IER) lists the following contact information on its website: [22]

    Institute of Economic Affairs
    2 Lord North Street (entrance on Great Peter Street)
    SW1P 3LB
    Tel: 020 7799 8900

    Related Organizations


    1. About us,” Institute of Economic Affairs. Archived November 17, 2015. URL:

    2.  About the IEA,” Institute of Economic Affairs. Archived March 14, 2010. URL

    3. Martin Morse Wooster. “Liberty's Quiet Champion,” The Philanthropy Roundtable, July/August 2003. Archived March 12, 2005. URL

    4. Institute of Economic Affairs,” SourceWatch. Accessed November 17, 2015. 

    5. Climate Alarmism Reconsidered,” Institute of Economic Affairs, November 17, 2004. Archived January 24, 2018. URL

    6. Donate Now,” Institute of Economic Affairs. Archived November 17, 2015. URL

    7. Institute of Economic Affairs,” Conservative Transparency. Data retrieved June 29, 2016.

    8. American Friends of the Institute of Economic Affairs,” Conservative Transparency. Data retrieved June 29, 2016.

    9. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: American Friends of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). Accessed November 17, 2015. 

    10. People,” Institute of Economic Affairs. Archived November 17, 2015. 

    11. “People,” Institute of Economic Affairs. Archived November 22, 2012.

    12. Fellows and advisors,” Institute of Economic Affairs. Archived November 18, 2015. 

    13. Fellows and advisors,” Institute of Economic Affairs. Archived November 22, 2012.

    14. The pope should not overstep his remit,” Institute of Economic Affairs, June 15, 2015. Archived November 16, 2015. URL

    15. Philip Booth. “Property rights and the environment - a response to Pope Francis’ encyclical,” Institute of Economic Affairs, June 19, 2015. Archived November 16, 2015. URL

    16. Institute of Economic Affairs,” Tobacco Tactics. Archived September 29, 2015.

    17. Health groups dismayed by news 'big tobacco' funded rightwing thinktanks.” The Observer, June 1, 2013. Archived September 29, 2015. URL

    18. The Big Global Warming Debate: Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate,” Institute of Economic Affairs, September 5, 2011. Archived November 18, 2015. URL

    19. The Copenhagen Summit: Do Science and Economics Support Government Action on Climate Change? Institute of Economic Affairs. November 23, 2009. Archived November 18, 2015. URL

    20. “Climate Change Policy: Challenging the Activists” (PDF), The Institute of Economic Affairs, 2008. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

    21. Russell Lewis. Global Warming False Alarms,” Institute of Economic Affairs, March 6, 2007. Archived October 6, 2015.

    22. Contact Us,” Institute of Economic Affairs. Archived June 25, 2016. URL

    23. Rebecca Lowe: Introducing FREER. For social and economic freedom. And why I’m a part of it,” ConservativeHome, March 19, 2018. Archived March 22, 2018. URL:

    24. Objective,” FREER. Accessed March 22, 2018. URL:

    Other Resources

    File attachments: