Institute of Economic Affairs

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is a London-based, influential, right-wing think tank. It is part of a very wide international network of similar organisations, offering financial, operational and strategic support to a large number of these. Among many other groups, via its founders Antony Fisher, Ralph Harris, and Arthur Seldon, it spawned the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the University of Buckingham, and the International Policy Network, which the IEA appears to fund and run directly. The IEA manages the funding of the Centre for Research into Post-Communist Economies

The IEA enjoyed its highest influence during the right-wing Tory administration of Margaret Thatcher. Milton Friedman believes the IEA's intellectual 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."

The IEA describe their mission as being " 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 website boasts that the organisation has played a major role in the proliferation of conservative think tanks around the world. "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," its website states.