The Leveraging Indices for Free Enterprise Policy Reform, or “LIFE,” project was designed to promote policy reforms that demonstrably move the needle on economic policy, measured by marginal change in a specific prominent ranking or index. Such indices include the Doing Business Index by the World Bank Group, the Economic Freedom Index by the Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Wall Street Journal, and the Economic Freedom of the World Report by the Fraser Institute.
The program provided grants to Atlas Network partners to conduct research, advocacy campaigns, and media campaigns to affect change. The grant awarded $100,000 to each selected organization, divided over the course of three years, and was generously sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. In the inaugural iteration of the project, 16 think tanks were selected for participation. Lessons learned from three of the participating organizations have been detailed in three Atlas Network case studies.
The Centre for Civil Society (CCS) won Atlas Network’s $50,000 LIFE Award at Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner 2017 in recognition of its numerous policy wins promoting the ease of doing business in India it achieved as a result of the LIFE program. One of its greatest victories was advocating for and realizing the elimination of minimum capital requirements for new businesses in 2016. Previously, India’s minimum capital requirements stifled entrepreneurship throughout its economy by requiring 111.2 percent of per-capita income to be deposited before opening up shop. Those requirements are no longer a barrier to starting a business, nor is the need to obtain a government certificate before beginning business operations, because both were rescinded due to CCS’s policy reform efforts.
Coinciding with CCS’s policy successes, India now has an increased rating in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index, up from 142 of 189 in 2015 to 130 in 2017. India’s ranking in the “starting a business” indicator was 179 of 189 countries ranked in 2014. It climbed to 158 in 2015, and 155 in 2017. Meanwhile, its ranking in the “enforcing contracts” category rose from 186 of 189 in 2015 to 172 of 190 in 2017. While India has much work left to make itself a more amenable environment for entrepreneurs and businesses to thrive, CCS has jumpstarted the country’s recent move to transform a bureaucratic landscape fraught with red tape into one that fosters productive economic activity and growth.
Want to take a deep dive into the case studies of the Worldwide Freedom Movement?
Atlas Network believes that some of the best lessons for achieving impact are taught by sharing success stories of similar organizations. Over the next several years, we will be producing a series of Case Studies, based on exceptional think tanks within the Atlas Network. The case study above features the work of Centre for Civil Society. This and subsequent case studies in the series will provide insight, context, and advice on running effective think tanks. If you would like more in-depth analysis, guidance, and discussion, be sure to participate in Atlas Network Leadership Academy's Think Tank Impact online course. This course, run quarterly throughout the year, will allow you to learn, share, and address your organization's challenges along with others from the worldwide freedom movement.