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.
Institute of Economic and Social Studies (INESS) selected several components of the Doing Business Index by which their progress could be measured. Then it launched “Top 20,” a project with the ambition to increase Slovakia’s standing on the Doing Business Index to 20 (Slovakia was ranked 29th in 2016). Top 20 aims to raise public awareness and enlist support from journalists, politicians, the business community, and the public to make change happen. The project’s website includes a list of 52 specific reforms that are tied to the country’s business environment.
INESS made considerable progress on impacting the selected components of the World Bank’s Doing Business Index, specifically in the areas of Starting a Business and Paying Taxes, and has lined up several more proposals for adoption through meetings with the Ministry of Economy. Outside of the specific items targeted, INESS’ work can also be linked to progress in easing tax burdens on self-employment, abolishing the health deduction on dividends, and reducing a requirement for all employers to pay for health environment monitoring services. Other achievements include an eased tax burden on self-employment and the abolishment of the 14 percent health deduction on dividends. And although INESS did not receive traction on all of its suggested reforms, 5–7 more are actively being considered by policymakers.
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 Institute of Economic and Social Studies. 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.