Adam Smith Institute

The Adam Smith Institute is one of the world’s leading think tanks. Independent, non-profit, and non-partisan, we work to promote free markets and a free society, through research, economic analysis, publishing, media outreach, and public education. We inject economics and sound ideas into public debate and help shift the climate of opinion.

The ASI has been repeatedly recognised for its impact, with the University of Pennsylvania ranking it as the leading domestic and international economic policy think-tank in the UK and as the leading Independent Think Tank globally.

The ASI has always been a practical think tank rather than a purely academic organisation. Despite its strict political independence, it has worked with policymakers to deliver real change, and to make its ideas reality.

The ASI pioneered ‘Micropolitics’, which analyses the impact of policies on different interest groups, and the application of public choice theory in the 1980s, to enable policy change. The ASI prides itself in its ability to shift the “Overton Window”, the spectrum of acceptable discourse and policies, to truly change the world.

We currently have a three-key pillars of research:

  1. Making the fundamental case for free markets & liberty. The tax burden has reached its highest level in decades. Inflation rose above 10%. Government bureaucracy and red tape has grown too. Wealth creators and entrepreneurs are demonised all too often. Following Brexit, “Global Britain” needs to look further afield to boost trade and investment, building partnerships globally. So, the fundamental case for free markets & liberty must be made again.
  2. Growth, supply side reforms, and appropriate regulation. Low economic growth and productivity stagnation are holding us back. To make everyone richer, we need to make it easier to set up businesses, build infrastructure, attract specialist skills, go to work (e.g. childcare) and afford a home. The regulatory burden and red tape needs to be reduced, with new rules well tailored to industry requirements and innovation. Such reform is essential to increase wages, create jobs, and reduce intergenerational & regional divides. 
  3. Future technology and progress studies.Entrepreneurs are powering huge innovations. The UK is a leader in many exciting areas from artificial intelligence to quantum computing, FinTech, nuclear energy and digital assets. To reap the available rewards, we must create the right legal environment, so these technologies can be deployed and exported safely, successfully and rapidly. The UK also needs to collaborate with other international tech hubs, like Dubai, Singapore, and Silicon Valley.

We know that free markets and capitalism have already been proven to be the best way of reducing poverty and giving people the freedom to live the lives they want. Our work is inspired by Adam Smith, and is heavily empirical, grounded in practice and evidence from around the world. Though we favour bold, radical policy solutions to society’s problems over the status quo of managed decline, we base the case for this in facts not dogma. 

Adam Smith was born over 300 years ago. We have consistently celebrated his legacy as the Father of Economics. The ASI erected his 10-foot bronze statue on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, holds the annual Adam Smith Lecture, and publishes primers on his works, ensuring he remains relevant to modern discourse outside of dusty textbooks and libraries.

We endeavour to inform students, whether in secondary or tertiary education on Smith’s lessons, from the role of markets and morality, to the benefits of free trade and entrepreneurship. In school talks, internships, The Next Generation group and the highly competitive week-long seminar series, Freedom Week, our staff and Fellows have been at the forefront of inspiring future generations of entrepreneurs, intellectuals and leaders.


Latest reports

On the rocks

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at London's nightlife crisis. London’s nightlife is a great national asset, which generates £46 billion for our economy, and helps to cement the city’s global reputation. Beyond a direct financial contribution, the U.K. night-time economy acts as a catalyst for secondary spending across transportation,...

Read more

Short term thinking

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute reviews the proposal to apply VAT of 20% to private school fees in order to raise significant revenue. This paper reviews the proposal to apply VAT of 20% to private school fees in order to raise significant revenue. We build on a paper from the...

Read more

Free wills

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute will make the case for the abolition of inheritance tax. This paper, newly updated since its initial publication in 1995, finds that many of the arguments made in favour of the abolition of inheritance tax (IHT) nearly thirty years ago are still relevant today- and,...

Read more

Cooped up

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute quantifies the cost of housing restriction. This paper classes the removal of restrictions as allowing owners of existing dwellings to redevelop their properties so they are up to 8 stories tall. Our model found that liberalising these restrictions would boost the welfare of every person...

Read more

World traders

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute makes the case for the UK to join the Multi-Party Interim Appeal (MPIA) arbitration mechanism. This new paper makes the case for the UK to join the Multi-Party Interim Appeal (MPIA) arbitration mechanism, the alternative to the AB set up by the world’s leading economies...

Read more

Saving the golden goose

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute recommends that the UK's position as the most respected crypto regulatory space in the world should be protected. The UK should avoid copying the US securitarian model from crypto and digital assets. If the Prime Minister wishes to achieve his stated goal to make the...

Read more

Homes for all

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute outlines a fair way to build housing where people want to live. Under the proposed ‘Homes for All’ scheme, the government would use Compulsory Purchasing Orders (CPOs), a legal tool which can be used to compulsorily buy land or property to support development that is...

Read more

Tipping point: on the edge of superintelligence

This report by UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute makes the case for thinking ahead when it comes to artificial superintelligence. In this groundbreaking discussion paper, authors Connor Axiotes and Eddie Bolland, make the case for thinking ahead when it comes to artificial superintelligence, recommending we spur innovation, research, and investment into AI companies,...

Read more

The price of everything, the social value of nothing

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at how the Social Value Act damages British procurement. In this paper, our Director of Research Maxwell Marlow analyses the Social Value Act 2012 and its effects on the procurement process in the UK. The Social Value Act, and accompanying Social Value Model, stipulate...

Read more

Leave them kids alone

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at potential next steps on childcare reform. The Adam Smith Institute’s latest policy briefing, written by Maxwell Marlow and Sofia Risino, suggests various childcare reforms aimed at cutting costs, boosting quality and increasing parental choice. These include: Ending £100,000 cliff edge; Easing informal childcare...

Read more

The forgotten medium

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at helping mid-sized businesses to scale up. Focus is skewed towards both the smallest and largest companies in the UK, who benefit from support not offered to the “Forgotten Medium.” Scaling up MSBs would boost the UK’s growth prospects, in particular in areas of...

Read more

Levelling down

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at how the Global Minimum Corporate Tax Undermines the UK. The Adam Smith Institute’s latest paper, written by Dr. Tyler Goodspeed, calls for a rethink of the UK’s decision to rush implementation of a global minimum corporate tax rate. The UK’s decision to rush...

Read more

Boomer and bust

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at realigning incentives to reduce intergenerational inequality. The Adam Smith Institute’s latest paper, written by John Macdonald, James Sean Dickson and Dr. Michael Turner, proposes policies to address the causes of Britain’s growing intergenerational inequality. Intergenerational inequality is not just an issue of fairness...

Read more

Broken Britain

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at 16 problems facing the country. The Adam Smith Institute’s latest discussion paper, written by Dr. Madsen Pirie, details the key problems facing Britain today.

Read more

A broken home

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at why it's time to split up the Home Office. The Adam Smith Institute’s latest paper, written by Henry Hill, argues that we should split the Home Office into two new, more focused Departments: Immigration and Security. The Home Office has presided over numerous...

Read more

Upcoming events

19 June 2024

Location: Adam Smith Institute 23 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3DJ

Think tank: Adam Smith Institute

Cracking economics

This event hosted by UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute features Tejvan Pettinger speaking about his new book 'Cracking Economics'. Join us for another evening of The Adam Smith Institute's series of events, Enlightenment Evenings, where our Chairman James Lawson interviews brilliant authors, academics and wonks on fascinating topics stirring up the Westminster scene. ​​On Wednesday...