In second part of our regular series of presenting the partners of the Free Market Road Show we visit our frinds from Slovakia – the Institute of Economic and Social Studies (INESS).
INESS, the Institute of Economic and Social Studies, began its activities in January 2006 as an non-governmental and apolitical civic association founded by concerned individuals and financed by private donations and revenues from its own activities. As an independent think tank, INESS monitors the functioning and financing of the public sector, evaluates the effects of legislative changes on the economy and society and comments on current economic and social issues.
INESS’ goal is to broaden public awareness of the principles of market mechanisms’ functions and the effects of state interventions and their impact on society and everyday life. INESS’ priority areas include taxation and contributions to the state budget, social system (including pensions), the public healthcare system, monetary policy, EU membership issues, government regulation and property rights
All of the Institute’s activities focuses on solutions to urgent economic and social problems, bearing in mind that society’s main pillars are private property, peaceful coexistence and the guarantee of personal freedom.
The flagship long-term project is the Price of the State– unique internet presentation with accurate and detailed information on the components of public finance. All data is displayed also in per capita and per worker forms so that the visitor can see the amount he or she pays for public services. Czech and Polish clones of the website have already been prepared in cooperation with local partners and an open source code with methodology will be released by INESS later this year. The project was lauded as the best pro-market internet website at the Stockholm Network Golden Umbrella Think Tank Awards in 2007 and was also chosen as the winner of the 2008 and 2010 Templeton Freedom Award for excellence in promoting liberty given by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Based on POT data is the Bill for Government Services, a simple cash register receipt with information for ordinary people, where their taxes end and in what amount they contribute for public services. The Bill reaches almost 60 000 households as a part of a major Slovak major opinion daily newspaper SME in the beginning of each year.
Since 2007, we monitor Slovak media for mentions of public fund waste and store the findings in public web database State Waste. We have already monitored over 1600 occurrences of wasting public resources and recorded several hundreds of them.
The Universe of Public Expenditures is a graphical representation of all public expenditures financed by taxes and contributions. It enables one to understand the relationships among the individual items of public administration. It is a useful aid in illuminating the basic financial flows between citizen and state as well as among individual state institutions.
EuroCrisis aims to bring expert information about current development of European debt crisis in non-expert language to Slovak citizens. Its unique feature is the Euro Bill, which calculates the total potential exposition to a risk related to Euro rescue mechanisms on per capita basis.
For its successful activities INESS receive several international awards, amongst them Golden Umbrella Think Tank Award announced by the Stockholm Network in 2007, Templeton Freedom Award in the category Innovative Media, announced by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in 2008, and same award but in in the category Special Achievement by a Young Institute in 2010.