Matthew Lesh

Researcher, columnist and author

Hello, and welcome to my website.

I am a public policy researcher, commentator and communications professional. You can see my biography and list of publications below.

To stay up-to-date, please do follow me on X (Twitter) or do feel free to get in touch.

About Matthew

Matthew Lesh is the Director of Public Policy and Communications at the Institute of Economic Affairs.

He writes research papers on a range of topics and is a regular commentator on television and radio, a columnist for London’s CityAM newspaper, and has contributed to The Times, The Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal, The Australian and The Spectator. He also hosts the IEA’s weekly podcast.

Before joining the IEA, Matthew was the Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute and a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs (Australia), where he authored of Democracy in a Divided Australia (2018). He has also worked for Australian politicians in digital communications and founded a mobile application development start-up.

Matthew graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts (Degree with Honours) and completed a Masters in Public Policy and Administration at the London School of Economics, where he received the Peter Self Prize for Best Overall Result.

Matthew is an Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs and a Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute and the Royal Society of Arts.


Graphic Content: How Red Tape is Fuelling the Cost of Living Crisis

Institute of Economic Affairs | February 2024

Since 2000, sectors with heavy state intervention have experienced large price rises while competitive markets have experienced price falls.

Digital Overload: How the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill’s sweeping new powers threaten Britain’s economy

Institute of Economic Affairs | September 2023

The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill risks undermining investment, innovation and the rule of law

Breaking the News: Should digital platforms be required to fund news publishers?

Institute of Economic Affairs | February 2023

Forcing digital platforms to pay publishers to host their content would prop up failing media business models and harm consumers.

Bangers and Cash: Cutting red tape to put Britain at the centre of the cultivated meat revolution

Institute of Economic Affairs | January 2023

The government should create a more favourable regulatory regime for food innovation.

Expanding the Web: The case against net neutralit

Institute of Economic Affairs | December 2022

Net neutrality regulatory reform represents a significant Brexit opportunity that could deliver meaningful benefits in a crucial part of our lives: the internet.

Cutting Through: How to address the cost of living crisis

Institute of Economic Affairs | July 2022

The cost-of-living crisis has been worsened by longer-term structural factors, beyond the immediate issues posed by loose monetary policy and supply-side constraints.

An Unsafe Bill: How the Online Safety Bill threatens free speech, innovation and privacy

Institute of Economic Affairs | June 2022

The Online Safety Bill raises significant issues for freedom of expression, privacy and innovation.

Transparency in the Subsidy Control Bill: Lowering the reporting threshold

Institute of Economic Affairs | March 2024

The Subsidy Control Bill could make it easier for public authorities to provide economically damaging subsidies – by moving away from the European Union’s state aid process and reducing transparency requirements.

In Harm’s Way: Why online safety regulation needs an Independent Reviewer

Institute of Economic Affairs | February 2022

If the Government is unwilling to fundamentally rewrite the Bill, there is a clear need for serious, independent scrutiny mechanisms to prevent regulatory and ministerial overreach.

Capitalism After Covid: Reviewing the role of business and government

Adam Smith Institute | January 2023

A monograph discussing on how the pandemic has shown many deficiencies of the state and businesses should focus on profit not so-called “stakeholders”.

‘Market Environmentalism’ in Green Market Revolution

Austrian Economics Center and the British Conservation Alliance | June 2022

A chapter on how markets are the secret weapon in fighting environmental challenges.

Worth a Shot: Accelerating COVID-19 vaccinations

Adam Smith Institute | January 2021

Accelerating the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is both deeply desirable and very possible.

Winning the Peace: How to safely unfreeze the economy and unleash British enterprise

Adam Smith Institute | May 2020

How to safely unfreeze the economy and unleash British enterprise.

Young hit hardest by lockdown, want tax cuts: A survey of the U.K. population

Adam Smith Institute | April 2020

A nationally representative poll of UK adults to investigate the financial impact of the lockdown, views on developing an economic recovery and lockdown exit plan, and tax policy after the lockdown.

Reopening Britain: The Economic Urgency

Adam Smith Institute | April 2020

Theree is an urgent need for the Government to plan an exit from the lockdown.

Safe to Scoot: How Legalising E-scooters Will Save Lives, Bust Congestion and Help the Environment

Adam Smith Institute | February 2020

The case for why and how the United Kingdom should legalise e-scooters.

The Neoliberal Manifesto: A freer and more prosperous Britain

Adam Smith Institute | September 2019

How to build a freer and more prosperous Britain.

Ready for Takeoff: Building Competition in the Aaviation Industry

Adam Smith Institute | June 2019

The case for building competition in the aviation sector.

Safeguarding Progress: The risks of internet regulation

Adam Smith Institute | June 2019

How to build a freer and more prosperous Britain.

Democracy in a Divided Australia (2018)

Connor Court Publishing | September 2018

In an era of global political upheaval, the first empirically grounded investigation of Australia’s political tribes, the capture of policymaking by a new elite. It proposes a liberal response to increased political divides.

Evidence Based Policy Research Project

Institute of Public Affairs | October 2018, Noevmber 2019 & November 2020

Australia’s governments, both state and federal, are failing to undertake best practice policy making. This failure is undermining the quality of public policy and is having a detrimental impact on faith in public institutions.

The Decline of Small Business: How red tape is undermining opportunity, prosperity, and community

Institute of Public Affairs | July 2018

Australian small businesses are being strangled by red tape.

Australia’s Entrepreneurship Crisis and Three Ways To Fix It

Institute of Public Affairs | March 2018

Red tape is holding back our entrepreneurs and threatening our economic prosperity.

3.55 Million Workers Will Benefit From Enterprise Tax Plan No.2

Institute of Public Affairs | June 2018

The extension of corporate tax reductions to firms with over $50 million turnover will benefit companies that employ 3.55 million Australians – boosting economic growth, increasing wages and securing jobs.

Free Speech on Campus Audit

Institute of Public Affairs | May 2016, December 2017 & December 2018

Australia’s universities are failing to protect free speech on campus.

Reigniting Australia’s Entrepreneurial Flame

Institute of Public Affairs | November 2017

Australia’s universities are failing to protect free speech on campus.