Non-profit public policy research foundation in Washington, DC
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  • Cato Institute

    The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries. In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute. Cato was established to have a focus on public advocacy, media exposure and societal influence. According to the 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), Cato is number 15 in the "Top Think Tanks Worldwide" and number 10 in the "Top Think Tanks in the United States".

    Home Page

    Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace
    Sections include commentary, daily podcast, books, journals, studies, events, Cato University and research areas (education, energy, environment, finance, foreign policy, health care, immigration, civil liberties, social security, taxes, trade and more)

    Conferences and Conventions

    19 Aug 2004, Cato Policy Forum, in Washington, D.C.

    Awards Granted

    2002 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, 9 May 2002
    "Professor Bauer was chosen for his pioneering work in the field of development economics, where he stood virtually alone for many years as a critic of state-led development policy with its emphasis on central planning and external foreign aid."
    Related Topic: Peter Thomas Bauer
    2004 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, 1 Apr 2004
    "Beginning in his native Peru, de Soto has focused on a revolutionary concept that is having repercussions throughout the world's poor countries: the lack of formal property rights as the source of poverty in poor countries. His decades of pioneering work, for presidents and in the streets on behalf of property rights for the poor, have led to global acclaim."
    Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty
    Biennial award given by the Cato Institute, in honor of Milton Friedman, to an individual who has made a significant contribution to advance human freedom.
    Related Topic: Milton Friedman

    Staff and Associates

    Charles AdamsAdjunct scholar (1996-1998)
    Dominick T. ArmentanoAdjunct Scholar
    Doug BandowSenior Fellow
    Randy BarnettSenior Fellow
    David BoazExecutive Vice President
    Donald J. BoudreauxAdjunct Scholar
    Ted Galen CarpenterVice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies
    Ed CraneFounder and President, 1977-2012
    Richard EpsteinAdjunct Scholar
    Robert HiggsAdjunct Scholar
    Jeffrey Rogers HummelAdjunct Scholar
    Penn JilletteH.L. Mencken Research Fellow
    Daniel B. KleinAdjunct Scholar
    David KochMember, Board of Directors
    Dave KopelAssociate Policy Analyst
    Tibor MachanAdjunct Scholar
    Stephen MooreSenior Fellow
    P. J. O'RourkeH.L. Mencken Research Fellow
    Jim PowellSenior Fellow
    Earl RavenalSenior fellow
    Sheldon RichmanSenior editor, -1996
    Thomas SzaszAdjunct Scholar
    TellerH.L. Mencken Research Fellow
    Richard TimberlakeAdjunct Scholar
    Walter E. WilliamsAdjunct Scholar
    Leland B. YeagerAdjunct Scholar

    Web Sites | Exploring the theory and history of liberty
    Sections include: Explore (columns, essays, external resources and media), Guides (self-paced courses), Podcasts and Books
    "Many people believe that liberty is the core political value of modern civilization itself, the one that gives substance and form to all the other values of social life. They're called libertarians."
    Related Topic: Libertarianism

    Web Pages

    The Cato Institute - YouTube
    YouTube channel of the Cato Institute


    An End to Eminent Domain Abuse?, by George Leef, Future of Freedom, Apr 2005
    Published just two months before the unfortunate Kelo v. City of New London U.S. Supreme Court decision, expressed hope that the court would rectify the 1954 Berman v. Parker ruling
    "A devastating amicus curiae brief has been submitted by three Cato Institute legal scholars and University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein ... The Cato/Epstein brief hits the bull's eye in observing that eminent-domain cases like this one 'result in a systematic unfairness to the individuals who are forced to sacrifice their property to some fuzzy vision of the public good.'"
    Joan Kennedy Taylor, by Jeff Riggenbach, 14 Jan 2011
    Biographical essay, including a review of Taylor's book Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered; transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcasts of 28 Dec 2010 and 12 Jan 2011
    "Over the next year and a half, Joan also established ties with the Cato Institute, then in its second year of operation out of a suite of offices in San Francisco about half a block down the street from the ones that housed the Libertarian Review. These ties with Cato would last for the rest of her professional life. She began by accepting a position as a biweekly commentator on Byline, Cato's daily radio program, which ran Monday through Friday on more than 150 radio stations coast to coast throughout the 1980s."
    Leonard P. Liggio (1933–2014), by Sheldon Richman, 17 Oct 2014
    A tribute to Richman's "favorite teacher"
    "I believe I originally met Leonard in 1978, at the first Cato Institute summer seminar at Wake Forest University. (I was a newspaper reporter in those days.) However, I may have been introduced to him the year before in San Francisco. That was the year Cato was founded. Leonard was an original staff member and editor of its unfortunately short-lived journal, Literature of Liberty. I remember Leonard’s lectures at the Cato seminar very well."
    Libertarianism and the Great Divide, by Justin Raimondo, 16 Mar 2007
    Review of Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism
    "I'm surprised that, for all its comprehensiveness, Radicals for Capitalism, fails to tell the real story of Cato's founding: it was Rothbard who persuaded billionaire Charles Koch, in the winter of 1976, to set up a libertarian thinktank, along with a magazine (actually two magazines, Inquiry, an 'outreach' publication, and Libertarian Review, a previously-existing movement bulletin), along with a student group."
    On the Origins of the Modern Libertarian Legal Movement [PDF], by Roger Pilon, Chapman Law Review, 2013
    Historical survey of libertarian influences on constitutional and other areas of law, from the mid-1970s to recent decisions
    "... it is the institutions that have been so crucial for advancing the ideas of the individuals who have worked in and through them. ... when I left the Reagan administration ... in 1988 it was to establish Cato's Center for Constitutional Studies, the purpose of which was to help change the climate of ideas to one more conducive to liberty under limited constitutional government. For nearly twenty-five years now, through books, monographs, op-eds, conferences, forums, lectures, amicus briefs, media appearances, and, especially, the annual Cato Supreme Court Review, we have worked to bring that change about ..."
    Power Profile: Ed Crane, by Patty Reinert,, 30 Jan 2008
    Biographical profile of Ed Crane, including his views on the 2008 U.S. presidential candidates
    "... Crane ... launched Cato in San Francisco with the backing of the like-minded Charles Koch of Koch Industries ... In 1981, Crane moved Cato to Washington, where he thought, rightly, that it would be taken more seriously and would have more influence. Cato now has an annual budget of $24 million, 80 percent of which comes from individual donors. Cato takes no government money and gets very little from corporations."
    Related Topics: Ed Crane, Libertarian Party
    Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement, by David Gordon, The Mises Review, Dec 2007
    Review of Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism
    "Doherty begins his book with a paean to the plans of the Cato Institute to 'privatize' Social Security. ... Doherty treats the Cato plan as if it were completely noncontroversial among libertarians. Quite the contrary, some libertarians view with alarm schemes to "privatize" Social Security that require vast increases in government spending in the transition period to the new system. ... My point here is not to urge the superior merits of Attarian's analysis over Cato's, though I indeed think that Attarian is right."
    Ron Paul's Goldwater Moment, by Justin Raimondo, 11 May 2007
    Critiques Washington-centric "conventional wisdom" about Ron Paul's presidential candidacy
    "... the Catoites live and work in Washington, D.C., where partisan myths are sonorously uttered and routinely believed. ... aren't these the same folks who are now telling us that twenty-five years of libertarian activism and scholarship have led to the growth of government, and 'this isn't as bad as it seems'?) I don't mean to pick on the Cato Institute – well, actually, I do mean to, but didn't intend to give in to the temptation so readily. Yet my point is that if even these (former) stalwarts of libertarianism are sneering at Paul, then their disdain is but a pale reflection of an even harsher elite opinion ..."
    Selling Ideas, by Lew Rockwell, 21 Dec 2005
    Discusses the 2005 incident involving Bandow and Jack Abramoff and reviews previous incidents of left-vs.-right attacks (and vice versa) occurring in Washington, D.C.
    "... as for Cato's own claim that its 'scholarship is not for sale,' someone seems to have overlooked the reality that the entire campaign to privatize Social Security, for example, was bought and paid for with millions from Wall Street. ... Intellectuals are always in a position to sell their talents to special interests, and many of them do, especially in Washington ..."
    Related Topic: Doug Bandow
    The Liberty Manifesto, by P. J. O'Rourke, Jul 1993
    Remarks at May 6 dinner celebrating Cato Institute new headquarters
    "The Cato Institute has an unusual political cause — which is no political cause whatsoever. ... All we have is the belief that people should do what people want to do, unless it causes harm to other people. And that had better be clear and provable harm. No nonsense about second-hand smoke or hurtful, insensitive language, please. I don't know what's good for you. You don't know what's good for me. We don't know what's good for mankind. And it sometimes seems as though we're the only people who don't."


    Ayn Rand |, Mar 2003
    Part of Cato's "Three Women Who Launched a Movement", celebrating during Women's History Month the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of The Fountainhead (as well as Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel Paterson books published in the same year)
    "By the early 50s, Rand had surrounded herself with an inner circle of admirers who met for late-night philosophical discussions and sat in rapt attention as Rand read from her magnum opus in progress. The group was given the ironic name 'The Collective,' and included future Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, as well as Barbara and Nathaniel Branden, who would remain her intellectual allies and closest confidants for almost twenty years."
    Related Topic: Ayn Rand
    Boy Scouts of America and Monmouth Council, Boy Scouts of America, Petitioners, v. James Dale, Respondent [PDF], 28 Feb 2000
    Brief of Amici Curiae (friends of the court) authored by Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund, Cato Institute and five other organizations, in support of the petitioners
    "... the Constitution offers its most steadfast and unflinching protection to a broadly defined sphere of private association. Private expressive associations should include, at a minimum, all nonprofit, non-commercial entities that have some expressive purpose and limit membership in any manner related to that purpose. ... Once the constitutionally proper scope of private expressive association is recognized, it readily follows that the Boy Scouts and its local affiliates are fully protected by the First Amendment."
    Related Topic: Freedom of Association
    Isabel Paterson |, Mar 2003
    Part of Cato's "Three Women Who Launched a Movement", celebrating during Women's History Month the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of The God of the Machine (as well as Rose Wilder Lane and Ayn Rand books published in the same year)
    "By the time God of the Machine was published, Paterson was living in Connecticut, where she would remain until the early '50s, when she moved to Princeton, New Jersey. Her increasingly unfashionable political views led editors to push her out of her job at the Herald Tribune in 1949, but Paterson's investments enabled her to live well enough without resorting to the acceptance of Social Security benefits."
    Related Topics: Isabel Paterson, Ayn Rand
    Rose Wilder Lane |, Mar 2003
    Part of Cato's "Three Women Who Launched a Movement", celebrating during Women's History Month the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of The Discovery of Freedom (as well as Isabel Paterson and Ayn Rand books published in the same year)
    "Lane publicly disavowed her youthful socialism in a long 1936 article in the Saturday Evening Post titled 'Credo,' which was later reprinted as the pamphlet Give Me Liberty. ... During the early 40's, she wrote articles focusing on individualism, needlework, and sometimes both at once for Woman's Day and other magazines. She also began work on The Discovery of Freedom, which by her own account was written in a 'white heat.'"


    "In Regulation, many of the nation's top economists, law professors, and other policy experts offer easy-to-understand guidance and insights on microeconomics and regulatory policy affecting every American's life. For more than three decades, this quarterly journal has examined nearly every market, from agriculture to health and transportation, and nearly every government intervention, from interstate commerce to labor law and price controls."
    The Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought, by Cato Institute (Publisher from Vol. 1 No. 1 (January-March 1978) to Vol. 2 No. 4 (October-December 1979)), Institute for Humane Studies (Publisher from Vol. 3 No. 1 (Spring 1980) to Vol. 5 No. 4 (Winter 1982)), Leonard Liggio (Editor)
    Jan 1978-Winter 1982, quarterly

    Books Published

    A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State
        by David Kelley, Cato Institute, 1998
    Contents: The End of Welfare As We Know It? - What Is a Welfare Right? - The Emergence of Welfare Rights - Economic Freedom and Economic Risk - Welfare and Benevolence - Community and Contract - Conclusion
    Related Topic: Rights
    Generosity: Virtue in the Civil Society
        by Tibor Machan, Cato Institute, 1998
    Contents: Generosity, A Benevolent Virtue - Dimensions of Generosity: Private, Social, and Political - Institutional Generosity - Generosity via Government? - Blocked Exchanges
    It's Getting Better All the Time: 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years
        by Stephen Moore, Julian Simon, Cato Institute, 2000
    Partial contents: Health - Diets and Nutrition - Wealth - The State of Poor Americans - The State of Children and Teens - The American Worker - Leisure, Recreation, and Entertainment - Housing - Transportation, Innovation, and Scientific Progress
    Peace and Freedom: Foreign Policy for a Constitutional Republic
        by Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato Institute, 2002
    Partial contents: U.S. Security Strategy After 9-11 - Responding to Terrorism - Balkan Policy - NATO Policy - Relations with East Asian Allies - Relations with China - Relations with the Soviet Union and Russia - Middle East-Persian Gulf Policy
    Related Topic: Foreign Entanglements
    The Half-Life of Policy Rationales: How New Technology Affects Old Policy Issues
        by Fred E. Foldvary (Editor), Daniel B. Klein (Editor), Cato Institute, 2003
    Contents: Metering, Excluding, and Charging: Technology, marine conservation, and fisheries management - Quality Assurance and Consumer Protection: Technology and the case for free banking - Natural Monopoly? - Other Areas of Policy
    Related Topic: Technology
    Toward Liberty: The Idea That Is Changing the World
        by David Boaz (Editor), Cato Institute, Apr 2002
    Partial contents: Ideas and Consequences - Economic Growth - The Welfare State - The Regulatory State - A World in Transition - Foreign Affairs - Trade and International Finance - Law and Liberty - Democracy and Culture
    Related Topic: Liberty
    Underground Government: The Off-Budget Public Sector
        by James T. Bennett, Thomas DiLorenzo, Cato Institute, 1983
    Partial contents: Going Underground - The Political Economy of Off-Budget Enterprises - Off-Budget Activities of Local Governments
    Related Topic: Government
    Voucher Wars: Waging the Legal Battle over School Choice
        by Clint Bolick, Cato Institute, 2003
    Contents: Introduction - Laying the Groundwork - Polly - False Starts - And Then There Were Five - Valley Forge - One in the Bank - A Blizzard of Decisions - Battles Within and Without - The Road to the Supremes - D-Day - The Road Ahead - Lessons
    Related Topic: Educational Freedom
    What Do Economists Contribute?
        by Daniel B. Klein (Editor), Cato Institute, 1999
    Partial contents: On the Role of Values in the Work of Economists - Economists and Public Policy - On the Decline of Authority of Economists - 'Realism' in Policy Espousal - How To Do Well While Doing Good! - The Common Weal and Economic Stories
    Related Topic: Economists


    The Cato Institute at 40, by Trevor Burrus, Peter Goettler, Aaron Ross Powell, 10 Mar 2017
    Interview with Peter Goettler, President and CEO of the Cato Institute since March 2015
    "I think the greatest victory is the mainstreaming of libertarianism as a political philosophy, which is really a sea change from 1977. ... One of the difficult things for Cato is that the things we're fighting are so big, right? The entitlement state, and government spending and just the power of the federal government. With meaningful budget, but still a small ... We're a $30 million dollar, roughly organization, that's a pretty big fight and a pretty big mismatch. ... The fact that it really stands out in Washington as a very principled organization and one that truly is independent and nonpartisan. "

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cato Institute" as of 08 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.