The American Institute for Economic Research educates people on the value of personal freedom, free enterprise, property rights, limited government, and sound money. AIER’s ongoing scientific research demonstrates the importance of these principles in advancing peace, prosperity, and human progress.
AIER is a nonpartisan research and education nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization focused on the importance of markets, with a full range of programs and publications on the social sciences with a primary emphasis on economics. AIER as an institution affirms free enterprise, economic liberty, property rights, sound money, and legal institutions that shore up the rights of individuals to be free to the extent that their actions do not impinge on the rights of others.
AIER envisions a society in which people are generally free to order their lives, liberties, and property as they see fit, consistent with the equal rights of others. Government is thus limited to protecting individuals and their property from coercion – the threat or use of physical violence – and providing a small number of true public goods. Free markets and sound money allow for the efficient allocation of scarce resources and are essential to our prosperity. A limited government playing its proper role supports markets by protecting against force or fraud. We see society functioning best when individuals and voluntary organizations take appropriate responsibility for themselves and promote a moral ecology that buttresses a free, constitutional order. In such a free society, people and the communities in which they live will best flourish.
In pursuit of this vision, AIER aims to be the premier articulator of classical liberalism. We do this by combining nonpartisan scholarly research with accessible communications and educational programming. These efforts will engender a better, broader understanding of the fundamental principles of classical liberalism and free markets that enable peace, prosperity, and human flourishing.
While we make our work accessible to all, we specifically engage with those interested in the conversation about freedom, the proper role of government, and the use of economic thinking and data to support their own lives and the future of our country. A key component of personal responsibility is having sound individual and family finances. Therefore, we also aim to provide information that has practical value to the average citizen in regard to personal financial independence and public economic questions that impact each of us. We pay particular attention to right-of-center and center-left audiences that can benefit from a serious discussion of freedom, free markets, and human flourishing as well as those on the so-called “New Right” whose historical commitments to these ideals have wavered. While we have a global reach and influence, AIER is primarily focused on the United States and American society.
In order for our worldview to succeed, we believe that there must be a healthy ecosystem of freedom-oriented institutions and engaged individuals. Therefore, we also aim to utilize our resources, especially our campus in Great Barrington, to cultivate ideas and organic partnerships that advance our mission and vision. This includes maintaining a best-in-class visitor’s center for scholars and others working in the classical liberal tradition, the Bastiat Society that brings together businesspeople and other members of the public interested in the conversation of freedom and free markets, and joint programs with aligned institutions.
What We Do
AIER conducts scholarly research and then leverages this work to reach the broader public through accessible educational programming and outreach, including media engagement and speaking in public fora. We think of it as our Research, Train, and Communicate approach.
We have a great team of scholars here at AIER that publishes top-notch research and actively engages in public discourse in our areas of expertise and focus. In the pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, on CBS News and Fox News, and on Capitol Hill and campuses around the country, AIER scholars are giving voice to the freedom perspective. Our researchers similarly shape the scholarly debate at the highest levels of academia, with groundbreaking research in top venues including the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Macroeconomics, the Economic Journal, and the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking.
AIER publishes a wide array of original content through the Daily Economy section of our website, a working papers series at the Social Science Research Network, and a publishing department that produces original scholarly monographs in the classical liberal and fusionist traditions and annotated reprints of classic works in economic, political, and social theory.
AIER also hosts robust visiting fellow and internship programs here at our beautiful 120+ acre campus in the Berkshires. And our programs team conducts a variety of conferences and colloquia around the country as well as overseeing our Bastiat Society, with dozens of chapters in the U.S. and around the globe.
While we aim to clearly articulate a broad classical liberal vision of society, we currently have three Priority Focus Areas for our work:
Monetary policy influences inflation, employment, and economic activity. A stable but dynamic monetary system is vital for supporting economic growth, individual liberty, and a prosperous society. Therefore, we examine the causes and consequences of monetary policy (including inflation), identify ideal and practical steps towards a better monetary policy regime, and look at monetary alternatives and financial regulation. We host the Sound Money Project.
Economics and Economic Freedom
A free and prosperous society requires a functioning market economy at its foundation. Using a broad array of tools drawn from price theory, public choice analysis, Austrian theory, and classical empiricism, our study of economics and economic freedom explores the underpinnings of the market system, the roots of economic prosperity, and emerging threats to the same in the public policy sphere. Our work includes the measurement of freedom and providing practical economic information for people to make better decisions.
Defending Freedom, Combatting Collectivism
Against collectivist impulses, the defense of freedom, personal responsibility, and the moral, political, legal, and economic foundations of a free society is ever necessary. Protecting the American experiment in ordered liberty is a debt that we owe to the past, and a challenge to pursue in the future. We examine the following issues in this area: the case for free trade vs. protectionism, individualism vs. the new collectivists (DEI/Critical Theory/Marxism/Social Democracy/Economic Nationalism/etc.), shareholder capitalism vs. ESG and stakeholder capitalism, foreign policy for a free society, and the foundations and first principles of freedom and free markets.
Securing freedom and free markets here in America is only possible through the partnership of our dedicated supporters. If we do not treasure and disseminate these foundational principles of human flourishing, we risk losing them, perhaps forever.
By supporting AIER, you not only help advance research concerning the principles of individual liberty and free markets, you also help communicate those principles to an audience both influential and broad. The ideas cherished by America’s Founders that have animated AIER’s work since 1933 hold the key to a brighter future for our country and the world. Through your support, AIER can help bring that future closer to reality.