CEPR Celebrates 20 Years

August 21, 2019

20th Anniversary Logo

CEPR celebrates 20 years of being “a professional thorn in the side of orthodoxy” this year!

Mark Weisbrot and Dean Baker founded the Center for Economic and Policy Research in 1999 with a total budget of less than $120,000. From its humble beginnings, CEPR has grown in both size and stature. The reason? CEPR’s independent research successfully challenges conventional wisdom and identifies economic trends long before the economics profession has noted them.

CEPR has been ahead of the curve in tackling a range of issues:

?     Starting in 1999, CEPR economists were in the frontline fighting to oppose privatizing Social Security.

?     CEPR’s Dean Baker has been widely recognized as the first economist to correctly analyze both the stock market and housing bubbles that caused, respectively, the last two recessions.

?     CEPR has played an indispensable role in promoting accountability in foreign economic policy, including the most important institutions of global governance (the IMF and WTO).

?     CEPR has led efforts to make the Federal Reserve abide by its mandated pro-worker policies.

?     CEPR has played a leading role in the public debate on the role of intellectual property, macroeconomic policy, digital global trade, and international commercial agreements on inequality and economic mobility.

This is just some of what we’ve accomplished over the past 20 years:

?     We tracked reconstruction aid to Haiti, which led to the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act.

?     We got the public editor of The New York Times to come out in favor of changing the way the paper reports on budget numbers.

?     We were the first economic think tank to call attention to the long-term growth failure of the neoliberal era in the majority of low- and middle-income countries.

?     We revealed how devious tactics used by private equity firms harm workers and bankrupt companies.

?     We showed that IMF policies led to Argentina’s severe recession and subsequent default, and then correctly predicted that the Argentine government’s policies would be successful after it broke with the IMF.

?     We helped to promote work sharing as a viable alternative to layoffs.

?     We showed that high European unemployment in the 1990s was not due to labor unions and other worker protections.

?     We showed that raising the minimum wage does not cause massive unemployment.

?     We co-authored a report that sparked US government investigations and debate on US drug policy in Honduras and beyond

?     We showed that work-family policies have little to no impact on business operations, while benefiting workers and families.

?     We helped stalemate the expansion of harmful policies at the WTO.

?     We were part of a coalition that forced the IMF and World Bank to end user fees for basic health care and education.

?     We showed the economy could get below 6.0 percent unemployment without spiraling inflation.

?     We helped members of Congress craft legislation to reform private equity.

?     We encouraged democratic debate with free access to user-friendly data sets at ceprDATA.org.

?     We provided pioneering analysis on developing trends in the changing relationship between workers and their work.

?      We led efforts to ensure workers have universal policies that support work-life balance and fair pay.

For multiple years running, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) rankings showed, combined with think tank budget data, that CEPR was the most cost-effective think tank in the nation as measured by both media citations and web traffic, per dollar.

For more about CEPR’s origins and accomplishments, check out this video discussion Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot had with Jane Hamsher for our 10th anniversary.

But don’t just take our word for it … here’s what some others have to say about CEPR:

The Center for Economic and Policy Research is such an important institution. Over the past decade, your work has been critical and crucial to educating the public and policy makers about the most important issues of our time. Where information and research were desperately needed in our public debate, you filled that gap and you’ve built something very lasting and very powerful.

? Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

Set up in 1999 with a total budget smaller than some other think tanks’ entertainment funds, CEPR has been a professional thorn in the side of orthodoxy.

? The Guardian (UK)

The Center for Economic and Policy Research presents a useful challenge to consensus thinking. Mark Weisbrot enriches public policy debates with provocative ideas that are clearly stated. Best wishes for another 10 years.

? Warren Olney, Host, Executive Producer of radio talk show “To the Point”

When I want to understand future economic trends, one of my primary sources is Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the economist most associated with calling the housing bubble years before everyone else.

? Journalist David Dayen

The Center for Economic Policy Research is a vital and rare resource. The work that CEPR does is an essential and necessary component of the overall strategy to get America on the track of creating sustainable economic fairness.

? Journalist Mario Solis-Marich

From France, I read your dispatches with the greatest interest and trust your views on the US&A, Inc. and the world … You, CEPR, your work, your stamina is a blessing to us all.

? Susan George, political scientist and author

Mark Weisbrot is among that very small group of economists whose theorizing about the world actually matches the truth of the world.

? Greg Grandin, Professor of History, Yale University

CEPR is one of the most valuable resources we have to explain how economics works and how policies effect the lives of us all. Dean Baker is a genius, and CEPR is essential if we’re to grow our democracy in America!

? Thom Hartmann, American radio host, former psychotherapist and entrepreneur, and political commentator.


For years the Center for Economic and Policy Research has been at the forefront of anticipating and understanding the dominant economic trends in the US and world economy, and translating these trends into their political and social implications for working people. I have found CEPR’s work utterly invaluable, and have used it in my research and my teaching. The writing is crystal clear and never sacrifices subtlety for clarity. Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot are public intellectuals of the highest order. CEPR deserves our strong support.

? Robert W. McChesney, author of several books on media and politics, professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and cofounder of “Free Press”.

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