About R Street

Who we are

The R Street Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public policy research organization (“think tank”). Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets and limited, effective government.

In addition to our D.C. headquarters, we have offices in Georgia, Texas, Ohio, California and Massachusetts, covering the Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, Western and Northeast regions, respectively.  

We work extensively on both state and national policy, focusing on issues that other groups tend to neglect. Our specialty is in tackling issues that are complex, but don’t necessarily grab major headlines. These are the areas where we think we can have a real impact. 

We believe free markets work better than the alternatives. At the same time, we recognize the legislative process calls out for practical responses to current problems. Toward that end, our motto is “Free markets. Real solutions.”

We also differ from other groups on the political right in our dedication to building broad coalitions, working with a wide array of groups who share specific policy goals. This makes us uniquely capable of building support for pragmatic free-market proposals that can earn bipartisan consensus.

The R Street Institute’s original headquarters was located steps from the actual R Street in Washington, D.C.

How to label us

R Street is a free-market think tank with a pragmatic approach to public policy challenges. We draw inspiration from such thinkers as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Ronald H. Coase, James M. Buchanan and Arthur C. Pigou. We favor consumer choice; low, flat taxes; regulation that is transparent and applied equitably; and systems that rely on price signals rather than central planning. Thus, it’s fair to say that we’re on the political right.

At the same time, we recognize that public goods, natural monopolies and externalities are real concerns that governments must sometimes address. We also understand that life in a democratic society often means reaching a compromise that doesn’t necessarily represent a first, best solution.

We see our role as offering research and analysis that advance the goals of a more market-oriented society and more effective, efficient governments, with the full realization that progress on the ground tends to be made one inch at a time. In other words, we look for free-market victories on the margin.

Our work

R Street’s major accomplishments to date include spearheading the SmarterSafer.org coalition, whose proposals were incorporated into the 2012 Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform bill signed by President Obama; launching the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group, which seeks to assess Congress’ capacity to perform its constitutional duties and to collaborate on bipartisan ideas to improve the legislative branch’s performance in our separation of powers system; promoting the use of the Congressional Review Act which, after years of dormancy, began to be used aggressively during 2017; building a conservative movement-wide coalition to oppose misguided Internet sales tax legislation; developing a proposal to forbid subsidized development in environmentally sensitive coastal areas that was incorporated into Florida law; leading the charge to make crop insurance subsidies more accountable, a proposal that was included in the 2014 farm bill; and publishing research that led to the proliferation of dozens of state-level laws that offer commonsense minimum standards for liability insurance in the ridesharing market.

Some ongoing R Street projects include bringing free-market principles to state alcohol rules; participating in broad conversations on regulatory, budget and tax reform; promoting the potential for competitive wholesale electricity markets as a mechanism to phase out subsidies, better serve energy consumers and more accurately reflect all of the costs and benefits of generation; a public-education campaign on how harm-reduction strategies can be incorporated into messaging on such press public health topics as smoking, sexually transmitted diseases and drug addiction; a criminal justice project that has examined reforms to the juvenile justice system, pretrial detention policies and better ways to reintegrate ex-offenders into society; a project to promote a balanced approach to intellectual property; and coalitions to promote more open and transparent congressional data and to ensure law enforcement and intelligence agencies do not trample digital privacy. R Street also is an active member of a number of other standing coalitions (see the list here).

How R Street is funded

For information about R Street’s funding and expenditures, please click here.

How R Street is governed

For information about R Street’s board and executive leadership, please click here.

Would you like to support R Street’s work?

The R Street Institute is a Section 501(c)3 nonprofit, and your gift may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income-tax purposes. Please use the button below to contribute: