Who we are
The R Street Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, 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 Florida, Texas, Ohio, Colorado and California, covering the Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, Central and Western 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 A. 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.
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; 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 ongoing efforts to hold Gulf Coast states accountable for spending RESTORE Act funds wisely and transparently; a public-education campaign on tobacco harm reduction and encouraging cities, states and the Food and Drug Administration to avoid crushing alternatives to tobacco cigarettes; crafting market-based alternatives to Internet sales tax legislation, anti-poverty programs and EPA greenhouse-gas emissions caps; 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: