Peterson Institute for International Economics

Peterson Institute for International Economics
Founder(s) C. Fred Bergsten
Established 1981
Focus International Economics
Chairman Peter G. Peterson
President Adam S. Posen
Staff 60
Budget Revenue: $10,995,322 (2013)[1]
Formerly called Institute for International Economics
Location Washington, D.C.
Coordinates 38°54′30″N 77°02′27″W / 38.9083°N 77.0409°W / 38.9083; -77.0409Coordinates: 38°54′30″N 77°02′27″W / 38.9083°N 77.0409°W / 38.9083; -77.0409
Address 1750 Massachusetts Ave. NW

The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE; Peterson Institute), until 2006 the Institute for International Economics (IIE), is a private and non-profit think tank focused on international economics, based in Washington, D.C. It was founded by C. Fred Bergsten in 1981, and is led by Adam S. Posen. According to the 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), Peterson is number 20 (of 150) in the "Top Think Tanks Worldwide" and number 13 (of 60) in the "Top Think Tanks in the United States".[2]


The Institute was founded by C. Fred Bergsten in 1981, in response to a proposal from the German Marshall Fund.[3] It moved to its current building on Massachusetts Avenue in 2001.

In 2006, a capital campaign led to the creation of a sizeable endowment. Previously known as the Institute of International Economics, it changed its name that same year in recognition of Peter G. Peterson's role in the capital campaign and for his longstanding support of the Institute since the early 1980s.

Adam S. Posen succeeded Bergsten as President on January 1, 2013.[4]

The Institute's annual budget is about $11–12 million and it is financially supported by foundations, private corporations, and individuals, as well as earnings from its publications and capital fund.[5]

Notable scholars

Notable resident scholars at the Peterson Institute include, as of July 2015:

Nonresident scholars include Anders Borg, David Blanchflower, José de Gregorio, Robert Z. Lawrence, Avinash Persaud, Edwin M. Truman, and Justin Wolfers. Kristin Forbes and Arvind Subramanian are on leave from the Institute.

Former scholars include Michael Mussa, Carmen Reinhart, Dani Rodrik, and John Williamson. The latter coined the term "Washington Consensus" while working at the Institute.[6]

Board of directors

The institute chairman is Peter G. Peterson, former chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, former United States Secretary of Commerce, and one of the founders of the Blackstone Group. Vice chairman is United Technologies Corporation Chairman, George David.

Other prominent members of the institute's board of directors include:

Areas of research


In the New York Times, Steven Rattner called the fancy new building of the Peterson Institute "the locker room of the Team Globalization and Free Trade cheering squad." We should not close our borders or retreat from the world, said Rattner, but free trade has winners and losers, and "we need to be more sensitive to the losers and try to help," for example by redistribution of income through the tax system, which, he said, we haven't been doing. Ross Perot was right, he said, that the North American Free Trade Agreement would transfer American jobs to Mexico, particularly in manufacturing. From 2009 to 2013, employment in the American auto manufacturing sector rose by 23%, from 560,000 to 690,000. But employment in the Mexican auto sector rose from 368,000 to 589,000, or 60%. Without open borders, many of those jobs would have been American. Wages in American auto manufacturing are down by 12.7%. American auto manufacturing compensation was $35.67 an hour; in Mexico, it was $6.36 an hour. Adam Posen, then the Peterson Institute's director, responded that “fetishization” of any industry was “immoral.”[7]

The Institute's Building

Peterson Institute for International Economics Building

In 2001 the Peterson Institute moved into a building it commissioned and built at 1750 Massachusetts Avenue ("Embassy Row"), NW, Washington, D.C. It is located across from the main Brookings Institution building, diagonally across from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and next to the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

The building was designed by James von Klemperer from the architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox. Its state-of-the-art conference center is named in honor of the Institute's founder, C. Fred Bergsten. The sculpture garden is named in honor of Institute benefactor Anthony M. Solomon. The building houses several pieces of art donated by Stephan Schmidheiny, a former director of the Institute, including a sculpture by Joan Miró and a painting by Elizabeth Murray. It also houses collections of Chinese and African art donated by William M. Keck, Ambassador John M. Yates, and Anthony M. Solomon.

The building was granted the Best Architecture for 2001 award by the Washington Business Journal and won a Best Design award from the American Institute of Architects in 2003.[8] Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and Under Secretary of State Stuart Eizenstat opined that the Peterson Institute building "is to international economics what the House that Ruth Built Yankee Stadium was to baseball".[8]


  1. Organizational ProfileNational Center for Charitable Statistics (Urban Institute)
  2. James G. McGann (Director) (February 4, 2015). "2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report". Retrieved February 14, 2015. Other "Top Think Tank" rankings include #4 (of 80) in Domestic Economic Policy, #20 (of 30) in Domestic Health Policy, #14 (of 25) in Global Health Policy, #32 (of 80) in International Development, #1 (of 50) in International Economic Policy, #38 (of 45) in Science and Technology, #6 (of 75) for Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks, #12 (of 65) for Best Managed Think Tanks, #2 (of 40) for Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by a Think Tank, #4 (of 47) for Best Policy Study/Report Produced by a Think Tank (2013–2014), #16 (of 60) of Think Tanks with the Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program, #13 (of 40) for Best Use of Media, #7 (of 30) for Most Innovative Policy Ideas/Proposals, and #9 (of 70) for the Most Significant Impact on Public Policy.
  3. "Institute for International Economics Renamed in Honor of Founding Chairman Peter G. Peterson". PR Web. October 24, 2006.
  4. "Adam S. Posen to become new President". Peterson Institute. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  5. "PIIE donor list". Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  6. Williamson, John. "A Short History of the Washington Consensus" (PDF). Peterson Institute for International Economics. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  7. What’s Our Duty to the People Globalization Leaves Behind? Steven Rattner, The New York Times, JAN. 26, 2016
  8. 1 2 Bergsten, C. Fred. "The Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics at Twenty-five" (PDF). The Peter G. Peterson Institute. p. 18. Retrieved 19 March 2012.

External links

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