Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

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Manhattan Institute
for Policy Research
Logo Manhattan Institute.png
Motto Turning Intellect into Influence
Formation 1978
Type Public policy think tank
Headquarters 52 Vanderbilt Avenue
Lawrence J. Mone

The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (renamed in 1981 from the International Center for Economic Policy Studies) is a conservative American think tank established in New York City in 1978 by Antony Fisher and William J. Casey. The organization describes its mission as to "develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility". Its message is communicated through books, articles, interviews, speeches, op-eds, and through the institute's quarterly publication City Journal.


The Institute is arranged into the following divisions:[1]

  • Center for the American University
  • Center for State and Local Leadership
  • Center for Legal Policy
  • Center for Medical Progress
  • Center for Energy Policy and the Environment
  • e21 (the institute refers to e21 as its "economics portal")[2]

Center for the American University[edit]

The Center for the American University (CAU) was created to bring attention to the issues placed upon the universities in America, such as the increase in costs or a lack of substantial education for the attending students. Different initiatives have been set forth in order to assist with the restoration of traditional liberal education throughout the American university campuses.[3]

Minding the Campus[edit]

Minding the Campus is the CAU's web magazine, that promotes a free exchange of views, through its daily commentaries, original essays, and blog. John Leo, former U.S. News & World Report columnist is the magazine's editor.[4]

Adam Smith Society[edit]

A nationwide group of business school students with the intention of researching the connections between the economy, government and society. Their belief is that business, entrepreneurship and commerce are the foundations in what contributes to the agility, creativity, prosperity and freedom of the country. By holding discussions and debates, the society is trying to put forth this idea on campus and among business leaders.[5]

Veritas Fund for Higher Education Reform at Donors Trust[edit]

Created in 2007, the VERITAS Fund at DonorsTrust is a donor-advised fund that searches renowned universities for professors that are committed to bringing intellectual pluralism to their institutions. With the cooperation of these professors, the fund aims to create centers of academic excellence within the universities, in order to provide students with a broader perspective than what is already available to them, especially in the main issue areas, western civilization, the American founding, and political economy. The fund was created in order to provide more information in the areas that have been neglected on the campus, and to assist the existing educational areas and make them better.[6]

Center for State and Local Leadership[edit]

The Center for State and Local Leadership focuses on the areas of public financing, public education, and the delivery of public services with the intention to improve and to create new approaches in them through the hosting of events, publishing of books and launching initiatives:[7]

  • Public Sector Reform: with unaffordable promises made by the government to the public employees, and due to the lack of funds, drastic measures have been taken into consideration. The center looks at the questions that this crisis has put into view, and is working together to find positive responses to help the American taxpayer.
  • Policing: in order to make city streets safer, and to cut back on crime, the Manhattan Institute fellows have put into place a series of reforms, such as the social order policing combined with management programs such as CompStat, which are being implemented in various police departments in America.
  • Prisoner Re-Entry: through a pilot project with the city of Newark, New Jersey, the center was able to help create and put into place strategies for a model prisoner-reentry program.
  • Education Reform: due to decreasing educational achievement of America's children, even with the increase in public spending, smaller class sizes, and continual improvements to the schools infrastructures. The center looks at the many education policy issues, teacher quality, curricular standards, school accountability and also school choice.
  • Public Housing: the center looks into the public housing policies in order to reinvent them so that they improve the economic, social and emotional well-being of the citizens in their cities.
  • Infrastructure: in order to stay competitive, implement economic growth and maintain the quality of life, improvements and expansions of the infrastructure are critical for the United States. The center is working to achieve this by continual creation of new proposals to attain America's infrastructure goals.
  • Immigration: the center follows the assimilation of immigrants in American cities in order to find ways to ensure the best opportunities for all Americans. Through better understand of economic, civil and cultural progress of immigrants, the United States is able to define how other government polices impact their social fabric.
  • Public Services: with the decrease in city and state budgets, the center searches for ways to help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of governments. Each year the center holds an award competition, the Urban Innovator, which honors a policymaker that developed a way to bring value to taxpayers.

Policy positions[edit]

Law enforcement[edit]

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani with New York City's former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, former Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen and former Director of the Office of Emergency Management Richard Sheirer at a press briefing in 2002.

The Manhattan Institute is perhaps best known for its influence on law enforcement methods. In particular, the Institute is widely credited with pioneering community policing methods and more specifically quality-of-life policing, also known as "broken windows theory" after the landmark 1982 Atlantic Monthly article "Broken Windows" by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling. Broken Windows posits that dealing more effectively and comprehensively with low-level quality of life crime would reduce more high-profile violent crime. Broken Windows policing was put to its first major large-scale test in the mid-1990s after the election of Rudolph Giuliani as mayor of New York City. Giuliani was an outspoken advocate of community policing, frequently citing the influence "Broken Windows" had on his thinking as mayor.[citation needed] Giuliani appointed Kelling’s intellectual collaborator William J. Bratton as New York City Police Commissioner in 1994, saying, "I chose Bill Bratton because he agreed with the Broken Windows theory."[8]

A follow-up book by Kelling and Catherine Coles published by the Manhattan Institute in 1996 led to further interest in community policing methods, leading some municipalities to adopt quality-of-life and community policing as official policy. Giuliani-era New York City Police Commissioner Bratton took these methods to Los Angeles on being appointed Los Angeles Police Department chief of police.[9][10] Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker has been lauded for his Broken Windows-based approach to crime since taking office in 2006.[11][12]

Senior fellow Heather Mac Donald argues that crime prevention statistics from the 2008–2009 recession improved as a result of efficient policing, high incarceration rates, more police officers working, data-driven approaches such as CompStat which helps commanders target high-crime areas, and a policy of holding precinct commanders accountable for results.[13] She contends the decline of American cities, beginning during the 1960s, was a result of crime "spiraling out of control".[14]

Welfare reform[edit]

The Manhattan Institute was one of the key institutions that pressed for reform of the welfare system in the mid-1990s.[15] Charles Murray's Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950–1980 (1984) argued that the welfare state had fostered a culture and cycle of dependency that was to the detriment of both welfare recipients and the United States as a whole.[16]

School choice[edit]

Former senior fellow Jay P. Greene’s empirical research on the efficacy of school choice helped to convince the Supreme Court of the United States to affirm the constitutionality of school vouchers in its landmark Zelman v. Simmons-Harris decision.[citation needed] His research was cited four times, including three times by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who court-watchers had identified as the “swing vote” on the case.[citation needed]


The Institute's Center for Medical Progress opposes allowing the federal government to negotiate prices in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program [17] and believes that drug price negotiating has adverse effects in the Veterans Administration.[18]

Hydraulic fracturing[edit]

The Manhattan Institute is a proponent of the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) method of extracting natural gas and oil from underground deposits. Opponents have been critical of the method owing to concerns that the chemicals involved in it lead to water contamination. In response to calls to ban fracking in parts of New York, the Manhattan Institute released a report in 2011 projecting that allowing fracking could "inject over $11 billion into the state economy".[19]


President Bush addresses a meeting of the Manhattan Institute at Federal Hallon November 13, 2008

The institute holds several annual events including

  • The Wriston Lecture series
  • William E. Simon Lectures on Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship
  • The Hayek Prize and Lectures
  • The Alexander Hamilton Award

People currently affiliated with the Manhattan Institute[edit]

Funding sources[edit]

The Manhattan Institute does not disclose its corporate funding, but the Capital Research Center listed its contributors as Bristol-Myers Squibb, ExxonMobil, Chase Manhattan, Cigna, Sprint Nextel, Reliant Energy, Lincoln Financial Group Foundation, and Merrill Lynch. Throughout the 1990s the tobacco industry was a major funding source for the institute. [20]

Foundations which have contributed over $1 million to the Manhattan Institute include John M. Olin Foundation, Bradley Foundation, Sarah Scaife Foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, Smith Richardson Foundation, William E. Simon Foundation, the Koch-controlled Claude Lambe Foundation, the Gilder Foundation, Curry Foundation, and the Jaquelin Hume Foundation. [21]



  1. ^ "Manhattan Center for Policy Research". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "About Us". e21 - Economic Policies for the 21st Century. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Center for the American Universities". Manhattan Institute. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Minding the Campus". Manhattan Institute. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Adam Smith Society at the Manhattan Institute". Manhattan Institute. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "The VERITAS Fund for Higher Education Reform at DonorsTrust". Manhattan Institute. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Center for State and Local Leadership". Manhattan Institute. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  8. ^ ",9171,983960-2,00.html
  9. ^ Blankstein, Andrew; Therolf, Garrett (2006-12-27). "L.A. crime decreases for 5th year – Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  10. ^ "Los Angeles Police Chief Faces a Huge Challenge". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  11. ^ Jacobs, Andrew (2007-05-27). "Newark Battles Murder and Its Accomplice, Silence". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  12. ^ Steven Malanga (2007-04-26). "Cory Booker’s Battle for Newark by Steven Malanga, City Journal Spring 2007". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  13. ^ A transcript of the weekend's program on FOX News channel – Paul Gigot, Heather Mac Donald (February 8, 2010). "Hey, Big Spender". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-11-04. Mac Donald: It is extraordinary. And I credit the spread, ultimately, of efficient policing and incarceration. But this is exactly the opposite of what criminologists were hoping for—really gleefully hoping for—that the crime drop began in the '90s nationally would finally reverse itself ... 
  14. ^ Heather Mac Donald (July 15, 2008). "Cities You Can Believe In". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-04. Many American cities began their decades-long decline in the 1960s, when crime started spiraling out of control. 
  15. ^ Institute articles on welfare
  16. ^ "Losing Ground by Charles Murray", Conservative Monitor
  17. ^ One-Size-Fits-All Rules Will Hurt Drug Quality, Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2007
  18. ^ [1] Older Drugs, Shorter Lives?: An Examination of the Health Effects of the Veterans Health Administration Formulary
  19. ^ Hargreaves, Steve (1 July 2011). "New York set to lift fracking ban". CNN Money (New York). Retrieved 5 July 2011. A report last week from the conservative Manhattan Institute said allowing drilling in New York could inject over $11 billion into the state economy in the years ahead. 
  20. ^ "Manhattan Institute for Policy Research". SourceWatch. 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2011-11-03. [unreliable source?]
  21. ^ "Top Supporters of Manhattan Institute for Policy Research". Conservative Transparency. American Bridge 21st Century Foundatio. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°45′15″N 73°58′39″W / 40.754275°N 73.97747°W / 40.754275; -73.97747