American Institute for Economic Research
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AIER's Historic Cotswold Cottage
The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, is an independent 501(c)(3) economic research institute that represents no fund, concentration of wealth, or other special interests. AIER publishes unbiased research and critical analysis based on the principles of scientific inquiry and positive economics.
The mission of AIER is to conduct independent, scientific, economic research to educate individuals, thereby advancing their personal interests and those of their nation. Neither the Institute itself nor members of its staff may derive profit from organizations or businesses that happen to benefit from the results of Institute research.
On the advice of Dr. Vannevar Bush, then vice-president and dean of engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Col. Edward C. Harwood founded AIER to conduct research into the wide range of economic, social, and monetary developments that had contributed to the catastrophic economic contraction of the Great Depression. Harwood, a graduate of the United States Military Academy, was serving in the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1920s when he undertook an intensive study of economics, with particular emphasis on money-credit problems. Bush's support for Harwood was based on articles that Harwood has published in financial journals in 1928 and 1929 that accurately predicted the impending depression. AIER was housed initially in an office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts. At the end of World War II, Harwood relocated to a "white elephant" manor house in Great Barrington. In 1956-57, a print shop annex and warehouse were built, and in 1962 a research library was added to the hillside below the annex. The print shop closed in 2008, as AIER transitioned from print to digital dissemination of its research.