Non-profit

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Website:

cepr.net/

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

52-2204029

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $4,333,658
Expenses: $2,392,792
Assets: $4,083,547

Formation:

1999

Type:

Economic and foreign policy think tank

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) is a left-of-center economic policy think tank. It has historically supported left-of-center Democratic policies, such as the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and payroll tax increases. [1]

CEPR is a member of the labor union-backed Economic Policy Institute (EPI)’s Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a national umbrella group for 58 pro-organized labor research organizations that are supported by labor unions. It is also part of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA), a forum for academics and think tanks to discuss trends in labor relations. [2]

CEPR is known for its decades-long support of the Venezuelan socialist regime and its former president, Hugo Chavez. [3]

Founding and History

The Center for Economic and Policy Research was founded in 1999 by economists Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot. Described by the left-of-center Guardian as having “an avowedly progressive point of view,” CEPR is a noted opponent of American foreign policy and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). [4]

The think tank is closely allied with the left-of-center and labor-union aligned Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The two think tanks publish joint research reports, and CEPR came to the defense of EPI when the left-of-center New York Times noted that EPI, while supposedly working towards education reform, received funding from teachers’ unions. [5] CEPR co-founder Dean Baker wrote that EPI’s funding details were only “arguably relevant” and pivoted instead to focus on right-of-center education reformers’ financing. [6] Outside of EARN, CEPR itself has received union funding from both public sector and private unions. [7]

CEPR has received praise from numerous Democratic politicians, including far-left U.S. Representatives Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Mark Pocan (D-WI). Actor and left-wing activist Danny Glover and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman have also spoken in support of CEPR’s work. [8]

Present Activities and Policy Positions

CEPR regularly publishes blog posts and research on its website in support of left-of-center and left-progressive policies. Co-founder and senior economist Dean Baker writes a weekly column called “Beat the Press,” which frequently criticizes the New York Timesand the Washington Post’s reporting and opinion work. [9]

Its policy positions include support for the so-called Green New Deal, a left-wing economic and environmentalist proposal to reshape the American economy in alignment with socialist ideals. In a piece entitled “Public Investment and the Green New Deal — Do Everything,” CEPR author Max Sawicky suggests that the federal government invest in “everything” and intervene more in state and local government planning [10]

CEPR has also expressed support for far-left, government-controlled healthcare policies like U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)’s Medicare for All proposal;[11] federal minimum wage increases beginning at $15 an hour;[12] the weakening of intellectual property and patent law;[13] and the implementation of large financial transaction taxes on stock sales. [14]

Support for Socialism in Venezuela

CEPR, primarily through the published work of its co-founder Mark Weisbrot, is a noted supporter of the Venezuelan socialist regime. CEPR has written in favor of its former president, Hugo Chavez. In a CEPR press release published in the left-of-center Al Jazeera, Weisbrot writes that Chavez was one of the most “demonized… democratically elected president in history” and praises Chavez’s socialist economic policies. [15] In a report entitled “The Venezuelan Economy in the Chavez Years,” Weisbrot argued that there was “no obvious end in sight for Venezuela’s current economic expansion,” which has turned into a deep recession in recent years. [16]

CEPR continued its support for Venezuela even after the death of Chavez. The think tank accused the United States of the breaking international conventions with its economic sanctions on the country, blaming the United States for Venezuela’s economic crisis and the deaths that have resulted from it. [17]

Unions

CEPR opposes right-to-work protections that prohibit compulsory union fees, arguing that such laws are anti-worker. [18] The think tank also publishes a yearly ”Union Membership Byte,” which analyzes the demographic and population trends in union membership and criticizes “attempts to erode“ government worker unions. [19] CEPR receives a sizable amount of funding from several large public sector and private unions, and its own workers are unionized members of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 70, a member of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) union federation. [20]

Finances

The Center for Economic and Policy Research’s most recent publicly available filings from 2019 show total revenues of $4,333,658 and total expenses of $2,392,792. [21]

According to the “Our Funders” page of the organization’s website, 80% of CEPR’s funding comes from foundation grants. Several prominent, left-of-center unions are included on the list, including the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the AFL-CIO, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Other organizations that have funded CEPR include left-of-center foundations like the “dark money” Tides Foundation and the Ford Foundation. [22]

Leadership

The co-directors of the Center for Economic and Policy Research are economists Eileen Appelbaum and Mark Weisbrot. Appelbaum’s research centers on labor relations and private equity, and she was an early advocate of implemented mandatory paid family leave programs. [23] Appelbaum draws a yearly salary of $114,292 from her work with CEPR. [24]

Weisbrot, co-founder of CEPR, is a noted critic of American foreign policy and supporter of Latin American socialism. Weisbrot has been described as the “intellectual architect” behind the Bank of the South, a regional funding body that was spearheaded by Venezuelan socialist leader Hugo Chavez in an attempt to build socialist influence among other South American nations. [25] Considered by critics to be an “ardent cheerleader” for the Venezuelan socialist regime, Weisbrot frequently praises the country‘s socialist policies and blames its current economic crisis and its resultant deaths on U.S. economic sanctions and intervention. [26]

Weisbrot also defended former Brazilian presidents Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva against investigations into alleged corruption, arguing that their involvement in the Operation Car Wash money laundering and bribery scheme was not corrupt. [27] Weisbrot is also the president of Just Foreign Policy, a left-of-center advocacy group that seeks to end U.S. sanctions against the Venezuelan socialist dictatorship. [28] Weisbrot receives a yearly salary of $104,711 for his work with CEPR. [29]

Dean Baker is the co-founder of CEPR and currently works as its senior economist. In 1986, Baker unsuccessfully ran on a platform of cutting military spending as a Democrat in Michigan’s 2nd Congressional district. [30] Prior to founding CEPR, Baker was a co-director for the EPI. [31]

CEPR’s advisory board includes Nobel Prize-winning left-of-center economists Joseph E. Stiglitz and Robert Solow. [32]

References

  1. Hiltzik, Michael. “Obamacare at one year: a birthday assessment”. Los Angeles Times. July 15, 2021. https://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-obamacare-at-one-year-20141001-column.html#page=1 ; Baker, Dean. “The Tax Hike That Almost Nobody Noticed.” Fortune. Fortune, October 1, 2014. https://fortune.com/2014/09/30/the-tax-hike-almost-nobody-noticed/. ^
  2. “About Us.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, October 15, 2020. https://cepr.net/about-us/. ^
  3. “CEPR Paper Responds to Foreign Affairs on Venezuela.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, February 6, 2020. https://www.cepr.net/press-release/cepr-paper-responds-to-foreign-affairs-on-venezuela/. ^
  4. “Editorial: In Praise of … the Center for Economic and Policy Research.” the Guardian, May 25, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20190430131551/https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/nov/14/editorial-center-economic-policy-research. ^
  5. Schmitt, John, Heidi Shierholz, and Lawrence Mishel. “Assessing the Job Polarization Explanation of Growing Wage Inequality – EPI-CEPR Working Paper.” https://www.epi.org/publication/technology-inequality-dont-blame-the-robots/, November 19, 2013. https://www.epi.org/publication/technology-inequality-dont-blame-the-robots/. ^
  6. Baker, Dean. “Why Is It Relevant That EPI Gets Money from Teacher Unions, But It’s Not Relevant That Erskine Bowles Gets $350,000 a Year from Morgan Stanley?” Center for Economic and Policy Research, June 28, 2011. https://cepr.net/why-is-it-relevant-that-epi-gets-money-from-teacher-unions-but-its-not-relevant-that-erskine-bowles-gets-350000-a-year-from-morgan-stanley/. ^
  7. “Our Funders.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, February 6, 2020. https://cepr.net/funders/. ^
  8. “Praise for CEPR.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, April 5, 2021. https://cepr.net/about-us/praise-for-cepr/. ^
  9. Baker, Dean. “Beat the Press Archives.” Center for Economic and Policy Research. Accessed July 16, 2021. https://cepr.net/blog/dean-bakers-beat-the-press/. ^
  10. Sawicky, Max B. “How to Make Joe Biden’s Budget Better Part II: Public Investment and the Green New Deal – Do Everything!” Center for Economic and Policy Research, May 26, 2021. https://cepr.net/report/how-to-make-joe-bidens-budget-better-part-ii-public-investment-and-the-green-new-deal-do-everything/. ^
  11. Baker, Dean. “’Medicare for All’ Is Not a Fantasy.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, January 30, 2020. https://cepr.net/medicare-for-all-is-not-a-fantasy/. ^
  12. Baker, Dean. “Work Should Pay: A $15 an Hour Minimum Wage Is a Start.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, February 18, 2021. https://cepr.net/work-should-pay-a-15-an-hour-minimum-wage-is-a-start/. ^
  13. Baker, Dean. “Want to Reverse Inequality? Change Intellectual Property Rules.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, February 8, 2021. https://cepr.net/want-to-reverse-inequality-change-intellectual-property-rules/. ^
  14. Baker, Dean. “Financial Transactions Taxes: A Wall Street Levy That Won’t Affect Pension Funds.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, October 30, 2020. https://cepr.net/report/financial-transactions-taxes-a-wall-street-levy-that-wont-affect-pension-funds/. ^
  15. Weisbrot, Mark. “Chávez’s Legacy.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, March 5, 2013. https://www.cepr.net/chavezs-legacy/. ^
  16. Beeton, Dan. “New CEPR Paper Looks At Venezuela’s Economy During the Chávez Years.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, July 25, 2007. https://cepr.net/press-release/new-cepr-paper-looks-at-venezuelas-economy-during-the-chavez-years/. ^
  17. Weisbrot, Mark, and Jeffrey Sachs. “Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, April 25, 2019. https://cepr.net/report/economic-sanctions-as-collective-punishment-the-case-of-venezuela/. ^
  18. Baker, Dean, and Jared Bernstein. “Unions in the 21st Century: A Potent Weapon Against Inequality.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, January 30, 2020. https://cepr.net/unions-in-the-21st-century-a-potent-weapon-against-inequality/. ^
  19. Brown, Hayley. “Union Membership Byte 2021.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, January 26, 2021. https://cepr.net/union-2021/. ^
  20. “Our Funders.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, February 6, 2020. https://cepr.net/funders/. ^
  21. “Center For Economic And Policy Research .” ProPublica, May 9, 2013. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/522204029. ^
  22. “Our Funders.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, February 6, 2020. https://cepr.net/funders/. ^
  23. “Eileen Appelbaum.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, February 23, 2021. https://www.cepr.net/staff-member/eileen-appelbaum/. ^
  24. “Center For Economic And Policy Research .” ProPublica, May 9, 2013. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/522204029. ^
  25. Carle, Gregorio Cristobal. “El Banco Del Sur: Un Arma De La Revolución Chavista.” GEES. Accessed July 15, 2021. http://www.gees.org/articulos/el-banco-del-sur-un-arma-de-la-revolucion-chavista. ^
  26. Cárdenas, José. “In Venezuela, Socialism Is Killing Venezuelans.” National Review. National Review, May 18, 2016. https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/05/socialism-venezuela-hugo-chavez-nicolas-maduro-bernie-sanders-millennials/. ; Buncombe, Andrew. “US Sanctions on Venezuela ‘Responsible for Tens of Thousands of Deaths’.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, April 26, 2019. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/venezuela-sanctions-us-excess-death-toll-economy-oil-trump-maduro-juan-guaido-jeffrey-sachs-a8888516.html?amp. ^
  27. Weisbrot, Mark. “Brazil’s Democracy Pushed Into the Abyss.” The New York Times. The New York Times, January 23, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/opinion/brazil-lula-democracy-corruption.html. ^
  28. “Prevent War with Venezuela.” Just Foreign Policy, May 15, 2019. https://www.justforeignpolicy.org/prevent-war-with-venezuela/. ^
  29. “Center For Economic And Policy Research .” ProPublica, May 9, 2013. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/522204029. ^
  30. Kreitner, Richard. “October 11, 1986: Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev Meet in Reykjavik, Iceland, to Negotiate Disarmament.” The Nation, October 11, 2015. https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/october-11-1986-ronald-reagan-and-mikhail-gorbachev-meet-in-reykjavik-iceland-to-negotiate-disarmament/. ^
  31. Baker, Dean. “Dean Baker.” LinkedIn. Accessed July 16, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dean-baker-147601/. ; Baker, Dean. “Why Is It Relevant That EPI Gets Money from Teacher Unions, But It’s Not Relevant That Erskine Bowles Gets $350,000 a Year from Morgan Stanley?” Center for Economic and Policy Research, June 28, 2011. https://cepr.net/why-is-it-relevant-that-epi-gets-money-from-teacher-unions-but-its-not-relevant-that-erskine-bowles-gets-350000-a-year-from-morgan-stanley/. ^
  32. “Advisory Board.” Center for Economic and Policy Research. Accessed July 15, 2021. https://cepr.net/about-us/advisory-board/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 2000

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990 $4,333,658 $2,392,792 $4,083,547 $91,887 N $4,125,224 $119,172 $24,721 $258,354 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $2,732,976 $2,209,624 $1,602,215 $45,846 N $2,596,075 $136,044 $827 $408,191 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $1,205,226 $1,990,467 $1,072,160 $39,143 N $1,048,599 $155,842 $785 $289,384 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $2,073,053 $1,960,944 $1,861,513 $43,255 N $1,852,273 $218,377 $1,123 $218,882
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,295,515 $1,792,137 $1,768,948 $62,799 N $2,096,599 $198,059 $857 $213,241 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,279,111 $1,934,308 $1,257,778 $55,007 N $1,097,888 $180,256 $967 $212,444 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $2,591,614 $1,930,828 $1,899,353 $41,385 N $2,354,960 $235,624 $1,030 $204,414 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,204,443 $1,905,851 $1,271,107 $73,925 N $981,413 $220,883 $607 $199,438 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $2,282,622 $1,989,187 $1,939,209 $40,619 N $2,056,047 $225,593 $782 $204,933 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Center for Economic and Policy Research

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