Peterson Institute for International Economics

  • Globalist think-tank dedicated to affecting policy on issues related to international economics, including global warming, the global financial crisis, sovereign wealth funds, and job outsourcing
  • Has played key role in affecting many decisions in U.S. and around the world regarding globalization
  • In 2006, renamed after Blackstone Group co-founder Peter G. Peterson, a former director of the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Utilizes approximately half its annual budget for administrative costs
  • Board of Directors includes prominent figures in international banking and econmics, including many Bilderberg attendees, such as Maurice Greenberg, Paul O’Neill, David Rockefeller, Alan Greenspan, Paul Volcker, and George P. Shultz, among others

The Institute for International Economics is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution devoted to the study of international economic policy.  The Institute’s annual budget is about $10 million. Support is provided by a wide range of charitable foundations, private corporations, and individuals and from earnings on the Institute’s publications and capital fund.  The Institute has been directed by C. Fred Bergsten throughout its existence.

The Institute’s website states that it “attempts to anticipate emerging issues and to be ready with practical ideas, presented in user-friendly formats, to inform and shape public debate. Its audience includes government officials and legislators, business and labor leaders, management and staff at international organizations, university-based scholars and their students, other research institutions and nongovernmental organizations, the media, and the public at large. It addresses these groups both in the United States and around the world.”1

The Institute has a staff of about 50 that includes more than two dozen senior fellows. Its agenda emphasizes global macroeconomic topics, international money and finance, trade and related social issues, energy and the environment, investment, and domestic adjustment policies. Current priority is attached to the global financial and economic crisis, globalization (including its financial aspects) and the backlash against it, international trade imbalances and currency relationships, the creation of an international regime to address global warming and especially its trade dimension, the competitiveness of the United States and other major countries, reform of the international economic and financial architecture, sovereign wealth funds, and trade negotiations at the multilateral, regional, and bilateral levels. Institute staff and research cover all key regions—especially Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as the United States itself and with special reference to China, India, and Russia.2

The group brags that their studies “have helped provide the intellectual foundation for many of the major international financial initiatives of the past two decades”.  The issues listed as having been affected by the Institute’s efforts include:

  • reforms of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), including those initiated by the G-20 in 2009
  • adoption of international banking standards
  • broader financial regulatory reforms
  • exchange rate systems in the G-7 and emerging-market economies
  • policies toward the dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, and other important currencies
  • responses to debt and currency crises (including the current crisis of 2008–09).
  • important contributions to key trade policy decisions including the Doha Round, the restoration and then the extension of trade promotion authority in the United States, the Uruguay Round and the
  • development of the World Trade Organization, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other US free trade agreements (notably including Korea)
  • the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, and East Asian regionalism,
  • initiation of the Strategic Economic Dialogue between the United States and China
  • reform of sanctions policy
  • liberalization of US export controls and export credits
  • specific measures such as permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) for China in 2000
  • Buy American legislation in 2009.3

Other influential analyses have addressed economic reform in Europe, Japan, the former communist countries, and Latin America (including the Washington Consensus), the economic and social impact of globalization and policy responses to it, outsourcing, electronic commerce, corruption, foreign direct investment both into and out of the United States, global warming and international environmental policy, and key sectors such as agriculture, financial services, steel, telecommunications, and textiles.

History of the Institute

Citing the economic turmoil of the 1970s as evidence of America’s “structural integration with the world economy”, the Institute was first suggested to C. Fred Bergsten at the behest of the Ford Foundation.  According to the Institute’s own history states that:

The concept of such an institute was first broached by the leadership of the Ford Foundation, McGeorge Bundy and David Bell, in the early 1970s. They asked me, just after I had left the White House, where I coordinated US foreign economic policy for two and a half years as Henry Kissinger’s deputy at the National Security Council, to conduct a comprehensive review of the research agenda for international economics and its institutional implications. I proposed an ambitious research program, to which the foundation devoted considerable resources over the succeeding years, and advised that existing think tanks be encouraged to assume leadership on global economic topics.

The specific proposal for what became the Institute for International Economics emerged in the late 1970s. Leslie Gelb, later to become president of the Council on Foreign Relations but then serving as a consultant to the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States, recommended that the GMF, in light of the growing importance of international economic issues to overall US foreign policy and the US economy and the absence of strong institutional capability to address the issues elsewhere, create such an institution.The GMF approached me with the idea in 1979–80, when I was serving as assistant secretary of the treasury for international affairs, and I developed an initial blueprint but no further action was taken at that time.4

The German Marshall Fund provided funds for the Institute of International Economics and it opened its doors in 1981.

In 2006, the Institute of International Economics was renamed the Peter G. Peterson Institute of International Economics.  The same year, the Institute also conducted a funding drive where it raised $50 million in honor of its 25th anniversary.5

Foundation Funding

The Institute is partially funded by the following organizations:6

  • Ford Foundation
  • Freeman Foundation
  • German Marshall Fund of the United States
  • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • William M. Keck, Jr. Foundation
  • Korea Foundation
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • The Starr Foundation
  • United States–Japan Foundation

The following donors contributed significantly to the Institute’s 25th anniversary capital campaign:7

  • C. Fred and Virginia W. Bergsten
  • George David
  • William M. Keck, Jr. Foundation
  • Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation
  • Frank Pearl
  • Peter G. Peterson
  • Joseph E. Robert, Jr.
  • David Rockefeller
  • Stephan Schmidheiny
  • Anthony M. Solomon
  • The Starr Foundation
  • United Technologies Corporation

Not Very Charitable

Charity Navigator rates the Peterson Institute for International Economics at 46.89 (out of 100) and only gives the charity two stars (out of four).  More than 45% of the Institute’s income goes to administrative costs.  According to a 2007 financial statement the Institute takes in approximately $10 million a year and has nearly $65 million in total assets.8

FYE (12/2007)

Primary Revenue $7,824,007
Other Revenue $1,262,715
Total Revenue $9,086,722
Program Expenses $4,752,826
Administrative Expenses $4,115,545
Fundraising Expenses $187,066
Total Functional Expenses $9,055,437
Payments to Affiliates $0
Excess (or Deficit) for the year $31,285
Net Assets $65,845,762
Organizational Efficiency
Program Expenses 52.4%
Administrative Expenses 45.4%

Members of the Board

Peter G. Peterson (Chairman of the Board)

  • Founder and Chairman, Peter G. Peterson Foundation; former Senior Chairman, The Blackstone Group; former Secretary of Commerce and Assistant to the President for International Economic Policy.

George David (Vice Chairman of the Board)

  • Chairman, United Technologies Corporation.

Reynold Levy (Chairman of the Executive Committee)

  • President, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Leszek Balcerowicz

  • Former Deputy Prime Minister, Poland; former Chairman, Center for Social and Economic Research, Warsaw, Poland; former Minister of Finance of Poland; President, National Bank of Poland.

Ronnie C. Chan

  • Chairman, Hang Lung Properties Limited.

Chen Yuan

  • Governor, China Development Bank; former Deputy Governor, Peoples Bank of China.

Andreas C. Dracopoulos

  • Director and co-President, Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Jessica Einhorn

  • Dean, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University; former Visiting Fellow, International Monetary Fund; former Managing Director for Finance and Resource Mobilization, World Bank.

Mohamed El-Erian

  • PIMCO, Co-CEO and Co-CIO; former President and CEO, Harvard Management Company, Inc.

Stanley Fischer

  • Governor, Bank of Israel; former Vice Chairman of Citigroup. 

Jacob A. Frenkel

  • Former governor of the Bank of Israel and former IMF economic counselor and director of research.

Maurice R. Greenberg

  • Chairman and CEO, C.V. Starr and Co., Inc.; former Chairman, American International Group.

Herbjorn Hansson

  • Chairman and CEO, Nordic American Tanker Shipping Ltd.

Carla A. Hills

  • Chairman, Hills & Company; former United States Trade Representative; former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; former Assistant Attorney General of the United States.

Nobuyuki Idei

  • Chief Corporate Advisor, Sony Corporation.

Karen Katen

  • Senior Advisor, Essex Woodlands Health Ventures; former President, Pfizer Human Health; and former Vice Chairman, Pfizer Inc.

W. M. Keck II

  • President, Coalinga Corporation.

Michael Klein

  • Former Vice Chairman, Citigroup.

Caio Koch-Weser

  • Vice Chairman, Deutsche Bank Group; former Deputy Minister of Finance for Germany; former Managing Director, Operations, World Bank

Alan G. Lafley

  • Chairman of the Board, Procter & Gamble.

Lee Kuan Yew

  • Senior Minister and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore.

Donald F. McHenry

  • University Research Professor of Diplomacy and International Affairs, Georgetown University; former US Ambassador to the United Nations.

Mario Monti

  • President, Bocconi University.

Paul O’Neill

  • Former Secretary of the Treasury.

David O’Reilly

  • Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ChevronTexaco Corporation.

Hutham Olayan

  • President and CEO, Olayan America Corporation.

James W. Owens

  • Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar.

Samuel J. Palmisano

  • Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, IBM Corporation

Frank H. Pearl

  • Chairman and CEO, Perseus LLC, and founder and chairman, Perseus Books/Perseus Publishing

Victor Pinchuk

  • Founder of Interpipe Corporation

Joseph E. Robert, Jr.

  • Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, J. E. Robert Companies.

David Rockefeller

  • Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chase Manhattan.

Lynn Forester de Rothschild

  • CEO and President, E.L. Rothschild Limited.

Renato Ruggiero

  • Former Italian Foreign Minister; former Vice Chairman, Salomon Smith Barney International Ltd.; former Director-General, World Trade Organization; former Chairman, Fiat.

Richard E. Salomon

  • Managing Partner, East End Advisors, LLC.

Sheikh Hamad Saud Al-Sayari

  • Former Governor, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency.

Edward W. Scott, Jr.

  • Chairman of the Board of the Center for Global Development, philanthropist, and cofounder of BEA Systems.

Frederick W. Smith

  • Chairman and CEO, FedEx Corporation.

Jean-Claude Trichet

  • President, European Central Bank; former Governor, Banque de France; former Director of the Treasury, government of France.

Laura D’Andrea Tyson

  • Dean, London Business School; former Dean, Haas School of Business, Professor of Economics and Class of 1939 Chair, University of California at Berkeley; former National Economic Adviser to the President; former Chair, Council of Economic Advisers.

Paul A. Volcker

  • Henry Kaufman Visiting Professor, New York University Stern School of Business; Frederick H. Schultz Professor (Emeritus) of International Economic Policy, Princeton University; former Chairman, Wolfensohn and Co, Inc.; former Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Under Secretary of the Treasury for Monetary Affairs

Jacob Wallenberg

  • Chairman, Investor AB (Sweden)

Edward E. Whitacre, Jr.

  • Chairman and CEO, General Motors.

Marina v.N. Whitman

  • Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy, University of Michigan; former Vice President and Group Executive, General Motors Corporation; former Member of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Ernesto Zedillo

  • Former President of Mexico.

Honorary Directors

Alan Greenspan

  • Former Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; former President and Chief Executive Officer, Townsend-Greenspan and Co.; former Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers.

Frank E. Loy

  • Chairman, Board of Directors, Resources for the Future; Acting Chair, Board of Directors, Populations Services International; former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs; former Chairman of the Board, League of Conservation Voters; former President, German Marshall Fund of the United States; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.

George P. Shultz

  • Honorary Fellow, Hoover Institution; former Secretary of State; President and Director of Bechtel Group, Inc.; Secretary of the Treasury; Director, Office of Management and Budget; and Secretary of Labor.

Ex Officio

C. Fred Bergsten

  • Director, Peterson Institute for International Economics; former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.

Nancy Birdsall

  • President, Center for Global Development, was Executive Vice-President of the Inter-American Development Bank from 1993 to 1998. Former Senior Associate and Director of the Economic Reform Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Richard N. Cooper

  • Chairman Emeritus, Advisory Committee, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Maurits C. Boas Professor of International Economics, Harvard University; former Chairman, National Intelligence Council, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, former Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, former Provost, Yale University.

Barry Eichengreen

  • University of California, Berkeley

Advisory Committee

  • Barry Eichengreen, Chairman
  • Richard Baldwin, Vice Chairman
  • Kristin Forbes, Vice Chairwoman
  • Isher Judge Ahluwalia
  • Robert E. Baldwin
  • Steve Beckman
  • Barry P. Bosworth
  • Menzie Chinn
  • Susan M. Collins
  • Wendy Dobson
  • Juergen B. Donges
  • Jeffrey A. Frankel
  • Daniel Gros
  • Stephan Haggard
  • David D. Hale
  • Gordon H. Hanson
  • Takatoshi Ito
  • John Jackson
  • Peter B. Kenen
  • Anne O. Krueger
  • Paul R. Krugman
  • Roger M. Kubarych
  • Justin Yifu Lin
  • Jessica T. Mathews
  • Rachel McCulloch
  • Thierry de Montbrial
  • Sylvia Ostry
  • Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Eswar S. Prasad
  • Raghuram Rajan
  • Kenneth S. Rogoff
  • Andrew K. Rose
  • Fabrizio Saccomanni
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs
  • Nicholas H. Stern
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • William White
  • Alan Wm. Wolff
  • Daniel Yergin
  • Richard N. Cooper, Chairman Emeritus

Location and Contact Information

Peterson Institute for International Economics
1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1903
Phone 202.328.9000 | Fax 202.659.3225

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Source notes:

  1. About the Peter G. Peterson Institute of International Economics.  Peter G. Peterson Institute of International Economics. []
  2. Ibid. []
  3. Ibid. []
  4. The Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics at 25.  Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics.  October 16, 2007. []
  5. Ibid. []
  6. Ibid. []
  7. Ibid. []
  8. Charity Navigator Rating – Peter G. Peterson Institute of International Economics.  Charity Navigator. []