The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank based in the United States and head quartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, Murray Rothbard, and one of the billionaire Koch Brothers, Charles Koch. The institute is named after Cato's Letters, a series of libertarian pamphlets published in the 18th century.
The Cato Institute advocates for limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and peace. It conducts research, produces policy analysis, and publishes books and articles on a wide range of topics including economics, politics, law, philosophy, and public policy. According to their website, the organisation's vision is to "to create free, open, and civil societies founded on libertarian principles."
The Cato Institute's research and analysis cover various policy areas such as fiscal policy, monetary policy, healthcare, education, criminal justice, immigration, and foreign policy. It supports free trade, deregulation, lower taxes, and reductions in government spending and has made controversial
The think tank also champions civil liberties, including free speech, freedom of religion, and individual privacy. The institute's scholars and experts contribute to public discourse through media appearances, op-eds, and policy recommendations. The Cato Institute hosts conferences, forums, and lectures to foster discussion and debate on key policy issues.
Sponsors of the Cato Institute in the past have included FedEx, Google, CME Group, Whole Foods and the tobacco industry. The institute’s current chairman, Robert Levy, previously worked within the tobacco industry, and claimed in an article that there was no credible evidence that smoking kills 400,000 people per year and that children do not die of smoking-related diseases.
Greenpeace has criticised the institute labelling Cato as a “Koch Industries climate denial front group” which is “focused on disputing the science behind global warming and questioning the rationale for taking action.”