American Institute of Economic Research
American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) conducts independent, scientific, economic research to educate individuals, thereby advancing their personal interests and those of the Nation.
The Institute, founded in 1933, represents no fund, concentration of wealth, or other special interests. Advertising is not accepted in its publications. Financial support for the Institute is provided primarily by the small annual fees from several thousand sustaining members, by receipts from sales of its publications, by tax-deductible contributions, and by the earnings of its wholly owned investment advisory organization, American Investment Services, Inc. Experience suggests that information and advice on economic subjects are most useful when they come from a source that is independent of special interests, either commercial or political.
The provisions of the charter and bylaws ensure that 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. Institute financial accounts are available for public inspection during normal working hours of the Institute.
By 1934, the magnitude of the Great Depression suggested the need for a research organization to inquire into the wide range of economic, social, and monetary developments that had contributed to the catastrophic economic contraction. The hope was that by further developing and applying modern scientific procedures of inquiry, results could be obtained that would be useful to the Nation in avoiding a repetition of the disaster. On the advice of Dr. Vannevar Bush, then vice-president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Col. E. C. Harwood founded American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) to conduct the necessary research.
Initially AIER was housed in the office of a staff member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but soon expansion required more space. For several years the Institute occupied buildings in Cambridge, Massachusetts that it also soon outgrew.
At the end of the Second World War, Col. E. C. Harwood and Helen Harwood investigated the potential of several "white elephants" in Berkshire County, Massachusetts as a new home for AIER. After successful negotiations, they moved operations to Great Barrington. After several months of preparing the new location, AIER resumed full operation at its new location with plenty of room for future expansion.
By 1956 subscription and book sales had outgrown its allotted space. In 1957, the mailing and printing were transferred to an annex. In 1958, a warehouse was added to the annex to accommodate increasing volumes of paper, envelopes, and mail.
To accommodate the expansion of research staff, students, and books, in 1962 a research library was added to the hillside below the annex. Now known as the E. C. Harwood Library, the 20,000 square-foot building contains AIER's principal offices.
AIER's independence from special-interest groups - and its close attention not only to proposed solutions of fundamental economic problems but also to useful procedures of inquiry into those problems - makes AIER unique among economic research organizations. AIER's long-run success attests the need for economic research carried out in such a manner.