Arthur C. Brooks


Arthur Brooks is a bestselling author, a social scientist, and the president of the American Enterprise Institute. Arthur works with top scholars, policymakers, and elected officials to fight for for all Americans’ access to free enterprise and earned success.

Arthur’s path to Washington, DC, has been anything but typical. At 19, he left college to play the French horn professionally. He toured internationally and recorded several albums, eventually landing in the City Orchestra of Barcelona.

In his late 20s, Arthur returned to the US and completed his bachelor’s degree by correspondence. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in public policy, focusing on microeconomics and mathematical modeling. After completing his doctorate, he spent 10 years as a professor of public administration.

Arthur is an in-demand speaker, a New York Times opinion writer, and a frequent radio and TV commentator. A Seattle native, he has been married for 23 years to his wife, Ester. They live in Maryland with their three children.

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Arthur & AEI


Arthur Brooks became president of the American Enterprise Institute on January 1, 2009, in the wake of the global financial crisis and the election of President Obama. He is the 11th president in the organization’s 77-year history.


AEI has grown considerably since 2009. A new focus on outreach and communications enables AEI’s world-class scholars to reach larger audiences and exert more influence over policy and conventional wisdom. AEI will soon finish construction on a new headquarters, a renovation of an historic six-story building in downtown Washington, DC.


Described by NBC News as “the Republican Party’s poverty guru,” Arthur has helped make poor and vulnerable Americans a key focus for AEI and for the conservative movement. AEI scholars have emerged as an unrivaled source for creative thinking on poverty, opportunity, and free enterprise.

The American Enterprise Institute is a nationally recognized think tank based in Washington, DC, whose scholars and supporters are committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise. A private and nonpartisan nonprofit, AEI is dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, foreign policy, and social welfare.

AEI scholars and scholarship are found throughout the media, on Capitol Hill, and around the country, serving leaders and the public by highlighting the most important issues of the day. Here’s some of the latest from AEI scholars.

The Latest

Confessions of a Catholic convert to capitalism

Capitalism is under fire everywhere, but especially so in some corridors of Catholic thought. In this long-form essay, Arthur explains how his Catholic faith drives his belief in the free enterprise system.

Other Books


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The Pursuit of Happiness

In 1776, John Adams wrote that just as “the happiness of the individual is the end of man,” so “the happiness of society is the end of government.” From the beginning, America has aimed at something far more valuable than material riches or military power. We aim at human flourishing itself. This new project continues that journey. How can each of us best pursue happiness for ourselves and our communities? How can public policy help, and when does government get in the way? We tackle these questions and more by drawing together inspirational talks and bold ideas wherever we can find them — from economics and policy to philosophy and history.

Are free markets fair?

Some people think that free markets aren’t fair simply because a lot of people get rich while other people don’t get rich, but that’s not the real definition of fairness …

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