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 Washington Post columnist, and a frequent radio and TV commentator. A Seattle native, he has been married for 27 years to his wife, Ester. They live in Maryland and have 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, doubling donated funds and increasing staff size by more than 50 percent. Brooks launched a series of highly successful entrepreneurial ventures designed to enable AEI’s world-class scholars to reach larger audiences and exert more influence over policy and conventional wisdom. He also oversaw AEI’s Capital Campaign, allowing AEI to purchase and restore a 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.


After a decade at the helm of AEI, Brooks will assume a joint position as Professor in the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Senior Fellow at the Harvard Business School in summer 2019. At Harvard, Brooks’ work will focus on developing leadership practices and policies that encourage entrepreneurship, enhance human happiness, and promote the well-being of those at all levels of society. In this role, Brooks will also work to expand AEI’s partnership with Harvard and other universities around the country.

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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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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