The Independent Institute describes itself as a "non-profit, non-partisan, scholarly research and educational organization that sponsors in-depth studies of critical social and economic issues". With a tagline "The Power of Independent Thinking" and boasting "the highest standards of independent scholarly inquiry", the Independent Institute offers analysis and proposals that are nevertheless generally associated with libertarian-leaning views and therefore receives a bias rating of lean right. Since Libertarian positions often match solutions from both the left and right, it is difficult and somewhat misleading to rate its bias on a left to right scale, but overall more of its solutions mirror those representing the right then the left.
While the Independent Institute lists quotes from people supporting the organization from the left (like Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein) and international leaders not strongly affiliated with a left or right bias (such as Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic), most of its endorsements come from Libertarians and Libertarian-leaning Republicans (like Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Ron Paul), conservative leaning economists (Milton Freidman and Michael Boskin) and elected leaders from the right (Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford). Its founder David J. Theroux was previously Vice President and Director of Academic Affairs for the Cato Institute (bias rating lean right) and founding President of the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (bias rating right).
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David J. Theroux founded The Independent Institute in 1986 to "to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies, grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity." (From the Independent Institute About Us page.) Its research program revolves around seven centers each focused on a different social or economic issue. They include the Center on Culture and Civil Society, Center on Educational Excellence, Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation, Center on Global Prosperity, Center on Health and the Environment, Center on Law and Justice, and the Center on Peace and Liberty.
Initially founded in San Francisco, the Independent Institute later moved to Oakland, California in 1989 and has had an office in Washington DC since 2006, and is listed as one of the "Top Think Tanks in the United States" (2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report).