PRI’s History Timeline


  • The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), founded by Sir Antony Fisher, opens its doors in San Francisco, California


  • PRI hosts its first annual dinner honoring economist Freidrich Hayek for his contribution to freedom and liberty.


  • Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman is honored at PRI's second annual dinner


  • PRI publishes Free Market Environmentalism which gained widespread popularity


  • PRI adopts the motto, "Ideas in Action." PRI health care experts - headed by President Sally C. Pipes - play a key role in defeating California's Proposition 186, the single-payer health care initiative.


  • PRI releases the first Index of Leading Environmental Indicators: 1996 Report, which becomes one of PRI's flagship publications


  • After studying PRI education materials, Ron Unz launches Prop 227, an initiative to eliminate bilingual education in California. PRI plays a role in its passage.


  • PRI celebrates its 20th anniversary, hosting former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as keynote speaker.


  • Dr. Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, speaks at PRI's Gala Dinner in November.


  • Caspar Weinberger, former U.S. Defense Secretary, speaks at a PRI event.
  • Lou Dobbs, television host and founding member of CNN speakes at PRI's gala dinner.


  • PRI releases Sally C. Pipes's first book, Miracle Cure: How to Solve America's Health Care Crisis and Why Canada Isn't the Answer


  • PRI publishes Free to Learn, by co-authors Lance Izumi and Xiaochin Yan. The book is used as the blueprint for rebuilding the New Orleans public and charter school systems after Hurricane Katrina.
  • In December, PRI releases the U.S. Tort Liability Index: 2006 Report - a ranking of each state's tort system.


  • PRI releases the environmental documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth or Convenient Fiction?
  • PRI publishes Not As Good As You Think Why the Middle Class Needs School Choice


  • PRI releases Sally C. Pipes's second book, The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care: A Citizen's Guide. In response to the findings of Not as Good as You Think in the fall of 2007, more school choice legislation is introduced in 2008 than in any point in California history.


  • PRI releases its second documentary film, Not as Good as You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School, directed by filmaker Nick Tucker. The film premieres to packed audiences.
  • The Economist magazine recognizes PRI's legal reform work as changing the national debate on tort reform.
  • PRI launches the California Prosperity Project, a series of studies aimed at moving California's economy toward greater and lasting prosperity.
  • PRI launches an online investigative journalism site.


  • PRI publishes the first edition of Short Circuited: The Challenges Facing the Online Learning Revolution in California


  • Sally Pipes releases The Pipes Plan


  • PRI establishes The Laffer Center at PRI.


  • George Will speaks at PRI's Annual Gala.
  • PRI sponosors the Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day, celebrating Milton Friedman.


  • PRI hosts the First Annual Margaret Thatcher Dinner, featuring Steve Forbes.
  • PRI releases study on Sal Khan and the Khan academy.
  • Dr. Charles Krauthammer is the speaker at PRI's Annual Gala
  • Sally Pipes releases The Cure for Obamacare


  • PRI fights Obamacare in the courts.
  • Lance Izumi takes research of middle class schools to 5 states
  • PRI establishes first 50-State Index of Energy Regulation


  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks at the Annual Gala in San Francisco

The roots of Pacific Research Institute (PRI) go back to 1957, when Sir Antony Fisher founded the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London to spread the influence of leading free-market thinkers such as F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman, both of whom became Nobel laureates. In 1979, Sir Antony teamed with San Francisco businessman James North to establish the Pacific Research Institute. Sally Pipes became president of PRI in 1991.

PRI began by publishing groundbreaking books, leading the way for dramatic policy reforms in education, the environment, and health care. PRI is still recognized as a premier publisher, but we expanded to pioneer innovative methods of public outreach that empower individuals and communities nationwide.

PRI established five research centers to provide compelling policy analysis and solutions: Education Studies, Business and Economic Studies, Environmental Studies, Health Care Studies and Center For California’s Future. The center directors and policy fellows respond to current policy challenges with rigorous, cutting-edge research and thought-provoking public commentary.

PRI strives to change the perception of lawmakers and the public so that the starting point for any policy solution is a private, voluntary action, rather than unnecessary, and even harmful, government intervention. The Institute fills a critical role in the public debate because of California’s influence as a national trendsetter and the economic and demographic importance of the state.

Our “outside the beltway” independence enables PRI to address important issues before they reach national prominence, and to lead the way in anticipating future threats to liberty.

PRI’s staff is often invited to give testimony to state legislatures and Congress, and lawmakers across the political spectrum have praised the Institute’s work. PRI policy staff has appeared on NBC’s “The Today Show”, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, and the Fox News Channel. PRI’s work has been cited and published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today, The Economist, The Atlantic Monthly, Investor’s Business Daily, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and many other leading publications throughout the world.