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PRI's History - Pacific Research Institute

PRI’s History

Over 40 Years of History

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.

In 2024, the Pacific Research Institute is celebrating its 45th Annivesrary. Since its founding in 1979, PRI has become California’s premier free market think tank. Thanks to your continued support, we continue to be a beacon of freedom on the West Coast – inspiring Californians to advocate for free-market policy changes and market-based reforms to put the gold back in the Golden State.

PRI logo

History Timeline

2020

Webinar Series

During Covid-19 pandemic, PRI launches popular webinar series featuring at-home conversations with Heather Mac Donald, Stephen Moore, Michael Anton, and others.

OpenPageSallyScreens2020 243x300 1

2020

2020

False Premise, False Promise Released

Encounter Books publishes False Premise, False Promise: The Disastrous Reality of Medicare for All by Sally C. Pipes, which becomes a Number 1 Amazon.com bestseller for health law books.

FalsePremise False Promise Pipes Cover 209x300 1

2020

2019

First California Ideas in Action Conference

PRI hosts first annual “California Ideas in Action” policy conference in Sacramento.

CAliforniaCapital 200x300 1

2019

2019

First California Ideas in Action Conference

PRI releases mini-documentary “Welcome to Change” on Life Learning Academy, a charter school serving at risk youth on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.

2019

2018

Pension Chart Book Released

PRI puts out a Pension Chart Book to support the research study “Reforming Public-Sector Pensions to Improve California’s Fiscal Outlook” by Wayne Winegarden

ChartWebImage 300x171 1

2018

2018

Annual Thatcher Gala

PRI celebrates Pete Wilson at the Annual Thatcher Gala dinner. Mark Steyn speaks at Annual Gala in San Francisco. 

wilson Mark Steyn jpeg 240x300 1

2018

2018

Good Intentions Released

Good Intentions brief on poverty in California, which garners national media attention.

CoverPovertyBrief 232x300 1

2018

2017

The Corrupt Classroom Released

PRI releases The Corrupt Classroom: Bias, Indoctrination, Violence and Social Engineering Show Why America Needs School Choice.

CorruptClassroom 191x300 1

2017

2017

California Housing Panel

PRI hosts housing panel at the Capital building in Sacramento to discuss California Housing issues.

20081110 cacapital 02

2017

2017

PRI Redesign

PRI redesigns website — launches weekly Podcast and daily blog.

PRI adds Powtoon videos to help explain content in research studies.

WebsiteRevisionsWorkerFreedom 300x193 1

2017

2017

2017 Annual Gala

Peter Thiel speaks at Annual Gala in San Francisco.

Peter Thiel e1553217931621 300x255 1

2017

2016

PRI Young Leaders Circle Launch

PRI launches a Young Leaders Circle for people under the age of 40 to get involved with current events and California policy.

YLClogo Color WebDonatePage 300x216 1

2016

2016

2016 Annual Thatcher Gala

Jonah Goldberg speaks at Annual Thatcher Gala in Southern California.

Goldberg1

2016

2016

2016 Annual Sir Antony Fisher Gala

Charles Krauthammer speaks at Annual Sir Antony Fisher Gala in San Francisco.

charlesKreuhammer 02

2016

2016

Andrew McCarthy Luncheon

PRI hosts a sold out luncheon for Bestselling Author Andrew C. McCarthy.

Andrew C. McCarthy Headshot for PRI 150x150 1

2016

2015

PRI Rebrand

PRI updates logo, branding, and website.

logo small new 300x138 1

2015

2015

2015 Annual Gala

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

Gala2015 3foldInvite F panels Page 1 225x300 1

2015

2014

Fighting Obamacare

PRI fights Obamacare in the courts.

2014

2014

Research Expansion

Lance Izumi takes research of middle class schools to 5 states. PRI also establishes first 50-State Index of Energy Regulation.

csm NAGAYT Texas Final Web 17d915b7e2 232x300 1csm 50States Cover 6d0d3444ea 232x300 1

2014

2013

2013 Annual Gala

Dr. Charles Krauthammer is the speaker at PRI’s Annual Gala.

charlesKreuhammer 02

2013

2013

The Cure for Obamacare Releases

Sally Pipes releases The Cure for Obamacare.

the cure for obamacare 1

2013

2013

1st Annual Margaret Thatcher Dinner

PRI hosts the First Annual Margaret Thatcher Dinner, featuring Steve Forbes.

PRI Forbes USE

2013

2013

Khan Academy Study Released

PRI releases study on Sal Khan and the Khan academy.

KhanStudy Cover 233x300 1

2013

2012

The Pipes Plan Released

Sally Pipes releases The Pipes Plan.

20111223 PipesPlanCover200 01

2012

2012

The Laffer Center Launches

PRI establishes The Laffer Center at PRI.

ABLaffer

2012

2012

2012 Annual Gala

George Will speaks at PRI’s Annual Gala.

GeorgeWill

2012

2012

Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day

PRI sponsors the Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day, celebrating Milton Friedman.

FriedmanInvite2012

2012

2010

Short Circuited Released

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

ShortCircuitCover copy

2010

2008

Not as Good as you Think Released

PRI releases its second documentary film, Not as Good as You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School, directed by filmmaker Nick Tucker. The film premieres to packed audiences.

NAGAYTcover 218x300 1

2008

2008

PRI Recognized by The Economist

The Economist magazine recognizes PRI’s legal reform work as changing the national debate on tort reform.

Tort2010 FactSheetFinal 1 225x300 1

2008

2008

California Prosperity Project

PRI launches the California Prosperity Project, a series of studies aimed at moving California’s economy toward greater and lasting prosperity.

california Prosperity cover 231x300 1

2008

2008

Cal Watchdog Launches

PRI launches an online investigative journalism site.

CalWatchdogLogo RectLrg 300x149 1

2008

2008

The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care Releases

PRI releases Sally C. Pipes’s second book, The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care: A Citizen’s Guide.

TopTenMythsHC

2008

2008

Not as Good as You Think Response

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.

2008

2007

Not as Good as you think released

PRI publishes Not As Good As You Think: Why the Middle Class Needs School Choice.

NAGAYTsm copy

2007

2007

An Inconvenient Truth or Convenient Fiction Released

PRI releases the environmental documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth or Convenient Fiction?

Inconveninet

2007

2005

U.S. Tort Reliability Index Released

In December, PRI releases the U.S. Tort Liability Index: 2006 Report – a ranking of each state’s tort system.

Tort2006

2005

2005

Free to Learn Released

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.

FTLCover

2005

2004

Miracle Cure Released

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

Miracle CureBook

2004

2002

2002 Gala Dinner

Lou Dobbs, television host and founding member of CNN speaks at PRI’s gala dinner.

lou dobbs11 11 01

2002

2002

Caspar Weinberger Speech

Caspar Weinberger, former U.S. Defense Secretary, speaks at a PRI event.

5weinberger ha sc 240x300 1

2002

2001

2001 Gala Dinner

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

photo kissinger 01

2001

1999

PRI Celebrates 20 Years

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

thatcher

1999

1998

Prop 227 Launches

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.

Unz

1998

1996

Index of Leading Environmental Indicators Report

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

1996 EnvIndex

1996

1995

Ideas in Action

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.

IdeasInAction 227x300 1

1995

1994

Prop 186

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.

1994

1990

Free Market Environmentalism Released

PRI publishes Free Market Environmentalism which gained widespread popularity.

fmebk

1990

1984

Friedman at 2nd Annual Dinner

Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman is honored at PRI’s second annual dinner.

Milton Friedman 241x300 1

1984

1982

Hayek Honored at 1st Annual Dinner

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

Friedrich von Hayek 240x300 1

1982

1979

Humble Beginnings

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

cl logo 2

1979

1979

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

cl logo 2

1982

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

Friedrich von Hayek 240x300 1

1984

Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman is honored at PRI’s second annual dinner.

Milton Friedman 241x300 1

1990

PRI publishes Free Market Environmentalism which gained widespread popularity.

fmebk

1994

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.

1995

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.

IdeasInAction 227x300 1

1996

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

1996 EnvIndex

1998

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.

Unz

1999

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

thatcher

2001

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

photo kissinger 01

2002

Caspar Weinberger, former U.S. Defense Secretary, speaks at a PRI event.

5weinberger ha sc 240x300 1

2002

Lou Dobbs, television host and founding member of CNN speaks at PRI’s gala dinner.

lou dobbs11 11 01

2004

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

Miracle CureBook

2005

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.

FTLCover

2005

In December, PRI releases the U.S. Tort Liability Index: 2006 Report – a ranking of each state’s tort system.

Tort2006

2007

PRI releases the environmental documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth or Convenient Fiction?

Inconveninet

2007

PRI publishes Not As Good As You Think Why the Middle Class Needs School Choice.

NAGAYTsm copy

2008

PRI releases Sally C. Pipes’s second book, The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care: A Citizen’s Guide.

TopTenMythsHC

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.

2008

PRI releases its second documentary film, Not as Good as You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School, directed by filmmaker Nick Tucker. The film premieres to packed audiences.

NAGAYTcover 218x300 1

The Economist magazine recognizes PRI’s legal reform work as changing the national debate on tort reform.

Tort2010 FactSheetFinal 1 225x300 1

PRI launches the California Prosperity Project, a series of studies aimed at moving California’s economy toward greater and lasting prosperity.

california Prosperity cover 231x300 1

PRI launches an online investigative journalism site.

CalWatchdogLogo RectLrg 300x149 1

2010

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

ShortCircuitCover copy

2012

George Will speaks at PRI’s Annual Gala.

GeorgeWill

PRI sponsors the Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day, celebrating Milton Friedman.

FriedmanInvite2012

2012

Sally Pipes releases The Pipes Plan.

20111223 PipesPlanCover200 01

PRI establishes The Laffer Center at PRI.

ABLaffer

2013

PRI hosts the First Annual Margaret Thatcher Dinner, featuring Steve Forbes.

PRI Forbes USE

PRI releases study on Sal Khan and the Khan academy.

KhanStudy Cover 233x300 1

2013

Dr. Charles Krauthammer is the speaker at PRI’s Annual Gala.

charlesKreuhammer 02

Sally Pipes releases The Cure for Obamacare.

the cure for obamacare 1

2014

PRI fights Obamacare in the courts.

Lance Izumi takes research of middle class schools to 5 states.

csm NAGAYT Texas Final Web 17d915b7e2 232x300 1

PRI establishes first 50-State Index of Energy Regulation.

csm 50States Cover 6d0d3444ea 232x300 1

2015

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

Gala2015 3foldInvite F panels Page 1 225x300 1

2015

PRI updates logo, branding, and website.

logo small new 300x138 1

2016

PRI hosts a sold out luncheon for Bestselling Author Andrew C. McCarthy.

Andrew C. McCarthy Headshot for PRI 150x150 1

2016

Jonah Goldberg speaks at Annual Thatcher Gala in Southern California.

Goldberg1

Charles Krauthammer speaks at Annual Sir Antony Fisher Gala in San Francisco.

charlesKreuhammer 02

2016

PRI launches a Young Leaders Circle for people under the age of 40 to get involved with current events and California policy.

YLClogo Color WebDonatePage 300x216 1

2017

Peter Thiel speaks at Annual Gala in San Francisco.

Peter Thiel e1553217931621 300x255 1

2017

PRI redesigns website — launches weekly Podcast and daily blog.

PRI adds Powtoon videos to help explain content in research studies.

WebsiteRevisionsWorkerFreedom 300x193 1

2017

PRI hosts housing panel at the Capital building in Sacramento to discuss California Housing issues.

20081110 cacapital 02

2017

PRI releases The Corrupt Classroom: Bias, Indoctrination, Violence and Social Engineering Show Why America Needs School Choice.

CorruptClassroom 191x300 1

2018

Good Intentions brief on poverty in California, which garners national media attention.

CoverPovertyBrief 232x300 1

2018

PRI celebrates Pete Wilson at the Annual Thatcher Gala dinner.

wilson

Mark Steyn speaks at Annual Gala in San Francisco.

Mark Steyn jpeg 240x300 1

2018

PRI puts out a Pension Chart Book to support the research study “Reforming Public-Sector Pensions to Improve California’s Fiscal Outlook” by Wayne Winegarden

ChartWebImage 300x171 1

2019

PRI hosts first annual “California Ideas in Action” policy conference in Sacramento.

CAliforniaCapital 200x300 1

PRI releases mini-documentary “Welcome to Change” on Life Learning Academy, a charter school serving at risk youth on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.

2020

Encounter Books publishes False Premise, False Promise: The Disastrous Reality of Medicare for All by Sally C. Pipes, which becomes a Number 1 Amazon.com bestseller for health law books.

FalsePremise False Promise Pipes Cover 209x300 1

During Covid-19 pandemic, PRI launches popular webinar series featuring at-home conversations with Heather Mac Donald, Stephen Moore, Michael Anton, and others.

OpenPageSallyScreens2020 243x300 1

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