Cato Institute

The mission of the Cato Institute is to increase the understanding of public policies based on the principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, and peace. The Institute will use the most effective means to originate, advocate, promote, and disseminate applicable policy proposals that create free, open, and civil societies in the United States and throughout the world.

Director's Interns assist policy staff as researchers; work with the conference department to organize policy conferences, debates, and forums; attend events and conferences; and assist Cato's professional staff by copying and filing newspaper articles, distributing materials to congressional offices, and preparing mailings. In addition to their research and other duties, interns take part in regular seminars on politics, economics, law, and philosophy, as well as a series of lectures and films on libertarian themes. (Director's Interns are also encouraged, but not required, to play on the Institute's softball team.)

Director's Internships are open to undergraduates, regardless of major, who have a strong commitment to individual liberty, private property, free markets, limited government, and the philosophy of classical, or market, liberalism.

While it's difficult to address specific projects (as they vary based on  department), Director's research interns focus on substantive policy work for scholars focusing on trade, regulation, fiscal and budgetary issues, monetary policy, economic development, etc. Tasks may include economic research and data collection, economic modeling, government program or agency analysis, writing, editing, among others. Competency in intermediate and advance economic concepts, mathematics, statistics, and familiarity with economic indices would certainly add value to the Institutes efforts.

2017 Intern Reflection: 

At the Cato Institute, I worked as a Research Intern for the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. I enjoyed contributing to meaningful research in my department, as well as interacting with scholars that I had previously only read about in scholarly papers. I worked with three scholars on many topics ranging the Latin American political and economic spectrum. I prepared daily morning news briefings, aggregating all the important events covered in Latin American newspapers, as well as in the major American news outlets. Likewise, I crafted both interview and presentation briefings for my scholars.

The Cato Institute’s commitment to creating a meaningful internship experience is impressive. Interns attend many weekly seminars learning about all kinds of political and economic topics. Interns also participate in workshops on writing and public speaking, as well as attend research seminars and conferences. Cato Interns enjoy access to an impressive array of world class scholars on a daily basis. Additionally, the sense of community at the office is great, with organized activities ranging from happy hours to a Cato softball team that interns are encouraged to participate in. I would wholeheartedly recommend this internship to anyone interested in political or economic policy. 

Edgar Carerro  '18 

2016 Intern Reflection:

Working at Cato has been a very rewarding and educational experience! Each intern is assigned to a scholar who they assist throughout the summer. Daily duties typically consist of writing and conducting factual research to aid upcoming publications. For example, I was responsible for researching and writing background articles on securities law to be published in Cato's Handbook for Congress. Each intern is also responsible for attending a set of seminars on various topics led by scholars from a wide variety of fields. 

Interns with strong writing and research skills will do well in this internship. Students who wish to get a feel for working in a think tank will find valuable experience in this position, even if they do not agree with the mission of the organization. There is plenty of room for discussion and debate with peers and scholars alike. 

Hemnanth Sanjeev '18



Washington, D.C.
Research, Think Tank/Strategy, Advocacy/Policy