Cato Institute

Cato Institute

***APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: All applicants are required to submit a resume (one page), statement of interest (one page), and two references by the application deadline on Sunday, February 6 at 11:59pm ET. Additionally, all applicants to this internship must:

- Applicants must complete a formal Cato internship application at On the "Cato and You" tab of the application, under the "Please indicate if you are submitting your application in partnership with one of the following programs:" field, select "Harvard's Institute of Politics Program"

LOCATION: Washington, D.C.

Our office is able to host a REMOTE OR IN-PERSON intern (depending on mutual preference).


WORKING HOURS: There is flexibility regarding which hours the intern works.

INDUSTRY: Think Tank / Research / Policy

ABOUT US: For more than 40 years, Cato has led the charge for liberty in our nation and around the world. The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization—or think tank—that creates a presence for and promotes libertarian ideas in policy debates. Our mission is to originate, disseminate, and advance solutions based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. We make liberty come alive for people by sharing our research and ideas in clear language, free of jargon. We find common ground and work with individuals and groups across the political spectrum in order to build a society that is freer, happier, and more prosperous. We hope you will join us.

RESPONSIBILITIES & PROJECTS: Most Cato interns work primarily as researchers for our policy scholars. Individual department placements include defense and foreign policy, healthcare policy, constitutional studies, and numerous others. Other interns work in communications-oriented roles, including media relations, external affairs, and video production. Responsibilities and requirements vary based upon the department interns work in but some examples include: familiarity with Chicago Manual of Style to help support citation verification, using data analysis tools like R, Stata, and Python to help our immigration department compile and analyze immigration data, or familiarity with Blue Book citation methods to help support our Center for Constitutional Studies draft legal memos and analysis.


  • Social Media Management & Marketing
  • Statistical & Data Analysis
  • Research and writing

WORK ENVIRONMENT: In addition to their department responsibilities, interns also participate in Cato's John Russell Paslaqua Intern Seminar Series. This intensive seminar curriculum encompasses public policy, economics, history, and political philosophy and is presented by Cato’s senior policy researchers over the course of more than 40 readings-based seminar sessions per internship term. In addition, the program includes writing, public speaking, and networking opportunities with other organizations in the D.C. area to help interns hone their communication skills, learn about career paths in public policy, and develop early professional relationships that will help them advance beyond their time at Cato. Cato's culture work culture is professional and cordial. Our goal is to hire our interns in full time positions when possible and interns often have a competitive advantage to other full time position applicants given their familiarity with the organization and demonstrated professionalism.

EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE: Access to high-speed Wi-Fi, Personal laptop, Web Camera, Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)


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.