What We Do
The Heartland Institute brings a unique set of capabilities to bear on public policy debates. They include the following:
In addition to a full-time staff of 39, approximately 250 academics and professional economists participate in Heartland’s peer-review process as policy advisors and more than 200 elected officials serve on its Legislative Forum. Twenty-five senior fellows are available to write, speak, or comment in-depth on a wide range of policy issues.
Heartland has published more than two dozen books ranging in length from fewer than 100 pages to more than 1,000 pages, some with circulation of more than 100,000 copies. Heartland has published more than 140 peer-reviewed policy studies and scores of policy briefs, Research & Commentary collections, and booklets. Surveys show 74 percent of state legislators read at least one of Heartland’s publications sometimes or always.
Our government relations staff made more than 1 million contacts with elected officials in 2015, including 6,127 face-to-face contacts. These are virtually all educational contacts – we do not lobby. Our government relations staff calls legislators to ask if they need information, are aware of new developments in other states, and if we can send the “best available research” on issues they are coping with.
We send out a constant stream of op-eds, news releases, letters to the editor, podcasts, and much more. In 2015, we contacted journalists approximately 5.3 million times, generating 766 appearances in the mainstream media with a combined print circulation of 102 million readers.
Our 32 years in public policy, solid research and publications, and repeated communications with state legislators have made Heartland a credible, independent, “go-to” source for thousands of elected officials and other opinion leaders. A telephone survey of 503 randomly selected state and local elected officials conducted in 2016 by Victory Enterprises found 82% of the state elected officials surveyed read one or more Heartland newspapers “sometimes” or “always”; 43% consider Heartland to be a “very” or “somewhat” valuable source of information; and 45% reported a Heartland publication “influenced my opinion or led to a change in public policy.”
The Heartland Institute’s influence is not limited to a single political party. The Victory Enterprises survey showed strong appeal on both sides of the political aisle. Seventy-two percent of Democratic state legislators read one or more Heartland newspapers “sometimes” or “always,” 62% said they found Heartland a “useful source of information,” and 30% reported a Heartland publication “changed my opinion or led to a change in public policy.”
The quarterly QPR newsletter offers an opening essay by Heartland President Joseph Bast and summaries of the activities of each of Heartland's topic centers.
The Heartland Institute’s senior fellows, managing editors, and senior staff make outstanding speakers at public events. In 2012, they spoke at 168 events, entertaining and informing nearly 18,000 audience members!