History

“Today’s new realities require not only sweeping vision and political courage, but also innovative and smart ideas to confront our most pressing economic challenges.”
— Original Strategy Paper 4/6/2006

The Hamilton Project was launched in April 2006 as an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institution by a unique combination of leading academics, business people, and public policy makers who wanted to develop a serious, systematic strategy to address the challenges that our economy faces. In support of this broad strategy, the Project puts forward innovative ideas from leading economic thinkers across the country to inject new, sometimes controversial policy options into the national economic debate. Then-Senator Barack Obama spoke at the launch and called the Project “the sort of breath of fresh air that I think this town needs.”

From its first strategy paper, the Project set forth a clear policy path to promote our nation’s economic health, a strategy based on three interrelated principles: that economic growth must be broad-based to be strong and sustainable over the long term; that economic security and economic growth can be mutually reinforcing; and that an effective government can improve economic performance. These ideas, especially in combination, offer a strikingly different vision from the economic policies that contributed to the alarming trends in rising income inequality and a mounting federal deficit.

Since its launch, the Hamilton Project has released dozens of papers, hosted events for thousands of attendees, and published two books — all on a wide range of issues, from economic security, to energy, to health care. With groundbreaking papers and thought-provoking public events, the Project continues to make an immediate impact in policy-making circles.


 Our Name

The Project is named after Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury Secretary, who laid the foundation for the modern American economy. An immigrant born into poverty and self-schooled in his early years, Hamilton symbolizes the traditional American values of opportunity and upward mobility that motivate the Project’s work. He fostered the nation’s capital markets, encouraged commerce, and stood for sound fiscal policy.

The guiding principles of the Project are consistent with Hamilton’s belief that broad-based opportunity for advancement drives American economic growth. Furthermore, Hamilton recognized not only the substantial power of markets to deliver economic growth, but also the need for “prudent aids and encouragements on the part of government” to enhance and guide market forces. Hamilton was the first architect of American prosperity and is an apt symbol for what we are trying to do in our time.

Hamilton Project Updates

A periodic newsletter of events, policy briefs, and working papers from The Hamilton Project.