The Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) was founded in 1983 to enhance the quality of economic policy-making within Europe and beyond, by fostering high quality, policy-relevant economic research, and disseminating it widely to decision-makers in the public and private sectors. Drawing together the expertise of its Research Fellows and Affiliates, CEPR initiates, funds and coordinates research activities and communicates the results quickly and effectively to decision makers around the world. The Centre is an independent, non-profit organization and takes no institutional policy positions.
CEPR is based on what was (in 1983) a new model of organization, a “thinknet”. It is a distributed network of economists, who are affiliated with but not employed by CEPR, and who collaborate through the Centre on a wide range of policy-related research projects and dissemination activities. CEPR was founded at a time when European economics had relatively few “centres of excellence” with international reach but many excellent researchers, widely dispersed, with few opportunities for interaction. One of CEPR’s main achievements has been to create a virtual “centre of excellence” for European economics through an active community of dispersed individual researchers, working together across international boundaries to produce high-quality research for use by the policy community and the private sector.
CEPR’s “thinknet” structure also supports the Centre’s pluralist and non-partisan stance. The Centre actively encourages diversity of opinion and independent thought in its network, with the result that CEPR's output reflects state-of-the-art thinking from a range of perspectives. This helps enrich and enliven policy debates.
Today, CEPR’s network of Research Fellows and Affiliates includes over 1,000 of the top economists conducting research on issues affecting the European economy. Researchers are based in their home institutions (universities, research institutes, central bank research departments, and international organisations), and collaborate through the Centre in the pursuit of policy-relevant economic research and dissemination activities. This differs from traditional thinktanks or research institutes, where there is a “in house” research staff. CEPR researchers areappointed by the Centre's Appointments Committee, chaired by the Centre's President. These researchers are organized in ten Programme Areas, each led by Programme Directors who provide intellectual leadership and quality control. The work of the Programme Directors is guided by the Centre's Director and Research Director.