American Consumer Institute

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The American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research is a 501(c)(3) (tax-exempt and fully tax deductible) nonprofit educational and research institute. The Institute states that it is an independent organization advocating the interests of consumers, but an op-ed on the website Broadband Reports charges that the American Consumer Institute is an "astroturf" organization, organized by a telecom consultant to push the interests of its financial backers. The op-ed notes that the institute's website is registered to "Stephen Pociask, a telecom consultant and former chief economist for Bell Atlantic." [1] And indeed, the institute's advocacy has been largely in the field of telecommunications. The group has been cited in the New York Times in support of the liberalization of cable franchise reform [2] [3]. The institute has also prominently criticized network neutrality regulation. [4] Both positions have been high on the lobbying agenda of AT&T and Verizon.

The Institute's websites, in contrast, say that its founding was based on a belief that consumer representations too often reflect either the interests of a small subsets of consumers, mirror advocates' political views or advocate positions based on subjective conclusions, rather than empirically-based analyses. [5] American Consumer Institute's focus is on quantitative analysis, including elements of long/short run and cost-benefit analyses, as well as a general recognition that distant, collateral and unintended consequences can substantially affect consumer well-being. The American Consumer Institute's research studies often measure the direct effects of public policies on consumer welfare, a well-accepted economics concept for quantifying consumer benefits. The American Consumer Institute claims to provide better data, methods and analyses of consumer welfare impacts and through that to improve on the information available to government decision makers and the general public. The institute says that it uses "think tank" like analysis applied to public policy issues on behalf of consumer interests.


Accessed November 2010.[6]

Contact details

1701 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
Email: info AT

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles


  3. American Consumer Institute (March 2 2005). "Cable Consumers Report Substantial Benefits in Competitive Markets". Press release. Retrieved on 2008-01-23.
  4. Wayne Rash (June 20 2006). "Institute Slams Net Neutrality Legislation", Retrieved on 2008-01-23. 
  6. Our Experts, American Consumer Institute, accessed November 2010.