Lawson Bader

Lawson Bader


Lawson Bader is the president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. 

He succeeds Fred L. Smith, Jr., who founded CEI in 1984. Smith continues to serve CEI as Founder and Chairman and as head of the organization’s Center for Advancing Capitalism.

Bader came to CEI in January 2013 from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where he served as vice president. During his 16 years at Mercatus, Bader played a vital role in the organization’s donor and policy maker outreach efforts, helping it become a leading university-based research center for market-oriented ideas. 

Before joining Mercatus, Bader served as manager of government relations at SRI International, an Arlington, Va.-based non-profit that performs research on science and technology, economic development, environmental and defense issues. He also worked as a policy analyst with SRI’s Washington International Corporate Circle. Prior to SRI, he served as a legislative analyst with Pierson, Semmes and Finley and as a special assistant at the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Bader, a Washington, D.C., native who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, earned degrees from Wheaton College in Illinois and The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

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