Bias in the Media
Dr. Pakko’s research on smoking bans has played an influential role in the Michigan legislature as the state considers a statewide smoking ban. We applaud his research and the impact it has had in demonstrating how government interference adversely affects economic growth and public welfare.
The Michigan Messenger does a disservice to its readers and to the public debate in general by attempting to defraud the merits of the study by attacking the author’s "affiliations." (The Michigan Messenger argues that Dr. Pakko’s findings are driven by ties to "big tobacco" donors.)
Because Dr. Pakko is (marginally) affiliated with the Show-Me Institute, and because we received a grant from the Cato Institute, which has itself received donations from tobacco companies, the author argues that somehow these six degrees of separation are biasing Dr. Pakko’s results.
First of all, the Show-Me Institute stands behind Dr. Pakko and his research on public smoking bans throughout the state. As a former employee of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, I can personally attest to the quality and objectivity of his research.
But, more importantly, the accusation is completely baseless. Dr. Pakko has never received any funding from the Show-Me Institute for any current or previous research (or any other service). The articles in question were published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis completely independently from the Show-Me Institute. Neither the Federal Reserve nor the Show-Me Institute accept "contract work," and any donation the Show-Me Institute has received that could somehow be connected indirectly to tobacco firms has no bearing on our research topics or their conclusions. In fact, our non-profit charter as a "public charity" explicitly prevents us from engaging in any policy work with a specific donor-driven agenda.
Again, I just want to reiterate that the Show-Me Institute is a "free-market think tank" not a "libertarian think tank" or a "conservative think tank" and that we do not support, endorse, or promote any political party or specific public policy agenda or legislation.
But you guys already knew that.