RAND's Institutional Principles

A Guide to Ethics at RAND

RAND's mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. It is through uncompromising focus on our core values and this commitment that we have earned our worldwide reputation for providing rigorous, objective, nonpartisan research and analysis.

Our Institutional Principles set forth RAND's core standards for ethical behavior. They are the foundation for our interactions with each other and with our clients, grantors, stakeholders, and the public. The Institutional Principles are straightforward:

  1. We are dedicated to our core values: quality and objectivity.
  2. We avoid both the appearance and reality of conflict of interest.
  3. We are committed to integrity, respect, equal opportunity, and fairness in our relationships with one another, our clients, grantors, business associates, and the public.
  4. We are conscientious stewards of financial resources, property, and sensitive information.
  5. We respect and comply with legal and regulatory obligations.

It is not by accident that all of the Institutional Principles begin with “we”—they must be shared values if RAND is to succeed. RAND relies foremost on trust and the personal responsibility of every RAND Associate to apply the principles faithfully in their RAND activities, whether in the workplace or in any other setting in which they may be seen as representing RAND. In turn, RAND strives to provide a setting in which we can live by our ethical principles, be productive, take satisfaction from our contributions, grow professionally, and find camaraderie with our colleagues. RAND is also committed to providing systems and policies that support individuals in meeting standards for ethical behavior.

Our reputation—and ability to continue to fulfill our mission—can be preserved and expanded only if we live by our Institutional Principles, Code of Ethical Conduct, and policies even when it might be easier to take a shortcut or make an exception for the sake of convenience. We adhere to our principles out of a shared conviction that our actions should be guided by what is right, not out of concern that others are watching or fear that we might be sanctioned or punished.

A final thought: RAND's high standing and honored reputation in the research and policy communities are of inestimable value. They are essential in attracting the most important and interesting work and the most capable and creative colleagues to RAND. We—all RAND Associates—are the guardians of that reputation, our commitment to quality and objectivity, and the RAND name. Our individual and collective actions ultimately shape both the institution and its regard in the eyes of the clients, grantors, and public we serve.

Michael D. Rich, President and CEO