Think tank

Think tank

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A think tank is an organization that conducts research
Research
Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...

 and engages in advocacy
Advocacy
Advocacy is a political process by an individual or a large group which normally aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions; it may be motivated from moral, ethical or faith principles or simply to protect an...

 in areas such as social policy
Social policy
Social policy primarily refers to guidelines, principles, legislation and activities that affect the living conditions conducive to human welfare. Thus, social policy is that part of public policy that has to do with social issues...

, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit
Non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

 organizations, which some countries such as the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Canada provide with tax exempt
Tax exemption
Various tax systems grant a tax exemption to certain organizations, persons, income, property or other items taxable under the system. Tax exemption may also refer to a personal allowance or specific monetary exemption which may be claimed by an individual to reduce taxable income under some...

 status. Other think tanks are funded by governments, advocacy group
Advocacy group
Advocacy groups use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems...

s, or businesses, or derive revenue from consulting or research work related to their projects.

History


While the term "think tank" originated in the 1950s, organizations date to the 19th century. The Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI
Rusi
Ruşi may refer to several places in Romania:* Ruşi, a district in the town of Zlatna, Alba County* Ruşi, a village in Bretea Română Commune, Hunedoara County* Ruşi, a village in Slimnic Commune, Sibiu County...

) was founded in 1831 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. The Fabian Society
Fabian Society
The Fabian Society is a British socialist movement, whose purpose is to advance the principles of democratic socialism via gradualist and reformist, rather than revolutionary, means. It is best known for its initial ground-breaking work beginning late in the 19th century and continuing up to World...

 in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 dates from 1884. The Brookings Institution
Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., in the United States. One of Washington's oldest think tanks, Brookings conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and...

 began in Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 in 1916.

After 1945, the number of think tanks grew, as many smaller new think tanks were formed to express various issue and policy agendas. Until the 1940s, most think tanks were known only by the name of the institution. During the Second World War, think tanks were referred to as "brain boxes" after the slang term for the skull. The phrase "think tank" in wartime American slang referred to rooms in which strategists discussed war planning. The term think tank itself, however, was originally used in reference to organizations that offered military advice, most notably the RAND Corporation, founded originally in 1946 as an offshoot of Douglas Aircraft and which became an independent corporation in 1948.

For most of the 20th century, independent public policy think tanks that performed research and provided advice on public policy were an organizational phenomenon found primarily in the United States, with a much smaller number in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and Western Europe. Although think tanks existed in Japan for some time they generally lacked independence, having close ties to government ministries or corporations. There has been a veritable proliferation of “think tanks” around the world that began in the 1980s as a result of the forces of globalization, the end of the Cold War, and the emergence of transnational problems. Two-thirds of all the think tanks that exist today were established after 1970 and over half were established since 1980.

The impact of globalization on the think tank movement is most evident in regions such as Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and parts of Southeast Asia, where there was a concerted effort by the international community to support the creation of independent public policy research organizations. A recent survey conducted by the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program underscores the significance of this effort and documents the fact that most of the think tanks in these regions have been established in the last 10 years. Today there are over 4,500 of these institutions around the world. Many of the more established think tanks, having been created during the Cold War, are focused on international affairs, security studies, and foreign policy.

Also see the United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP operates in 177 countries, working with nations on their own solutions to...

 definition.

Types


Think tanks vary by ideological perspectives, sources of funding, issue focus and prospective audience. Some think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation
Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

, which promotes conservative principles, and the Center for American Progress
Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress is a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization. Its website states that the organization is "dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action." It has its headquarters in Washington D.C.Its President and Chief...

 on the progressive front, are more partisan in purpose. Others, including the Tellus Institute
Tellus Institute
The Tellus Institute is a non-profit research and policy organization based in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States. Its mission is to advance the transition to a sustainable, equitable, and humane global civilization. The Tellus Institute was founded in 1976 by Paul Raskin, Richard Rosen,...

, which focuses on social and environmental topics, are more issue-oriented groups. Still others, such as the Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

, promote libertarian social and economic theories based on Friedrich von Hayek's idea of free markets and individual liberty.

Funding sources and the targeted audiences also define the workings of think tanks. Some receive direct government support, while others rely on private individual or corporate donors. This will invariably affect the levels of academic freedom within each think tank and to whom or what the institution feels beholden. Funding may also reflect who or what the institution wants to influence; in the United States, for example, "Some donors want to influence votes in Congress or shape public opinion, others want to position themselves or the experts they fund for future government jobs, while others want to push specific areas of research or education."

A new trend, resulting from globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

, is collaboration between think tanks across continents. For instance, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a foreign-policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. The organization describes itself as being dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States...

 operates offices in Washington, D.C., Beijing, Beirut, Brussels and Moscow.

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

 annually rates think tanks worldwide in a number of categories and presents its findings in the "Global Go-To Think Tanks" rating index. However, this approach to the study and assessment of think tanks has been criticised by think tank researchers such as Enrique Mendizabal and Goran Buldioski, Director of the Think Tank Fund, supported by the Open Society Institute.

Functional approach in Latin America


Research done by Enrique Mendizabal shows that Latin American think tanks play various roles depending on their origins, historical development and relations to other policy actors. In this study, Orazio Bellettini from Grupo FARO
Grupo FARO
Grupo FARO , is an independent, nonprofit and secular think tank established to provide support and promote active participation of civil society, the business sector and state entities, based on research and analysis, for the purpose of putting forward, implementing and monitoring public policies,...

 suggests that they:
  1. Seek political support for policies.
  2. Legitimize policies – This has been clearer in Ecuador
    Ecuador
    Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

    , Bolivia
    Bolivia
    Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

     and Peru
    Peru
    Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

    . New governments in Ecuador and Peru have approached think tanks for support for already defined policies. In Bolivia, the government led by Evo Morales
    Evo Morales
    Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

     has been working with NGOs and other research centres to do the same. However, in the Chilean context, many think tanks during the 1990s appeared to support and maintain the legitimacy of policies implemented during the previous decade by the dictator Augusto Pinochet
    Augusto Pinochet
    Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

    .
  3. Spaces of debate – In this case think tanks serve as sounding boards for new policies. In Chile
    Chile
    Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

    , during the Pinochet dictatorship, many left wing intellectuals and researchers found ‘asylum’ in think tanks. In Ecuador, think tanks are seen as spaces where politicians can test the soundness of their policies and government plans.
  4. Financial channels for political parties or other interest groups – In Ecuador and Bolivia, German foundations have been able to provide funds to think tanks that work with certain political parties. This approach has provided support to the system as a whole rather than individual CSOs.
  5. Expert cadres of policy-makers and politicians – In Peru after the fall of the Fujimori
    Alberto Fujimori
    Alberto Fujimori Fujimori served as President of Peru from 28 July 1990 to 17 November 2000. A controversial figure, Fujimori has been credited with the creation of Fujimorism, uprooting terrorism in Peru and restoring its macroeconomic stability, though his methods have drawn charges of...

     regime, and in Chile after the fall of Pinochet, think tank staff left to form part of the new governments. In the U.S., the role of leading think tanks is precisely that: host scholars for a few months or years and then see them off to work in policy.


How a think tank addresses these largely depends on how they work, their ideology vs. evidence credentials, and the context they operate in (including funding opportunities, the degree and type of competition they face, their staff, etc.).

This functional approach addresses the inherit challenge of defining a think tank. As Simon James aptly noted in 1998, "Discussion of think tanks...has a tendency to get bogged down in the vexed question of defining what we mean by ‘think tank’ – an exercise which often degenerates into futile semantics. It is better (as in the Network Functions Approach) to describe what the organisation should do. Then the shape of the organisation should follow to allow this to happen. The following framework (based on Stephen Yeo’s description of think tanks’ mode of work) is described in Enrique Mendizabal's blog "onthinktanks":

First, think tanks may work in or based their funding on one or more ways, including:
  1. Independent research: this would be work done with core or flexible funding that allows the researchers the liberty to choose their research questions and method. It may be long term and could focus on ‘big ideas’ with no direct policy relevance. On the other hand, it could focus on a key policy problem that requires a thorough research and action investment.
  2. Consultancy: this would be work done through commissions with specific clients and addressing one or two key questions. Consultancies often respond to an existing agenda.
  3. Influencing/advocacy: this would be work done through communications, capacity development, networking, campaigns, lobbying, etc. It is likely to be based on research based evidence emerging from independent research or consultancies.


Second, think tanks may base their work or arguments on:
  1. Ideology, values or interests
  2. Applied, empirical or synthesis research
  3. Theoretical or academic research


According to the National Institute for Research Advancement
National Institute for Research Advancement
The National Institute for Research Advancement is a Japanese independent policy research think tank based in Tokyo founded in 1974 under the National Institute for Research Advancement Act...

, a Japanese think tank, think tanks are "one of the main policy actors in democratic societies ..., assuring a pluralistic, open and accountable process of policy analysis, research, decision-making and evaluation". A study in early 2009 found a total of 5,465 think tanks worldwide. Of that number, 1,777 were based in the United States and approximately 350 in Washington DC alone.

Criticism


In some cases, corporate interests have found it useful to create "think tanks." For example, The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition was formed in the mid 1990s to dispute research finding a link between second-hand smoke and cancer. According to an internal memo from Philip Morris referring to the United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 (EPA), "the credibility of the EPA is defeatable, but not on the basis of ETS (environmental tobacco smoke) alone. It must be part of a larger mosaic that concentrates all the EPA's enemies against it at one time."

According to the left-wing non-government organization Fair.org, right-wing think tanks are often quoted and rarely labeled. The result is that sometimes think tank "experts" are depicted as neutral sources without any ideological predispositions when, in fact, they represent a particular perspective. In the field of education, think tank publications are subjected to expert review by the National Education Policy Center's
National Education Policy Center
The National Education Policy Center is a non-profit education policy research center located in the School of Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder. It was founded in 2010 and is funded by a variety of governmental organizations, NGOs, and foundations...

 "Think Twice" think tank review project.

Republic of Korea


In Korea, the National Research Council for Economics, Humanities and Social Sciences (NRCS) is a public institution which supported 23 related research institutes in their quest to achieve the effective management and improvement of their research environment under the Prime Minister. It was established with the objective of supporting and fostering research institutes in the area of economics and social science and systematically supervising them in their contributions to the production of high-quality national policy research and the development of a concrete knowledge industry. The NRCS was reorganized in 2005 through the merger of the Korea Council of Economic and Social Research Institutes and the Korea Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences established separately in 1999.

The Center for Free Enterprise (Korea) is a free market think tank located in Seoul, South Korea, with pages in English and Korean.

Bangladesh


In the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 a number of think tanks are working on foreign policy and security issues. Most of these are based in Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

. The Centre for International Affairs is one of them. It was established by Dr. Ataur Rahman Khan, Professor of International Relations in Jahagirnagar University. It is now incorporated with the Department of International Relations, Jahangirnagar University.

China


In the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 a number of think tanks are sponsored by governmental agencies, like Development Research Center of the State Council
Development Research Center of the State Council
Development Research Center of the State Council is a state agency responsible for policy research, strategic review and consulting of issues related to the economic and social development on mainland China.It is an advisory body which recommends policies to CPC Central Committee and the State...

, but still retain sufficient non-official status to be able to propose and debate ideas more freely. Indeed, most of the actual diplomacy
Diplomacy
Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states...

 between China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 has taken the form of academic exchanges between members of think tanks.

Hong Kong


In Hong Kong, those early think tanks established in the late 1980s and early 1990s focused on the political development including first direct Legislative Council members election in 1991 and the political framework of "One Country, Two Systems
One country, two systems
"One country, two systems" is an idea originally proposed by Deng Xiaoping, then Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China , for the reunification of China during the early 1980s...

" manifested in the Sino-British Joint Declaration
Sino-British Joint Declaration
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, formally known as the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong, was signed by the Prime Ministers, Zhao Ziyang and Margaret...

. After the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997, more and more think tanks were established by various groups of intellectuals and professionals. They have various missions and objectives including promoting civic education; undertaking research on economic social and political policies; promoting "public understanding of and participation in the political, economic, and social development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region".

India


India has the third largest number of think tanks in the world. Many are based in New Delhi, and a few are government sponsored. A number of these work on foreign policy and security issues. There are few think tanks like Centre for Civil Society
Centre for Civil Society
The Centre for Civil Society is a Indian think tank and an independent, non-profit, research and educational organisation, established in 1997 and working towards improving the quality of life for all citizens of India by reviving and reinvigorating civil society.In 2004, CSS was awarded the...

 who promote liberal social and economic ideas and others like the Rakshak Foundation, who encourage students to do empirical research and gain first hand experience in public policy issues. Vivekananda International Foundation another example.

Islamic Republic of Iran


Several organizations were established in IR Iran since late 1990s which offer a unique blend of interdisciplinary research. Their focuses have been to provide social managers and make policies. Andishkadeh Yaghin (CBSDA), Atinegaar Think Tank, Nano Health Think Tank, ASEF Think tank, Seywan Institute, and Sharif Think tank & Polytechnic Think Tank are some famous Think tanks in this region. Think tank is called "Andishkadeh" in the Persian language
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

.

Malaysia


Malaysia has a few number of think tanks, most which are government or political party related. Their focuses have been on defence, politics and policies. Notable ones include the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysian Strategic Research Centre (MSRC), International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia , Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) and Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA). IDEAS is Malaysia's first classical liberal think tank which is policy oriented.

Pakistan


Pakistan has a number of think tanks which mainly revolve around internal politics, foreign security issues, and regional geo-politics. Most of these are centered around the capital, Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

, and have been founded by former military and intelligence personnel. Most recently, institutes such as the National University of Sciences and Technology have embarked on creating industrial linkages to create think tanks focusing on industrial and economic growth issues.

Other think tanks concern religion and how its influence could grow in an already religious country. These are centred throughout the country and work under the umbrella of the mammoth Jamaat-e-Islami with headquarters in Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 and has immense global influence, reach and regard among more traditional Muslims. However the Jamat is a political party, and affiliations with reputable think tanks in Pakistan are not clear.

There are several other think tanks as well, such as those concerning the state of education in the country which hold many former or present educationists. There are also think tanks concerning human rights, women rights, labour rights, justice, city development, heritage protection and environmental protection, all headed by the country's urban dwelling, educated elite living, most of whom have studied and/or worked abroad. There remains a vacuum for former high ranking Government officials and party members to contribute to the think tank and policy advocacy process in these areas.

Some notable Pakistani think tanks are the Institute of Policy Studies, the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs and the Corporate Advisory Council (NUST).

Most are known to the general public through seminars and newspaper articles, or conducting workshops and lectures at colleges and universities.

Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka has a number of think tanks that are in the form governmental, non-governmental and corporate organizations. Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs of Sri Lanka (formerly known as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) established a "Foreign Policy Think Tank" to facilitate the professional advancement of the country's foreign policy and the conduct of its external affairs. The structure of government Think Tanks in Sri Lanka are structured with the help of many academics and intellectuals affiliated with the government.

The Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies
Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies
Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies is a Sri Lankan research institute in the area of international affairs. Inaugurated on 10 August 2006 it is named after Lakshman Kadirgamar a former Minister of Foreign Affairs. Its current Director-General is C.A.N....

 is a regionally acclaimed policy-studies institute which is often referred to as a think tank. The Institute of Policy Studies in Colombo is another policy planning related think tank. The International Center for Ethnic Studies (located both in Colombo and Kandy) is another research-related think tank. There are several other focus-research institutes throughout the country that may be referred to as Think Tanks, such as the Marga Institute of Sri Lanka.

Other think tanks in Sri Lanka include the Islamic Think Tank and the Sri Lanka Think Tank – UK. Many private and government universities in Sri Lanka have research-related think tanks.

Belgium


Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 hosts most of the European Institutions, hence a large number of international think tanks are based there. Among them there is the Centre for European Policy Studies
Centre for European Policy Studies
The Centre for European Policy Studies is a think tank based in Brussels, Belgium that undertakes research "leading to solutions to the challenges facing Europe today"...

 (CEPS), Bruegel, the Global Governance Institute (GGI), the European Policy Centre
European Policy Centre
The European Policy Centre is a Brussels-based not-for-profit think tank on European Union affairs, founded in 1996. It is committed to making European integration work and to promoting discussion and wider reflection on the issues facing the EU now and the challenges which lie ahead.The EPC aims...

 (EPC), ThinkYoung, the Friends of Europe
Friends of Europe
Friends of Europe is a Brussels-based, not-for-profit think tank for European Union policy analysis and debate.-History:The organisation, established in 1999, has no political or national allegiance and is independent of the EU institutions...

, the Lisbon Council, the European Centre of International Political Economy
ECIPE
The European Centre for International Political Economy is an independent and non-profit policy research think tank dedicated to trade policy and other international economic policy issues of importance to Europe...

 (ECIPE), and the Centre for the New Europe
Centre for the New Europe
The Centre for the New Europe was a free-market think tank based in Brussels, and focused on EU issues such as economic growth, managing environmental change, health and welfare policy, competition policy, and innovation...

 (CNE). The Centre for Economic Policy Research
Centre for Economic Policy Research
The Centre for Economic Policy Research , a registered charity founded in 1983 by Richard Portes , FBA, CBE, is a network of over 700 researchers based mainly in universities throughout Europe, who collaborate through the centre in research and its dissemination...

 (CEPR), though based in London, is a network of researchers based throughout Europe that contributes actively to European policy debates.

Bulgaria


Bulgaria has a number of think tanks providing expertise and shaping policies. Most active are:
  • Institute of Modern Politics
    Institute of Modern Politics
    Institute of Modern Politics is an independent policy institute based in Sofia, Bulgaria, EU. It is registered under Bulgarian legislation as a public benefit, non-profit foundation. Its team is multidisciplinary and consists of legal practitioners and scholars, social and political science...

     – focused on legislation and parliamentary conduct from human rights and good governance perspective;
  • Center for the Study of Democracy – working on anti-corruption and judicial reform issues;
  • Institute on Market Economy – budget and macroeconomy.

Czech Republic


The Association for International Affairs is a Czech
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 think-tank in the field of international politics and diplomacy. Its focus is on three areas: education (with the largest educational project in Central Europe, the Prague Student Summit
Model United Nations
Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy and the United Nations agenda....

), research (at its Research Center) and international outreach (currently in Belarus and other countries).

Finland


Finland has many interesting small think tanks that provide expertise in very specific fields. Vasemmistofoorumi researches the future of leftism, OK Do is socially-minded design thinking organization, Demos Helsinki is a think tank that researches future society and Culture Crisis Management is political artists' think tank, just to mention few.

In addition to specific independent think tanks, the largest political parties have their own think tank organizations. This is mainly due to support granted by state for such activity. The corporate world has focused their efforts to central representative organization Confederation of Finnish Industries
Confederation of Finnish Industries
The Confederation of Finnish Industries is the largest business organisation in Finland. It was formed in the beginning of 2005 when two private sector organisations, Palvelutyönantajat and Teollisuuden ja Työnantajain Keskusliitto , united...

, which acts as think tank in addition to negotiating salaries with workers unions.

Germany


In Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 all of the major parties are loosely associated with research foundations that play some role in shaping policy, but generally from the more disinterested role of providing research to support policymakers than explicitly proposing policy. These include the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Social Democratic Party
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

-aligned), the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (Christian Democratic Union
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

-aligned), the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung (Christian Social Union
Christian Social Union of Bavaria
The Christian Social Union in Bavaria is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It operates only in the state of Bavaria, while its sister party, the Christian Democratic Union , operates in the other 15 states of Germany...

-aligned), the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (aligned with the Greens), Friedrich Naumann Foundation
Friedrich Naumann Foundation
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation is a German foundation for liberal politics, related to the Free Democratic Party. Established in 1958 by Theodor Heuss, the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany, it promotes individual freedom and liberalism.The Foundation follows the ideals of the...

 (Free Democratic Party-aligned
Free Democratic Party (Germany)
The Free Democratic Party , abbreviated to FDP, is a centre-right classical liberal political party in Germany. It is led by Philipp Rösler and currently serves as the junior coalition partner to the Union in the German federal government...

) and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is a German research foundation associated with The Left party. The organisation was founded in Berlin in 1990 as the "Social Analysis and Political Education Association". It was named after Rosa Luxemburg.The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is actively involved in...

 (aligned with Die Linke).
The German Institute for International and Security Affairs
German Institute for International and Security Affairs
The Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin is a leading German think tank and the founding institution behind the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.- History, Organization and Functions of the SWP :...

 is a prominent example of a German foreign policy think tank. Atlantic Community
Atlantic Community
The Atlantic Community is a German-American project to apply Web 2.0 ideas to transatlantic foreign policy strategy. Launched in April 2007 as an undertaking of the Atlantic Initiative, the Atlantic Community aims at facilitating discussion between young thinkers and established members of the...

 think tank is an example of independent, non-partisan and non-profit organization which was set up as a joint project of Atlantische Initiative e.V. and Atlantic Initiative U.S.

Greece



In Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 there are many think tanks, also called research organisations or institutes.

Italy

  • Bruno Leoni Institute
    Bruno Leoni Institute
    The Bruno Leoni Institute , named after Bruno Leoni, is an Italian libertarian non-profit organization promoting classical liberal ideas in Italy and in Europe.IBL was founded in 2003 by Carlo Lottieri, Alberto Mingardi and Carlo Stagnaro...

  • Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei
  • Future Italy
    Future Italy
    Future Italy is an Italian liberal-centrist think tank formed in 2009 by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, president of Ferrari, former president of FIAT and Confindustria Its director is Andrea Romano...

  • Istituto Affari Internazionali
    Istituto Affari Internazionali
    An Italian non-profit organization, the Istituto Affari Internazionali was founded in 1965 by Altiero Spinelli, its first director, thanks to joint contributions from the Fondazione Olivetti, the cultural and political association Il Mulino and the Nord e Sud Research Center, as well as to...

  • Venezie Institute
    Venezie Institute
    The Venezie Institute is a non-profit, independent, research think-tank based in London. Its mission is to undertake and support institutional, social and economic research based on the principles of individual liberty, institutional integrity, free enterprise, limited government and commonwealth...


Netherlands


All major political parties in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 have state-sponsored research foundations that play a role in shaping policy. The Dutch government also has its own think tank: the Scientific Council for Government Policy
Scientific Council for Government Policy
The Scientific Council for Government Policy is an independent think tank of the Dutch government....

.
One of the oldest think tanks in the Netherlands is the Transnational Institute
Transnational Institute
Transnational Institute is an international think tank for progressive politics. It was established in 1973 in Amsterdam and serves as a network for scholars and activists...

 in Amsterdam (1974).

Poland


There is a large pool of think-tanks in Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

; none of them stands out however. The oldest state-sponsored think tank is the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) established in 1947. The second most important state-sponsored think tank is the Centre for Eastern Studies
Centre for Eastern Studies
Centre for Eastern Studies is a Warsaw-based think tank that undertakes independent research on the political, economic and social situation in Central and Eastern Europe, Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia....

 (OSW), which specialises in the post-Communist space. Among the private think tanks the most important are: the Center for Social and Economic Research
Center for Social and Economic Research
Center for Social and Economic Research is a private, independent, non-commercial research institution founded on the idea that research-based policy-making is vital for the economic welfare of societies. CASE was established in September 1991 by a group of prominent Polish economists actively...

 (CASE) on economic policy, demosEUROPA on EU affairs, the Institute of Public Affairs
Institute of Public Affairs, Poland
Institute of Public Affairs is an independent, non-partisan public policy think tank in Poland. The IPA was established in 1995 to support modernization reforms and to provide a forum for informed debate on social and political issues...

 (ISP) on social policy and the Center for International Affairs (CSM).

Portugal


Contraditório think tank
Contraditório think tank
Contraditório think tank is headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal. It was founded in 2008 by Luís Faria, its president, and Matilde Monteiro Pais, vice-president. Contraditório is a non-profit, independent and non-partisan think tank. -Current activities:...

 was founded in 2008. Contraditório is a non-profit, independent and non-partisan think tank.

Romania


Romania's largest think tank is the Romanian Academic Society
Romanian Academic Society
The Romanian Academic Society is a Bucharest-based think tank and NGO founded in 1996. It is considered close to the right wing of politics.SAR seeks to...

 (SAR), which was founded in 1996.

Russia


Russian think tanks have experienced a precipitous decline over the past five years. Think tanks under the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, analogous to their American counterparts, grew to play a significant role in strategic policy formation. During the era of glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

, begun by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 and continuing under Russian President Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

, public think tanks and policy organizations underwent a brief blooming. However, as economic problems intensified under Yeltsin, and political pressure on public organizations grew under President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

, most of the Russian think tanks have withered away while those who stood closer to Kremlin saw a recent revival.

Spain


In Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, think tanks are progressively raising their public profile. There are now at least 30 think tanks in the country.
One of the most influential Spanish think tanks is the Elcano Royal Institute, created in 2001 following the example of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in the UK, although it is closely linked to (and receives funding from) the Socialist government in power. More independent but clearly to the left of the political spectrum are the Centro de Investigaciones de Relaciones Internacionales y Desarrollo (CIDOB) founded in 1973; and the Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) established in 1999 by Diego Hidalgo and main driving force behind projects such as the Club de Madrid, a group of democratic former heads of state and government, or the Foreign Policy Spanish Edition. Former Prime Minister José Maria Aznar presides over the Fundación para el Analisis y los Estudios Sociales (FAES), a policy institute that is associated with the conservative Popular Party (PP). Also linked to the PP is the Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos (GEES), which is known for its defense- and security-related research and analysis. For its part, the Fundación Alternativas
Fundación Alternativas
Fundación Alternativas is an Spanish progressive think tank created in 1997 in Madrid which aims to discuss issues of interest to citizens and act as a channel of political, social, economic and cultural thought...

 is independent but close to left-wing ideas. The Socialist Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) has created a new think tank called the Fundación Ideas. More specialized think tanks has also emerged in Spain during the past 10 years, like the Future Trends Forum from Bankinter Foundation, a unique think tank in Europe, focused on detecting social, economic, scientific and technological trends and analyzing their possible application and impact on current business models.

Turkey


Turkish think tanks
Turkish think tanks
Turkish think tanks are relatively new. Many of them are sister organizations of a political party or a company. University think tanks are not typical....

 are relatively new. Many of them are sister organizations of a political party or a company. University think tanks are not typical think tanks. Most Turkish think tanks provide research and ideas, yet they play less important roles in policy making when compared with American think tanks. There are at least 20 think tanks in the country. One of the most influential and oldest Turkish think tanks is the International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK).

United Kingdom



In Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, think tanks play a similar role to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, attempting to shape policy, and indeed there is some cooperation between British and American think tanks. For example, the London-based think tank Chatham House
Chatham House
Chatham House, formally known as The Royal Institute of International Affairs, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in London whose mission is to analyse and promote the understanding of major international issues and current affairs. It is regarded as one of the world's leading...

 and the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

 were both conceived at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919
Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris in 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities...

 and have remained sister organizations.

United States think tanks


The first American think tank was the Brookings Institution
Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., in the United States. One of Washington's oldest think tanks, Brookings conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and...

, founded in 1916 as the Institute for Government Research (IGR), with the mission of becoming "the first private organization devoted to analyzing public policy issues at the national level." The Air force set up the RAND Corporation in 1946 to think about air power.

In 1971 Lewis F. Powell Jr. urged conservatives to retake command of public discourse by "financing think tanks, reshaping mass media and seeking influence in universities and the judiciary." In the following decades conservative policies once considered outside the liberal mainstream—such as abolishing welfare, privatizing Social Security
Social Security (United States)
In the United States, Social Security refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program.The original Social Security Act and the current version of the Act, as amended encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs...

, deregulating banking, embracing preemptive war—were taken seriously and sometimes passed into law thanks to the work of the Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded in 1919 by then future U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, an early alumnus of Stanford....

, Heritage Foundation
Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

, the American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

 and smaller tanks.

Think tanks help shape both foreign and domestic policy. They receive funding from private donors, and members of private organizations. Think tanks may feel more free to propose and debate controversial ideas than people within government. The liberal media watchgroup Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting is a progressive media criticism organization based in New York City, founded in 1986.FAIR describes itself on its website as "the national media watch group" and defines its mission as working to "invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity...

 (FAIR) has identified the top 25 think tanks by media citations, noting that from 2006 to 2007 the number of citations declined 17%. The FAIR report reveals the ideological breakdown of the citations: 37% conservative, 47% centrist, and 16% liberal. Their data show that the most-cited think tank was the Brookings Institution
Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., in the United States. One of Washington's oldest think tanks, Brookings conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and...

, followed by the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

, the American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

, the Heritage Foundation
Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies
Center for Strategic and International Studies
The Center for Strategic and International Studies is a bipartisan Washington, D.C., foreign policy think tank. The center was founded in 1962 by Admiral Arleigh Burke and Ambassador David Manker Abshire, originally as part of Georgetown University...

.

A database of articles released by these organizations can be found here: The Think Bank.

Government


Government think tanks are also important in the United States, particularly in the security and defense field. These include the Institute for National Strategic Studies, Institute for Homeland Security Studies, and the Center for Technology and National Security Policy, at the National Defense University
National Defense University
The National Defense University is an institution of higher education funded by the United States Department of Defense, intended to facilitate high-level training, education, and the development of national security strategy. It is chartered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with Navy Vice Admiral...

; the Center for Naval Warfare Studies at the Naval War College
Naval War College
The Naval War College is an education and research institution of the United States Navy that specializes in developing ideas for naval warfare and passing them along to officers of the Navy. The college is located on the grounds of Naval Station Newport in Newport, Rhode Island...

 and the Strategic Studies Institute
Strategic Studies Institute
The Strategic Studies Institute is the U.S. Army's institute for strategic and national security research and analysis. It is part of the U.S. Army War College. SSI conducts strategic research and analysis to support the U.S. Army War College curricula, provides direct analysis for Army and...

 at the U.S. Army War College
U.S. Army War College
The United States Army War College is a United States Army school located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on the 500 acre campus of the historic Carlisle Barracks...

.

The government funds, wholly or in part, activities at approximately 30 Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs). FFRDCs, are unique independent nonprofit entities sponsored and funded by the U.S. government to meet specific long-term technical needs that cannot be met by any other single organization. FFRDCs typically assist government agencies with scientific research and analysis, systems development, and systems acquisition. They bring together the expertise and outlook of government, industry, and academia to solve complex technical problems. These FFRDCs include the RAND Corporation, the MITRE Corporation, the Institute for Defense Analyses
Institute for Defense Analyses
The Institute for Defense Analyses is a non-profit corporation that administers three federally funded research and development centers to assist the United States government in addressing important national security issues, particularly those requiring scientific and technical expertise...

, the Aerospace Corporation, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and other organizations supporting various departments within the U.S. Government.

Similar to the above quasi-governmental organizations are Federal Advisory Committees
Federal Advisory Committee Act
The Federal Advisory Committee Act is a United States federal law , which governs the behavior of federal advisory committees. There are now approximately 1,000 such committees...

. These groups, sometimes referred to as commissions, are a form of think tank dedicated to advising the US Presidents or the Executive branch of government. They typically focus on a specific issue and as such, might be considered similar to special interest groups. However, unlike special interest groups these committees have come under some oversight regulation and are required to make formal records available to the public. Approximately 1,000 these advisory committees are described in the FACA searchable database.

Azerbaijan


According to research done by the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

, there are a total of 12 think tanks in Azerbaijan.

The Center for Economic and Social Development
The Center for Economic and Social Development
Center for Economic and Social Development, or CESD; in Azeri, İqtisadi və Sosial İnkişaf Mərkəzi is an Azeri think tank, non-profit organization, NGO based in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Center was established in 2005....

, or CESD; in Azeri, Azerbaijan, İqtisadi və Sosial İnkişaf Mərkəzi (İSİM) is an Azeri think tank, non-profit organization
Non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

, NGO based in Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

. The Center was established in 2005.

CESD focuses on policy advocacy and reform, and is involved with policy research and capacity building. CESD employs leading researchers prominent in their fields and enjoys a broad regional and international network. CESD has been set up to promote research into domestic and regional economic and social issues, advocacy towards reforms and capacity building for the purpose to positively impact the policy making and improve the participation.

CESD ranked as one of the top think tanks in the world by the University of Pennsylvania. According to the University of Pennsylvania rankings – a result of surveys from 1500 scholars and peer review
Peer review
Peer review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility...

 evaluation – the Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD) is one of the top 25 think tanks in Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe is a term describing former communist states in Europe, after the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989/90. In scholarly literature the abbreviations CEE or CEEC are often used for this concept...

, including CIS. CESD is the only think tank from the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 included in the top think tanks rankings.CESD is also ranked as one of the top 25 domestic economic policy thinks tanks in the world. Only CESD (ranked 19) and the Center for Economic and Social Research (CASE), (Poland, ranked 21) were included in the list from Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe is a term describing former communist states in Europe, after the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989/90. In scholarly literature the abbreviations CEE or CEEC are often used for this concept...

 and CIS countries.

The Economic Research Center
Economic Research Center
The Economic Research Center is a policy-research oriented nonprofit think tank founded in 2000 that strives to facilitate sustainable economic development and good governance in the New Public Management system of Azerbaijan. ERC is the only NGO in Azerbaijan receiving support grant for...

 (ERC) is a policy-research oriented non-profit think tank established in 1999 with a mission to facilitate sustainable economic development and good governance in the new public management system of Azerbaijan. It seeks to do this by building favorable interactions between the public, private and civil society and working with different networks both in local (EITI NGO Coalition, National Budget Group, Public Coalition Against Poverty and etc.) and international levels (PWYP, IBP, ENTO, ALDA, PASOS, WTO NGO Network and etc).
  • Center for Strategic Studies under the President of Azerbaijan

Australia


Most Australian think tanks are based at universities – for example, the Melbourne Institute
The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research is an Australian economic research institute based in Melbourne, Victoria...

 – or are government funded – for example, the Productivity Commission
Productivity Commission
The Productivity Commission is the Australian Government's principal review and advisory body on microeconomic policy and regulation. It is an independent statutory authority in the Treasury Portfolio and responds to references from the Treasurer...

 or the CSIRO.

There are also about 20–30 "independent" Australian think tanks, which are funded by private sources. The best-known of these think tanks play a much more limited role in Australian public and business policy making than in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. However, in the past decade the number of think tanks has increased substantially. Prominent Australian conservative think tanks include The Centre for Independent Studies, the Sydney Institute
Sydney Institute
The Sydney Institute, founded in 1989, is a privately funded, conservative, Australian current affairs forum. The Sydney Institute took over the resources of the Sydney Institute of Public Affairs which ceased activity in the late 1980s...

 and the Institute of Public Affairs
Institute of Public Affairs
The Institute of Public Affairs is a public policy think tank based in Melbourne, Australia. It advocates free market economic policies such as privatisation and deregulation of state-owned enterprises, trade liberalisation and deregulated workplaces, climate change skepticism , and the...

. Prominent progressive Australian think tanks include Per Capita
Per Capita
Per Capita is an independent progressive Australian think tank.-Philosophy:As a progressive, centre-left think tank, Per Capita's approach is to view the role of government as a market designer: setting parameters for a liberal economy to produce better social outcomes.Per Capita's thinking draws...

, the Australia Institute, Lowy Institute and the Centre for Policy Development. The Left Right Think Tank is an independent and non-partisan think-tank. In recent years regionally based independent and non-partisan think tanks have emerged. Some such as the Illawarra's i-eat-drink-think engage in discussion, research and advocacy within a broader civics framework.

Brazil


Brazil hosts pro-market independent think tanks working on public policies. Among them is Instituto Liberdade
Instituto Liberdade
Instituto Liberdade do Rio Grande do Sul is a Brazilian independent think tank, formed by intellectual entrepreneurs, based in Porto Alegre.Instituto Liberdade is not endowed and does not accept government funding...

, a University-based Center at Tecnopuc inside the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul
The Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul is a private non-profit Catholic university, with three campuses, in the Brazilian cities of Porto Alegre, Uruguaiana, and Viamão...

, located in the South Region of the country, at the city of Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre is the tenth most populous municipality in Brazil, with 1,409,939 inhabitants, and the centre of Brazil's fourth largest metropolitan area . It is also the capital city of the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. The city is the southernmost capital city of a Brazilian...

.
Instituto Liberdade is among the Top 40 think tanks in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the 2009 Global Go To Think Tanks Index [, a report from the University of Pennsylvania's Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP).

Fundação Getulio Vargas
Fundação Getúlio Vargas
Fundação Getulio Vargas is a Brazilian higher education institution founded on December 20, 1944. It offers regular courses of Economics, Business Administration, Law, Social Sciences and Information technology management...

 (Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV or GV)) is a Brazilian higher education institution founded on December 20, 1944. It offers regular courses of Economics, Business Administration, Law, Social Sciences and Information technology management. Its original goal was to train people for the country's public- and private-sector management. Other courses began to be offered as the institution grew. It is considered by Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy is a bimonthly American magazine founded in 1970 by Samuel P. Huntington and Warren Demian Manshel.Originally, the magazine was a quarterly...

magazine to be a top-5 "policymaker think-tank" worldwide.

Canada


Canada has many think tanks: the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, Solutions Think Tank, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, created by an Act of Parliament in 1984, is an independent, not-for-profit think-tank on Canada's relations with Asia.-Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada:...

, the Canadian European Economic Council (CEE Council), a Franco-Canadian research centre, Cardus, C.D Howe Institute
C. D. Howe Institute
The C.D. Howe Institute is a Canadian public policy think tank based in downtown Toronto, Ontario. Founded in 1958, the Institute publishes research and hosts conferences on a wide variety of issues in Canadian economic and social policy...

, Centre for International Governance Innovation
Centre for International Governance Innovation
The Centre for International Governance Innovation is an independent, non-partisan think tank on global governance. Led by experienced practitioners and academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements...

, The Conference of Defence Associations, Conference Board of Canada
Conference Board of Canada
The Conference Board of Canada is a not-for-profit Canadian organization dedicated to researching and analyzing economic trends, as well as organizational performance and public policy issues....

, Caledon Institute of Social Policy
Caledon Institute of Social Policy
The Caledon Institute of Social Policy, also Caledon Institute, is a private Canadian think tank focused on social policy. It was founded in 1992.It is primarily funded by ....

, Council of Canadians, Canada West Foundation, Fraser Institute
Fraser Institute
The Fraser Institute is a Canadian think tank. It has been described as politically conservative and right-wing libertarian and espouses free market principles...

, Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-partisan, policy research institute in Canada that leans to the political left. It concentrates on economic policy, international trade, environmental justice and social policy. It is especially known for publishing an alternative...

, Institute for Public Economics, Canadian Council on Social Development, Institute for Research on Public Policy
Institute for Research on Public Policy
The Institute for Research on Public Policy is Canada's oldest non-partisan public policy think tank. Based in Montreal and founded in 1972, it publishes Policy Options, edited by L. Ian MacDonald...

, Canadian Employment Research Forum, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research enables Canadian researchers to work on international research teams that are custom built to transform their fields of study...

, Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation
Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation
The Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation is an independent, non-partisan public policy research centre located at the University of Toronto School of Public Policy and Governance....

, North-South Institute, Canadian International Council
Canadian International Council
The Canadian International Council / Conseil International du Canada is a non-partisan, nationwide council established to strengthen Canada's role in international affairs...

, Parkland Institute, Canadian Labour and Business Centre, Pembina Institute
Pembina Institute
The Pembina Institute is a Canadian not-for-profit think tank focused on developing innovative sustainable energy solutions. Founded in 1985, the Institute has offices in Calgary, Drayton Valley, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Yellowknife....

, Public Policy Forum
Public Policy Forum
The Public Policy Forum , is an independent, non-profit Canadian think-tank for public-private dialogue . The organization's stated aim is "to serve as a neutral, independent forum for open dialogue on public policy"...

, Canadian Tax Foundation
Canadian Tax Foundation
The Canadian Tax Foundation is an independent tax research non-profit organization with over 7,700 individual and corporate members in Canada and abroad...

, Western Centre for Economic Research, Centre for Trade Policy and Law. Each have their specific areas of interest with some overlaps.

The Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN) is a Canadian think-tank that has disbanded.

Ghana


Ghana's first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah was the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1952 to 1966. Overseeing the nation's independence from British colonial rule in 1957, Nkrumah was the first President of Ghana and the first Prime Minister of Ghana...

, set up various state-supported think tanks in the 1960s. By the 1990s, a variety of policy research centers sprang up in Africa set up by academics who sought to influence public policy in Ghana.

One such think tank was The Institute of Economic Affairs, Ghana
The Institute of Economic Affairs, Ghana
The Institute of Economic Affairs , Ghana, is a public policy think tank based in Accra, Ghana. It was founded by a Ghanaian economist, Dr. Charles Mensa in 1989 at a time when the country was governed by a military regime...

 which was founded in 1989 at a time when the country was ruled by the Provisional National Defence Council
Provisional National Defence Council
The Provisional National Defence Council was the name of the Ghanaian government after the People's National Party's elected government was overthrown by Jerry Rawlings, the former head of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council. This was on December 31, 1981. It remained in power until January 7,...

. The IEA undertakes and publishes research on a range of economic and governance issues confronting Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 and Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

. It has also been involved in bringing political parties together to engage in dialogue. In particular it has organised Presidential debates every election year since the Ghanaian presidential election, 1996
Ghanaian presidential election, 1996
The Ghanaian presidential elections were held on 7 December 1996. Parliamentary elections were held on the same day. The result was a victory for the incumbent, Jerry Rawlings of the National Democratic Congress. Voter turnout was 78.3%.-Results:...

.

Israel


There are many think tank teams in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

:
  • Reut Institute
    Reut Institute
    The Reut Institute is a policy group in Tel Aviv designed to provide real-time long-term strategic decision-support to the Government of Israel....

  • The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Adva Center for Social Policy
  • Israel Democracy Institute
    Israel Democracy Institute
    The Israel Democracy Institute , established in 1991, is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank in Jerusalem, Israel. -History and goals:...

  • The Institute for National Security Studies
  • The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies
  • The Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute
  • The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel
  • The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
  • AIX Group
    Aix Group
    Aix Group is an Israeli-Palestinian-international economic study team hosted by the Université Paul Cézanne-Aix-Marseille III in France in coordination with the Peres Center for Peace in Israel and DATA Center for Studies and Research in the Palestinian Authority...

    -Joint Palestinian-Israeli-International Economic Working Group
  • Floersheimer Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem
  • Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • International Institute for Counter-Terrorism – IDC Herziliya
  • Israel Center for Third Sector Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev
    Negev
    The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

  • Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information
  • The Milken Institute
  • Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
    Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
    The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies is an interdisciplinary research center based in Israel and devoted to the study of the modern history and contemporary affairs of Africa and the Middle East....

    , Tel Aviv University
    Tel Aviv University
    Tel Aviv University is a public university located in Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel. With nearly 30,000 students, TAU is Israel's largest university.-History:...

  • The Shalom Hartman Institute
  • The Begin-Sadat Center – Bar Ilan University
  • The Center for the Study of Philanthropy in Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • The Institute for Advanced Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • The Jewish Arab Center (JAC), University of Haifa
    University of Haifa
    The University of Haifa is a university in Haifa, Israel.The University of Haifa was founded in 1963 by Haifa mayor Abba Hushi, to operate under the academic auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem....

  • The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI)
  • The Maurice Falk Institute for Economic Research in Israel, The Hebrew University
  • The Shalem Center

Jamaica


The Planning Institute of Jamaica is an agency of the Office of the Prime Minister that is "committed to leading the process of policy formulation on economic and social issues and external co-operation management to achieve sustainable development."

Morocco

  • The Amadeus Institute
    Amadeus Institute
    Amadeus Institute is a think tank and policy organization based in Morocco and founded by Brahim Fassi Fihri, Mekki Lahlou, and Younes Slaoui. The organization produces research and analysis on strategic issues concerning Morocco, North Africa and Middle East, the Mediterranean region, Africa and...

     is an independent Moroccan think tank, founded in 2008 and based in Rabat. Its acts as a laboratory of ideas, a brainstorming platform and a creator of debates. It came to life in order to contribute to the Moroccan and Maghreban public debate. It also acts as the Voice of the South to communicate its vision and concerns at the global level. The Amadeus Institute
    Amadeus Institute
    Amadeus Institute is a think tank and policy organization based in Morocco and founded by Brahim Fassi Fihri, Mekki Lahlou, and Younes Slaoui. The organization produces research and analysis on strategic issues concerning Morocco, North Africa and Middle East, the Mediterranean region, Africa and...

     has a double role: analysis and creating debates. It operates as a laboratory of ideas and a unique creator of debates. It is at the same time a centre of reflection, dialogue proposition and consultancy, but also a platform of exchanges, meetings and North-South and South-South cooperation.

  • Mazagan InstituteMazagan Institute promotes the development of intercultural dialogue, bringing people together through culture and the development of cultural activities based on the diversity of disciplines, thematic approaches, stakeholders, forms, audiences, and places of achievement in promoting youth participation in projects related to urban culture and social development ... Awaken in them the notion of citizenship and social integration ... a conception of culture for which the Institute Mazagan engages and advocates.

Mexico


IMCO – The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad A.C.) is a think-tank that focuses on public-policy research and solutions. IMCO was created in 2004 with the goal of promoting public policies to boost Mexico's competitiveness -defined as a country's capacity to attract and keep investments and talent. IMCO regularly undertakes projects with various international organizations such as the World Bank and its Doing Business report, the OECD and the Inter American Development Bank (IADB).

Fundación Ethos is a non profit, non partisan think tank, committed to the analysis of issues of relevance for Mexico and Latin America’s development, as well as to the evaluation and design of technically sound public policies.

CIDAC
CIDAC
The Center of Research for Development is a not-for-profit, think tank that undertakes research and proposes viable policy options for Mexico's economic and democratic development...

 – The Center of Research for Development (Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo, Asociación Civil) is a not-for-profit think tank that undertakes research and proposes viable policy options for Mexico's economic and democratic development. The organization seeks to promote open, pluralistic debate pursuing: the Rule of Law & Democracy, market economics, social development, and strengthening Mexico-U.S. relations.

CIDE, acronym for Economic Theaching and researching center (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas), is one of the most important think tank institutes. The researching lines are the "public policies", "public choice", "democracy", and "economy".

Uzbekistan


CED – Center for Economic Development (Центр Содействия Экономическому Развитию) is a think-tank which major tasks are: analytic support in economic reforming and development in Uzbekistan; improving knowledge and skills of the subjects of economic development; assistance in productive dialogue between the government, civil society and private sectors on the economic development matters.
Key projects: Preparation of the National human development report for Uzbekistan, Sociological "portrait" of the Uzbek businessman, Preparation of an analytical report on export procedures optimization in Uzbekistan,
various industry and marketing researches in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

Venezuela


Centro Internacional Miranda

Centro de Divulgación del Conocimiento Económico para la Libertad (CEDICE).

Hayman El Troudi

See also

  • Collective intelligence
    Collective intelligence
    Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision making in bacteria, animals, humans and computer networks....

  • Futurists
    Futurists
    Futurists or futurologists are scientists and social scientists whose speciality is to attempt to systematically predict the future, whether that of human society in particular or of life on earth in general....

  • List of think tanks
  • Overton window
    Overton window
    The Overton window, in political theory, describes a "window" in the range of public reactions to ideas in public discourse, in a spectrum of all possible options on a particular issue. It is named after its originator, Joseph P...

  • Strategic studies
    Strategic studies
    Strategic studies is an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to topics concerning the relationship between politics, geography and natural resources, economics, and military power, such as the role of intelligence, diplomacy and threats in the preparation and use of force...

  • TED (conference)
    TED (conference)
    TED is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading"....

  • Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP)
    Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP)
    Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program is a non-profit program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. TTCSP was established at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in 1989...


Additional reading

  • Abelson, Donald E. Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002.
  • Boucher, Stephen, et al., Europe and its think tanks; a promise to be fulfilled. An analysis of think tanks specialised in European policy issues in the enlarged European Union, Studies and Research No 35, October, Paris, Notre Europe, 2004 http://www.notre-europe.eu/uploads/tx_publication/Etud35-en.pdf
  • Cockett, Richard, Thinking the unthinkable: think tanks and the economic counter revolution; 1931 – 1983, London: Fontana, 1995
  • Dickson, Paul. "Think Tanks". New York: Ballantine Books, 1972. 397 pages.
  • Goodman, John C. "What is a Think Tank?" National Center for Policy Analysis, 2005.http://www.ncpa.org/pub/special/20051220-sp.html
  • Fan, Maureen. "Capital Brain Trust Puts Stamp on the World", Washington Post (16 May 2005): B01.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/15/AR2005051501035.html
  • Patrick Dixon
    Patrick Dixon
    Dr Patrick Dixon is an author and business consultant, often described as a futurist. In 2005 he was ranked as one of the 20 most influential business thinkers alive according to the Thinkers 50...

    . Futurewise
    Futurewise
    Futurewise is a book on global trends written by the futurist Patrick Dixon in 1998, with new editions in 2001, 2003 and 2007. Dr Patrick Dixon has been ranked as one of the 20 most influential business thinkers alive today by Thinkers 50, and is author of 11 other books including Building a...

     – Six Faces of Global Change
    – issues covered by Think Tanks and methodology for reviewing trends, impact on policy 2003): Profile Books
  • Hellebust, Lynn and Kristen Hellebust, editors. Think Tank Directory
    Think Tank Directory
    The Think Tank Directory: A Guide to Independent Nonprofit Public Policy Research Organizations profiles more than 1,100 national and state-based think tanks in the United States....

    : A Guide to Independent Nonprofit Public Policy Research Organizations.
    Topeka, Kansas: Government Research Service, 2006 (2nd edition).
  • Lakoff, George
    George Lakoff
    George P. Lakoff is an American cognitive linguist and professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972...

    . Moral Politics
    Moral Politics
    Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think is a 1996 book by cognitive linguist George Lakoff. It argues that conservatives and liberals hold two different conceptual models of morality. Conservatives have a Strict Father morality in which people are made good through self-discipline and...

    : What Conservatives Know That Liberals Don't.
    Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
  • Ladi, Stella. Globalisation, Policy Transfer And Policy Research Institutes, Edward Elgar, 2005.
  • Mendizabal, Enrique and Kristen Sample (2009) "Dime a quien escuchas... Think Tanks y Partidos Politicos en America Latina", ODI/IDEA: Lima
  • McGann, James (2006) Comparative Think Tanks, Politics And Public Policy, Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Ranquet, Robert. Think Tanks and the National Security Strategy Formulation Process: A Comparison of Current American and French Patterns, 1997. http://www.dau.mil/pubs/arq/97arq/ranque.pdf
  • Smith, James. A. The Idea Brokers: Think Tanks and the Rise of the New Policy Elite, New York: The Free Press, 1991.
  • Snider, J.H. "Strengthen Think Tank Accountability", Politico (3 February 2009).http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18306.html
  • Stone, Diane. 'RAPID Knowledge: ‘Bridging Research and Policy’ in International Development at the Overseas Development Institute', Public Administration and Development, 29, 2009: 303–15.
  • Stone, Diane. Capturing the Political Imagination: Think Tanks and the Policy Process, London: Frank Cass, 1996
  • Stone, Diane. 'Garbage Cans, Recycling Bins or Think Tanks? Three Myths about Policy Institutes', Public Administration, 85(2) 2007: 259–278
  • Stone, Diane, and Andrew Denham, eds. Think Tank Traditions: Policy Research and the Politics of Ideas. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.
  • Struyk, Raymond J. Managing Think Tanks: Practical Guidance for Maturing Organizations, Budapest, Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative Washington DC., Urban Institute 2002
  • UNDP – United Nations Development Program. Thinking the Unthinkable, Bratislava, UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, 2003

External links