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Political Economy: Think Tanks

What is a Think Tank?

Think tanks are institutions often affiliated with universities, foundations, advocacy groups, and non-governmental organizations that generate policy research and analysis. Many are ideological; others strive to be independent and non-partisan.   

Selected Think Tanks

The Brookings Institution. Conduct research on ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global levels.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Network of research centers dedicated to peace through analysis & development of policy with government, business, & civil society.

Center for American Progress. Progressive research and advocacy organization "dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action."

Center for Strategic and International Studies.  International policy institute focused on defense, security; and many other transnational challenges.

Chatham House. The Royal Institute of International Affairs. Independent policy institute based in London dedicated to help build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world.

Council on Foreign Relations. Important US Foreign Policy Institute and publisher of Foreign Affairs

Harvard Center for International Development. Conducts research at international development at all academic levels.  See their working papers.

Hoover Institution. Think tank at Stanford specializing in economic policy and international affairs.

International Peace Research Institute Oslo. Conducts research on peaceful relations between states, groups and people

National Bureau of Economic Research. Private, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to conducting economic research.

Pew Research Center. Nonpartisan institute conducting public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research.

Peterson Institute for International Economics.  Nonpartisan research institution devoted to study of international economic policy.

Public Policy Institute of California. Seeks to inform and improve public policy in California through independent nonpartisan research.

RAND Corporation.  Addresses security, health, education, sustainability, growth, and development. Much research conducted on behalf of public & private grantors and clients.

Resources for the Future. Independent nonpartisan organization conducting policy research concerning natural resources and the environment.

Russell Sage Foundation. Works on improvement of social and living conditions in the United States.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).  International institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

Think Tank Search and Discovery

Think Tank Search Engine. From Harvard Kennedy School Library.

Think Tanks and NGOs. List of non-profit research institutes and NGOs around the world.

Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources. Directory of sources on international affairs, international relations, international studies, global studies, and global education.

Global Go To Think Tank Index Reports. Comprehensive think tank overview publication from the University of Pennsylvania, up[dated annually.

Evaluating Resources

Some Think Tanks are funded by groups with ideological perspectives. Check to see whether an organization is conservative, progressive, bipartisan, or affiliated with an advocacy group.

Evaluating Information Found on the Internet. From Johns Hopkins University.

Evaluating Web Pages - Techniques to Apply and Questions to Ask. Exhaustive and informative guide on the subject, from the UC Berkeley Teaching Library.

Critically Analyzing Information Sources. A quick guide to help you determine the relevance and authority of a resource from Cornell University.