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Public Administration and Policy: Think Tanks

Think Tanks

Think tank is a popular term used to describe organizations conducting public policy research. Almost all U.S. think tanks are privately funded, although some, such as the Rand Corporation, may also rely on government funding to support their research activities. During the last few decades the number of think tanks has proliferated as they have become important players in the policy making process. The NIRA World Directory of think tanks provides Internet access to think tanks. Public Interest Group Profiles, 2006-2007 published by Congressional Quarterly, Inc. is an excellent source for information on United States think tanks. Speakout.com provides information about current U.S. public policy issues as well as links to public policy research organizations and advisory groups. The Almanac of Policy Issues is another excellent source for links to authoritative information on U.S. policy issues. The policylibrary is more international in focus and includes links to recent research papers on various policy issues. Links to the Internet sites of some of the major U.S.think tanks are provided below.

Abt Associates Inc.

Abt Associates is a for profit consulting and research organization. It has been contracted by government agencies to evaluate a wide range of domestic programs. Many of its reports are available from the web site.

American Enterprise Institute

AEI was founded in 1943. It conducts research on a wide range of domestic and international topics. Its ideological perspective is moderately conservative. It publishes books, reports, and an online journal, The American..

Bipartisan Policy Center

The Center promotes bipartisan solutions to current public policy issues with a focus on economic, energy, health, national security, and governance issues.

The Brookings Institution

Brookings was founded in 1916. It supports research on domestic and international public policy issues. It has a moderately liberal perspective. It publishes booksand report some of which are available for free..

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Endowment "is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advacing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States." Its working papers and reports are available from its web site.

Cato Institute

The CATO Institute was founded in 1977. It maintains a libertarian perspectiveand supports research on domestic and international issues. It publishes books,reports, and the periodicals; The CATO Journal and Regulation.

Center for National Policy

Founded in 1981, the CNP supports research and educational activities on a range of domestic and foreign issues. It has a New Democrat perspective and publishes books and research reports.

Center for Policy Research

The Center for Policy Research is affilated with the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. It sponsors research on a range of domestic issues including aging, disability, social welfare, income security, public finance. Many of its working papers and other publications are available from this Internet site.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities was founded in 1981. It focuses on domestic public policy issues affecting low and moderate income groups. It maintains a liberal viewpoint and publishes books and research reports.

Economic Policy Institute

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonpartisan but liberal leaning research organization focusing on the economic issues of low and middle income Americans, such as minimum wage, living wage and family income.

Free Congress Research and Education Foundation

The Free Congress Foundation was founded in 1977 by its current president, Paul M. Weyrich. It supports research and other activities intended to promote conservative governmental and social reform.

The Heritage Foundation

Founded in 1973, the Heritage Foundation supports research on a range of domestic and foreign issues. A distinctly conservative organization with ties to influential Republicans. It publishes books, research reports, and a bimonthly journal. The full text of some reports can be found at Research Issues.

Hoover Institution

Founded in 1919, the Hoover Institution is affiliated with Standord University. It has a distinctly conservative orientation and supports research on a broad range of domestic and international topics, but with a particular emphasis on free market economics. It publishes books and research reports.

Hudson Institute

Founded in 1961, the Hudson Institute leans toward a conservative perspective on issues of national importamce. It publishes books, research reports and periodicals.

Independent Institute

The Independent Institute was founded in 1986. It supports research and other activities concerning economics and social issues. The institute is nonpartisan but somewhat conservative in orientation. It publishes books, research reports, and periodicals, including the quarterly, The Independent Review.

Institute for Policy Research

The Institute for Policy Research is affiliated with Northwestern University. It conducts research on domestic policy issues. Many of its working papers and policy briefs are available from the web site. Research

The Manhatten Institute for Policy Research

The Manhattan Institute was founded in 1978. It is nonpartisan but with a moderate to conservative bent. Principal areas of research are the legal system, education reform, and domestic issues especially as they relate to urban problems. It publishes research reports, books, and a quarterly periodical, City Journal.

Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation

MDRC is a nonprofit social policy research organization. It evaluates welfare programs and other projects intended to improve the lives of low income people. Many of its reports are available free of charge from this web site.

National Center for Policy Analysis

Founded in 1983, the NCPA conducts research investigating private alternatives to government regulation. It focuses on domestic issues and publishes books and research reports.

Northeast-Midwest Institute

The Northeast-Midwest Institute publishes studies on a variety of public policy issues as they pertain to the Northeast-Midwest region. Of particular interest are their reports dealing with the region's allocation of federal spending.

Peter C. Peterson Institute for International economics

A nonpartisan think tank founded in 1981. Conducts research on international economic issues.

Pew Center on the States

Conducts research on policy issues of interest to state governments. Look under "Topics" and "Initiatives" for research reports. Also operates Stateline.Org and excellent source for keeping abreast of current state policy issues.

Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

Promotes research on technology and science issues confronting society with a particular emphasis on the public policy aspects.

Public Policy Institute of California

"The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research....Research focuses on three program areas: population, economy, and governance and public finance."

Rand Corporation

Founded in 1946, Rand is one of the larger and most respected think tanks. It does not have a clear ideological bias and publishes books and research reports on a wide variety of domestic and international topics.

Rockefeller Institute of Government

Founded in 1982, the Rockefeller Institute focuses on state and local issues with a particular emphasis on public finance. It is affiliated with the State University of New York(SUNY).

The Urban Institute

Founded in 1968, the Urban Institute concentrates on domestic issues. It is liberal but nonpartisan, and publishes books, research reports, and periodicals.

Subject Guide

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Angela Hackstadt
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University at Albany
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