Do Think Tanks Matter?: Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes
Do Think Tanks Matter? evaluates the influence and relevance of public policy institutes in today's political arena. Many journalists and scholars believe the explosion of think tanks in the latter part of the twentieth century indicates their growing importance in the policy-making process. This perception has been reinforced by directors of think tanks, who often credit their institutes with influencing major policy debates and government legislation. Yet the basic question of how and in what way they influence public policy has, Donald Abelson contends, frequently been ignored.
Abelson studies the experiences of think tanks in the United States, where they have become an integral feature of the political landscape, and in Canada, where their numbers have grown considerably in recent years but where, compared to their U.S. counterparts, they enjoy less prominence in policy-making. By focusing on the policy cycle, issue articulation (that is, getting issues on the political agenda) and policy formation and implementation (actually affecting the outcome of policies already on the political agenda), he argues that think tanks have sometimes played an important role in shaping the political dialogue and the policy preferences and choices of decision-makers, but often in different ways and at different stages of the policy cycle.
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Abelson academics advise agenda American Enterprise Institute American think tanks Board of Canada Brookings Institution budget Bush C.D. Howe Institute Caledon Institute campaign Canada West Foundation Canadian Centre Canadian Council Canadian Institute Canadian Tax Foundation Canadian think tanks Carter chapter CIIA Clinton Conference Board conservative constitutional conferences constitutional reform convey their ideas Council of Canada Council on Foreign created Development discussion Economic Council Edwin Feulner election elite established expertise Feulner former Fraser Institute funding Heritage Foundation Hoover Institution Ibid impact important Institute for Research institute's International Peace IRPP journalists Lindquist Mackenzie Institute media exposure North-South Institute parliamentary committees participate policy cycle policy experts policy institutes policy-making community policy-making process policymakers political president presidential candidates Public Policy Forum RAND Reagan rely Research on Public role scholars sector staff Strategic tanks in Canada Trilateral Trilateral Commission u.s. think tanks United Washington