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Global 'Go-To Think Tanks' Report -- An Introduction

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Today, TTLA kicks off a full week devoted to the research by, and the words of, Dr. James G. McGann, PhD, and his team of interns.


McGann is the director of UPenn's Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. For the second consecutive year, the program has provided manna from tank-watchers' heaven -- a survey of the worldwide think tank scene, complete with statistics, pie charts, definitions, conclusions, and rankings, lots of rankings.

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The report is titled the "2008 The Global "Go-To Think Tanks": The Leading Public Policy Research Organizations In The World."


The RAND Corporation (see here and here, for example) was the big local winner, as the Santa Monica-based institution placing fourth in the overall U.S. rankings. Palo Alto's Hoover Institution tied for tenth place. RAND in particular also earned high ranks in various subcategories. (More on California and the report coming to TTLA on Wednesday.)


In fact, the next four days, TTLA plans to feature words from a recent interview with McGann. Today, though, we begin with a primer and with a few links. [Editor's Note: This is Part 2 of 6 scheduled posts. Look below for the full schedule.]


Here and here are TTLA's past references to McGann and his previous work towards helping define, "What is a think tank?"


Here's the article McGann wrote in the January/February issue of Foreign Policy, summarizing the 'Global Go-To' results.


And here's the page from where users can download the .PDF of the 53-page report.


To peruse that .PDF is to learn -- among much more esoterica -- that:



  • The Brookings Institution, in Washington, is considered the #1 think tank in the United States.

  • Chatham House, In London, is the top international tank. (Motto: "Independent thinking on international affairs.")

  • At the time of the survey, there were 5,465 tanks globally -- 33% of them located in the United States.

  • Of those U.S. tanks, more than nine out of ten came into existence since 1951, and nearly six out of ten new since 1983.

  • There are 628% more tanks in the U.S. than in the U.K., the runner-up by volume. (More on why that is later this week from McGann.)

  • A majority of tanks are based at universities.

  • There are no think tanks located in Turkmenistan. Taiwan has 37. Peru, 24. There are two in North Korea -- not surprisingly, neither are independent, as McGann tells TTLA Thursday.




More tomorrow, and beyond...


James McGann Week on TTLA:>



Illustration copyright and courtesy Richard Nielsen, 2009

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