Think Tanks, Public Policy, and the Politics of Expertise

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Cambridge University Press, May 23, 2005 - Political Science - 272 pages
Think tanks are nonprofit policy research organizations that produce and promote analysis and expertise in order to be influential with policymakers. Beginning in the 1970s, their number exploded in the United States. The proliferation of think tanks represented a hope that lawmaking, in fact, might become better informed and more reasoned as a result of their expert contributions. Instead, as this book documents, the known ideologies of many, especially newer, think tanks contributes to an environment in which they are often little different from advocacy organizations, promoting points of view and preordained policy prescriptions. As a result, these organizations fail to achieve the substantive influence that they might, and their behavior has helped undermine the credibility with which experts and expertise are generally viewed by policymakers.

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2 The Evolution of Think Tanks
3 Political Credibility
4 The Policy Roles of Experts
Making Research Matter
6 Think Tanks Experts and American Politics
Appendix A Details on the Characteristics Perceptions and Visibility of Think Tanks
Appendix B List of InDepth Interviews
Works Cited

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About the author (2005)

Andrew Rich is an assistant professor of political science at City College of New York. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. Professor Rich taught at Wake Forest University from 1999 to 2003.

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