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Organizations that conduct research on social, economic, political or other issues, publishing their findings to influence government policies

A think tank or policy institute is a research institute and organization that performs research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, technology and culture. Most policy institutes are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax exempt status. Other think tanks are funded by governments, advocacy groups or corporations, and derive revenue from consulting or research work related to their projects.

Featured Groups

  • Atlas Network - Helps to develop a network of worldwide market-oriented think tanks
  • Cato Institute - Non-profit public policy research foundation in Washington, DC
  • Independent Institute - Aims to redefine the debate over public issues
  • Reason Foundation - Promotes libertarian principles, including free markets, individual liberty, and the rule of law

Notable Groups


Selling Ideas, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 21 Dec 2005
Discusses the 2005 incident involving Bandow and Jack Abramoff and reminds us of previous incidents of left-vs.-right attacks (and vice versa), concluding with quotes from Mises' Liberalism (1927)
The innovation of the think tank was the first step toward helping the [political] parties put a veneer of science and public spiritedness on their looting. Beyond their pretensions, however, it is the dreadful reality that government-centered think tanks are nothing more than intellectual covers for special interests, and this is true of the right and the left. Today their main function is to launder money so that intellectuals and others ... can appear to avoid overt conflicts of interest. How can you know the difference between the fake and the real institutions of research? Their proximity to power is the best clue.
The think tank boom, by Peter Orvetti, Libertarian Party News, Feb 2000
Discusses the proliferation of state-level "libertarian/conservative think tanks" between 1985-2000, the activities in pursuit of their goals and various examples and quotes from some of the public policy organizations
[O]ver the last 15 years—and especially during the decade of the '90s—there has been a veritable explosion in libertarian/conservative think tanks. As the year 2000 dawns, there are more than 50 such public policy organizations, spread across 35 states. Half of them did not exist at the beginning of the 1990s ... Now, they spread like a free-market archipelago across the USA: The Independence Institute in Colorado. The Ethan Allen Institute in Vermont. The Southeastern Legal Foundation in Georgia. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan. And the Washington Institute Foundation in Washington state, to name just a few.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Think tank" as of 3 Dec 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.