Handbook on Think Tanks in Public Policy
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Handbook on Think Tanks in Public Policy

Edited by Donald E. Abelson and Christopher J. Rastrick

This important Handbook is a comprehensive guide to the role, function and perceived impact of policy research-oriented institutions in North America, Europe and beyond. Over 20 international scholars explore the diverse and eclectic world of think tanks to reveal their structure, governance and unique position in occupying a critical space on the public-policy landscape.
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Chapter 6: Association to institute: AEI through four presidencies

Karlyn Bowman


This chapter examines the backgrounds, approaches and the strengths of four individuals who headed the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), one of Washington, DC’s most prominent think tanks. The author begins with William J. Baroody, Sr., who was not the first president of AEI but who brought the Institute to prominence beginning in the 1950s. Whilst the presidents were different in significant ways, they were all committed to maintaining the health of the free-enterprise system. All of them believed that the competition of ideas is fundamental to a free society, and AEI became known as a place for serious and civil debate. All faced different challenges during their tenures. The author worked under these presidents and continues to work at the Institute today. This personal account reflects on how the Institute has grown and changed over 50 years.

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