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 17: Think tanks and political-knowledge regimes in the Southern Cone: case studies from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay

Adolfo Garcé García y Santos and Camilo López Burian

Abstract

The strong think tank system in the Southern Cone region was built in overlapping layers. Universities were the first institutions created to produce research and provide government cadres. The second layer centred around the state and was influenced by positivism during the last decades of the nineteenth century and by developmentalism in the mid-twentieth century. With the new wave of democratization and a turn towards the market in the 1980s, a third layer was created. Though these trends were similar across the region, important differences are examined through four cases. Argentina is the country with the largest think tank system. However, the combination of instability and polarization has conspired against the influence of these institutions in policymaking. Brazil and Chile have strong technocratic traditions. Thus, Brazilian and Chilean think tanks have more influence than their Argentine and Uruguayan counterparts.

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