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 18: Atlantic Drift: a baseline model for American and supranational think tanks

Christopher J. Rastrick

Abstract

In the midst of public policy and political changes in Washington and Brussels, their respective think tank communities (as well as many other polities undergoing populist epochs) are grappling with how to navigate this uncertainty. Whilst the scale and permanency of these changes are unfolding, it is yet to be seen how effectively think tanks have adapted to new realities (or what the benchmarks of ‘effective’ may be). Before appreciating the extent to which American and supranational think tanks have amended their core business and have been impacted by these broader movements, it is necessary to explicate the ‘starting point’ from which these changes can be assessed. This chapter provides the basis from which American and supranational think tank landscapes are being transformed and challenged, from their roles, priorities, strategies, funding, constituencies and other variables, with the goal of serving as a baseline analysis of where American and supranational think tank communities are launching – or stubbornly treading – into their new political climates.

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