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 20: Supranational think tanks and the research agenda ahead

Christopher J. Rastrick


With considerable domestic and global ‘shocks’ being faced by polities around the world – especially within the European integration project –think tanks, scholars and think tank observers are reconsidering and re-evaluating many core assumptions and standard operating procedures that think tank communities have historically employed. The multifarious changes within their respective geo-political contexts provides an opportune pause to reconsider our understanding of how and why these organizations seek to influence and impact policymaking climates. Notwithstanding systemic challenges to global policy agendas, this chapter focuses on think tanks operating within the European Union (EU) and specifically those operating within Brussels. In particular, the chapter’s goal is to propose a reorientation of this literature, especially as the European integration project reckons with Brexit. The research agenda for supranational think tanks needs to focus on pressing structural and systemic features of the present-day European public policy landscape, including the impacts of horizonal and vertical relationships, think tanks’ political culture, as well as the impacts of Brexit, a fractured transatlantic relationship and the impacts of global populist developments on EU integration.

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