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Think Tanks and Their Impact

Think Tanks and Their Impact

Abstract

Think tanks (or institutes for policy research) as we know them today are essentially a post Second World War development. One of the first and most famous institutes of the genre, RAND Corporation in the US, can lay a credible claim to having invented the appellation. One Sunday in the late 1940s one of RAND's most renowned analysts, Dr. Albert Wohlstetter, looked around at a number of his colleagues gathered around his swimming pool and declared: “Here we all are, in deep discussion around the think-tank.” Gradually the term acquired currency first merely as a nick-name, and then, in more recent years, it has been embraced even by academic institutions whose leaders wish to emphasize that they have an applied-policy wing with which government and business people can interact usefully and profitably. Think tanks are often credited with having wide-ranging powers and a direct influence on government policies, especially in democratic countries. In the United States the neo-conservatives who have risen to such power under President George W. Bush were nurtured and given critical mass by several like-minded research institutes in the 1990s. Money flowed in from conservative Republican sources and facilitated the development of policy papers on
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