Policy Sciences

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 105–124 | Cite as

Think tanks and strategic policy-making: the contribution of think tanks to policy advisory systems

Research Article

Abstract

Think tanks have proliferated in most Western democracies over the past three decades and are often considered to be increasingly important actors in public policy. Still, their precise contribution to public policy remains contested. This paper takes the existing literature in a new direction by focusing on the capacity of think tanks to contribute to strategic policy-making and assessing their particular role within policy advisory systems. We propose that strategic policy-making capacity requires three critical features: high levels of research capacity, substantial organizational autonomy and a long-term policy horizon. Subsequently, we assess the potential of think tanks to play this particular role in policy-making, using empirical evidence from structured interviews with a set of prominent Australian think tanks.

Keywords

Think tanks Strategic policy-making Policy advisory systems Policy advice Policy capacity 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research School of Social SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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