This article is about a type of organisation. For the science museum, see Thinktank, Think social problems 2013 pdf Science Museum.
For the camera bag manufacturer, see Think Tank Photo. A think tank, policy institute, or research institute is an organisation that performs research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, technology, and culture. Most policy institutes are non-profit organisations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax exempt status. Other think tanks are funded by governments, advocacy groups, or corporations, and derive revenue from consulting or research work related to their projects.
The following article lists global policy institutes according to continental categories, and then sub-categories by country within those areas. These listings are not comprehensive, given that more than 6,800 think tanks exist worldwide. According to University of Southern California historian Jacob Soll, the term “think tank” is modern, but “it can be traced to the humanist academies and scholarly networks of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Soll notes that “in Europe, the origins of think tanks go back to the 800s, when emperors and kings began arguing with the Catholic Church about taxes. A tradition of hiring teams of independent lawyers to advise monarchs about their financial and political prerogatives against the church spans from Charlemagne all the way to the 17th century, when the kings of France were still arguing about whether they had the right to appoint bishops and receive a cut of their income.
He also writes, independent “research teams became common in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when states often depended on independent scholars and their expertise. Several major current think tanks date to the 19th century.
1831 in London, and the Fabian Society in Britain dates from 1884. The oldest American think tank, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was founded in Washington, D. 1910 by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie charged trustees to use the fund to “hasten the abolition of international war, the foulest blot upon our civilization.
The Brookings Institution was founded shortly thereafter in 1916 by Robert S. Brookings and was conceived as a bipartisan “research center modeled on academic institutions and focused on addressing the questions of the federal government.
After 1945, the number of policy institutes increased, with many small new ones forming to express various issue and policy agendas. Until the 1940s, most think tanks were known only by the name of the institution. During the Second World War, think tanks were often referred to as “brain boxes” after the slang term for skull. The phrase “think tank” in wartime American slang referred to rooms where strategists discussed war planning.
Later the term “think tank” was used to refer to organizations that offered military advice, such as the RAND Corporation, founded in 1946 as an offshoot of Douglas Aircraft and became an independent corporation in 1948. For most of the 20th century, independent public policy institutes that performed research and provided advice concerning public policy were found primarily in the United States, with a much smaller number in Canada, the UK and Western Europe. Although think tanks existed in Japan for some time, they generally lacked independence, having close associations with government ministries or corporations. There has been a veritable proliferation of “think tanks” around the world that began during the 1980s as a result of globalization, the end of the Cold War, and the emergence of transnational problems.
Two-thirds of all the think tanks that exist today were established after 1970 and more than half were established since 1980. The effect of globalisation on the proliferation of think tanks is most evident in regions such as Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and parts of Southeast Asia, where there was a concerted effort by the international community to assist in the creation of independent public policy research organizations. A recent survey performed by the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program underscores the significance of this effort and documents the fact that most of the think tanks in these regions have been established during the last 10 years. Presently there are more than 4,500 of these institutions around the world.
Many of the more established think tanks, having been created during the Cold War, are focused on international affairs, security studies, and foreign policy. Think tanks vary by ideological perspectives, sources of funding, topical emphasis and prospective consumers.