Evaluating, rating, ranking and comparing think tanks is an attractive endeavour. Simple comparisons reinforce a narrow understanding of think tanks that help neither them nor their supporters to learn and act on the multiple challenges that they face. More complicated comparisons offer greater opportunities for learning, allowing think tanks to find relevant lessons even from organizations with few common characteristics. Central to this challenge is the effort to determine what is - and is not - a think tank. This chapter explores the definition of think tanks, reflecting on how each one affects the manner in which we compare them and the effects of these comparisons. It argues that more limited definitions of think tanks make comparisons easier, whilst more nuanced discussions about the label’s boundaries make comparisons harder. The latter offer greater opportunities for learning within and across policy communities, allowing think tanks to find relevant lessons even from organizations with few, if any, common characteristics.
|Title of host publication||Handbook on think tanks in public policy|
|Editors||Donald E. Abelson , Christopher J. Rastrick|
|Publisher||Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.|
|Number of pages||17|
|State||Published - 16 Mar 2021|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Donald E. Abelson and Christopher J. Rastrick 2021.