Summary of Think Tanks, Public Policy, and the Politics of Expertise

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Think Tanks, Public Policy, and the Politics of Expertise book summary
Think tanks are known for their research, their general conservatism and their credibility - until they start taking checks.


8 Overall

6 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


If you study any complex issue being debated in the U.S. Congress or state legislatures, you are likely to find a torrent of reports from independent think tanks. Who are these groups and where did they come from? Good question - and one that political scientist Andrew Rich answers quite thoroughly. This often fascinating study shines its bright light on think tanks, largely overlooked players in the political process. At times, though, Rich’s study tantalizes with generalizations, and then it tends toward scholarly restraint at exactly the moment when the reader wants some juicy details. getAbstract suggests this book to anyone who wants to shape - or really understand - the public debate on complex policy issues.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How think tanks have evolved;
  • How experts wield influence in policy-making; and
  • How think tanks may undermine their own credibility.


Rethinking Think Tanks: The Experts Become Advocates
Think tanks such as the RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation and the Progressive Policy Institute have been helping shape American public policy for decades. A think tank is a nonprofit, independent group...
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About the Author

Andrew Rich is an assistant professor of political science at City College of New York. He holds a doctorate in political science from Yale University, and he taught at Wake Forest University from 1999 to 2003.

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