Establishing Government Think Tanks


I contributed with Widya Sutiyo to this review written  by Jessica Mackenzie of different models of government think tanks.

Key points from the paper:

  • Government think tanks have several benefits over external think tanks, including their strong understanding of government programs and priorities (which helps them to tailor advice to actual needs) and an ability to coordinate across government departments.
  • There is no single “best fit government think tank model”, however the models described in this paper show that a clear mandate with a clear reporting structure defined from the outset is important for sustainability.
  • Government think tanks can become “briefing machines” focused solely on reacting to requests, rather than producing analysis and strategy that help inform policy. Long-term focus helps to create an institutional identity.
  • There is a current regional trend in Southeast Asia to hire staff with mixed skill sets for government think tanks as it is believed that this can help to produce research which is of high quality and more flexible to different audiences’ needs.
  • While the primary purpose of government think tanks is to provide policy analysis to senior policy makers, government think tanks can develop communication strategies to inform also the public of their findings. This can help to generate public support for policy change.

You can access the paper here >>

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