The Fifth Estate: Think Tanks, Public Policy, and Governance

The Fifth Estate: Think Tanks, Public Policy, and Governance

by James G. McGann

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What role do think tanks play in shaping public policy and public discourse in the United States?

In The Fifth Estate: Think Tanks, Public Policy, and Governance, James G. McGann illustrates how policymakers have come to value the independent analysis and advice provided by think tanks and why it has become one of the defining characteristics of the American political system. Drawing on case studies in both foreign and domestic policy, McGann clarifies the correlation between think tank research and the policies enacted by the past three presidential administrations. He also describes a phenomenon known as “the revolving door,” where think tanks provide former government officials an opportunity to share insights from public service, remain involved in policy debates, and continue to provide advice and commentary.

Based on the history and the level of involvement seen today, the influence of think tanks is unlikely to diminish in the coming years.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780815728306
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Publication date: 09/13/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

James G. McGann is senior lecturer in International Studies and director of the Think Tank and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also author of several books, including, most recently, Democratization and Market Reform in Developing and Transitional Countries: Think Tanks as Catalysts, and the coeditor of How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 Think Tanks and Governance in the United States 5

2 The Revolving Door 62

3 Think Tanks in Action: Domestic Policy Case Studies 79

4 Think Tanks in Action: Foreign Policy Case Studies 114

5 New Challenges and Trends Facing U.S. Think Tanks 149


A The United States Think Tank Field Guide 175

B Categories of Think Tank Affiliations 177

C Profiles of Leading U.S. Think Tanks, 2010-11 179

Notes 189

Index 219

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