Think Tanks

Archive Report

Shaping Public Policy

The charter of The Brookings Institution, one of the nation's leading and oldest think tanks, declared that the institution would conduct “scientific research” in “the broad fields of economics, government administration and the political and social sciences generally”; that this would involve determining and interpreting relevant “economic, political and social facts,” and that the work would be done “without regard to and independently of the special interests of any group in the body politic, either political, social or economic.” Much has changed, of course, since the 1920s. The idea that, the facts can be found and interpreted so disinterestedly is now widely regarded with considerable skepticism. Disinterestedness, nevertheless, remains the ideal at Brookings, as at many other think tanks.

In recent years, however, ...

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