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Posts tagged ‘Politics’

Supporting think tanks series: synthesis of the think pieces -(possible) recommendations

This second post based on a series of think pieces written on supporting think tanks focuses on practical advice for the Knowledge Sector Initiative and similar efforts. It suggests that greater attention must be place on the environment of think tanks and other policy research actors. Of particular importance is to understand the real relationship between donors, grantees, and any contractors charged with delivering the initiatives' missions.

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What do partisan think tanks seek?

Non-partisan think tanks are praised by their neutrality. But, as Claudio Jones argues, partisan think tanks play an important and necessary function in any democracy -certainly in emerging ones. In this post he outlines some characteristics of partisan think tanks, the challenges they face, and the functions they can fulfil.

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‘Think tanks in America’ by Thomas Medvetz

Thomas Medvetz 2013 book, Think Tanks in America, describes think tanks as political operators and provides a great account of how they go about claiming and gaining political power for themselves and their sector. The book provides a critical history of think tanks in the US that shines a new light on them; from technocratic and neutral knights to ideological and partisan knaves (not all of course). Read the book.

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Supporting think tanks series: Independent research within government

In this post, a Policy Analyst working in the Select Committee Office in the UK Parliament argues that to be effective research needs to be done within, and not outside, politics. The art of being political while remaining party neutral is one that has to be mastered by public policy research bodies.

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Politics and Ideas: a new think net

Politics & Ideas, a new think net focused on the study of the relationship between these two fundamental forces in policymaking has been launched. This is a collaborative initiative open to interested and committed researchers and practitioners in the South

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Research uptake: what is it and can it be measured?

Is research uptake measurable? Can it be planned? Or is it just luck? This blog post reviews a number of issues that ought to be considered when trying to measure it. The post argues that instead of measuring it, we should attempt to understand it.

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What to do when governments’ political repression also erodes intellectual capacity

When regimes attempt to repress political dissent they may also get rid of their future policymaking capacity. This is what may be happening in Russia and other countries. What can donors and researchers do to maintain that capacity for the future?

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Politics, money, and think tanks: is it really a game changer?

J.H. Snider argues that the appointment of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to head the Heritage Foundation marks a revolutionary moment: but only if it spurs a public discussion that leads to greater transparency and accountability.

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The politics of the evidence based policy mantra

Andries Du Toit's paper on the politic of research is one of the best studies on the links between research and policy that I have ever read. It is also one of the few coming from a developing country and written from that perspective -and in English which that will help in getting some of the points it makes across.

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The role of think tanks in the South Korean presidential race

The Korea Herald has recently published a piece on how South Korean presidential hopefuls for this year´s presidential race have been increasingly relying on public policy institutes for their campaigns. Think tanks in South Korea, according to Seoul National University politics professor Kang Won-taek, are for the most part linked to the state or to prominent political figures, such as the three strongest presidential candidates this year, Park Geun-hye, Ahn Cheol-soo and Moon Jae-in. They are closely involved in developing the candidates´ campaign strategies, and those members of the think tank that are key players in the campaign usually end up in important posts in the new administration.

Park Geun – hye, for example, is relying mostly on a think tank called the Nation’s Future Research Centre, launched in 2010. They were responsible for creating the “battle of welfare policies” that took over the general elections this year. In 2007, they were also behind Park´s pledge to reduce taxes and regulations and to create a stronger legal order.

Park´s party comrades also enjoy support from several other think tanks:

Park’s in-house rival Gyeonggi Gov. Kim Moon-soo works closely with Gyeonggi Research Institute, where Seoul National University professor Jwa Seung-hee is the head of the board of trustees. The institute has reportedly been designing strategies for Kim to differentiate himself from frontrunner Park.

As for Moon Jae – in, the candidate the for the main opposition party Democratic United Party, he is supported by the Damjaengi Forum, which is chaired by former Korean Red Cross president Han Wang – sang. And while Ahn Cheol-soo, dean of the Seoul National University Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology, has not publicly declared his political aspirations and intentions yet, many are speculating that even though the Ahn Cheol – soo Foundation and AhnLab Inc. remains his strongest base, he will be seeking mentoring mostly from certain individuals.

It is not only these presidential candidates that are closely linked to think tanks, however. DUP senior adviser Sohn Hak – kyu has received much attention from the East Asia Future Foundation, while former chairman of the DUP Chung Sye-kyun campaigns on the platform designed by People’s Turn.

As we can see, these think tanks are acting not so much as independent research institutions but as support groups for specific politicians. While it is an interesting development, it still raises some concern regarding these institutions´ credibility and intellectual autonomy. In order to assure this, they must show that they are capable of taking the initiative and guaranteeing the quality of their research and proposals.



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