On measuring the cost effectiveness of think tanks

20 December 2010

I am no a fan of measuring the value of think tanks by looking at website hits and press mentions but that does not mean that these do not help to tell a part of the story. This press release by CEPR, based on a study by FAIR: Right Ebbs, Left Gains as Media ‘Experts’, of the cost effectiveness of the most widely cited US think tanks provides an interesting take on this.

I guess that it makes sense as a comparator between similar organisations -at least between organisations that are playing under more or less the same rules; as is the case in the US think tank scene.

This does not mean that this type of analysis would work across borders -comparing, say the US with he UK, or countries within Latin America or Africa.

For instance, this morning, Nick Scott, ODI’s online communications manager sent us this Books Google Ngram comparing ODI with the Institute of Development Studies, the Center for Global Development and Brookings. It is not only an unfair comparison between the UK and the US; but also between the international development focus of the first three and the more general focus of the latter.