In 2015, and based on a series of posts on think tanks and elections in Latin America, On Think Tanks compiled a broad set of projects that think tanks around the world have put into action at times of elections in their countries. We also provided supporting material for a panel focusing on the role of think tanks in elections at the Think Tank Initiative’s Global Exchange Conference that took place in Istanbul in mid February 2015.
More than 20 experiences from think tanks around the world have been compiled so far: four in Africa, two in Asia, six in Europe, seven in Latin America, one in the United States and one global project. Initiatives range from projects that seek to influence the electoral discussion by raising the quality of the debate by introducing new research, to efforts to organise debates among candidates both at the national or regional level, research studies on electoral reforms or results, civic education campaigns to help citizens understand some features of the elections, and projects that evaluate each candidate’s proposals.
They are from:
- Africa Research Institute (ARI) / UK
- Brasilian Center of International Relations (CEBRI) / Brasil
- The Brookings Institution/ United States
- Budapest Institute (BIPA) / Hungary
- Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) / Bangladesh
- Centre for the Studies of Developing Societies (CSDS) / India
- Centro de Análisis y Difusión de la Economía Paraguaya (CADEP) and Instituto Desarrollo (ID) / Paraguay
- Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC) / Argentina
- Comparative Studies of Electoral Systems (CSES) / World
- Consorcio de Investigación Económica y Social (CIES) / Peru
- Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) / Georgia
- Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) / South Africa (field offices in Central African Republic, Kenya, Mali, Madagascar, Mozambique and Somalia)
- Expert Forum / Romania
- Fedesarrollo / Colombia
- FUSADES / El Salvador
- Grupo FARO / Ecuador
- Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) / Ghana
- Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) / UK
- Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape / South Africa
- Risk Monitor / Bulgaria
- Romanian Academic Society (SAR) / Romania
For each of these experiences we asked think tanks to share their objectives, the different components of the initiative (research, events, debates, and communication outputs), a summary of the results, and who the supporters of the efforts (both partners and donors) were.
Moreover, we decided to expand our series of experiences on think tanks and elections and invite thinktankers around the world to share their organisations’ initiatives, thus fostering cross-learning with their peers and other interested audiences. The series was able to deepen some of the experiences gathered in the webpage, but also invite other voices to reflect on the broad spectrum of efforts that think tanks can put into practice focusing on elections.
In addition to the Latin American series, that includes cases from Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Colombia, the experiences of the extended series include:
- The IEA presidential debates: 15 years of upholding electoral accountability, by Jean Mensa, Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
- CSDS: Five decades of Understanding Electoral Politics in India, by Sanjay Kumar, Director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).
- PLAAS seeks to influence land reform policy through media debate, by Rebecca Pointer, Information and Communication Officer at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS).
- Social scientists have a real opportunity to influence what politicians say in the run-up to the General Election, by Jonathan Breckon, Head of the Alliance for Useful Evidence. This post was originally published at The Impact of Social Sciences blog run by the LSE Public Policy Group.
- FUSADES and 2012 elections in El Salvador: electoral reforms and promotion of the exercise of suffrage, by Luisa Solano, Researcher at the Department of Political Studies of the Fundación Salvadoreña para el Desarrollo Económico y Social (FUSADES).
- Think tanks and the UK general election: who lost, who won and who decided not to play? This post was originally published at Rowland Manthorpe at Think Tank Review.
Altogether, both the website and the series of experiences intend to provide a space of reference/inspiration for those think tanks seeking to develop initiatives with a focus on elections. Moreover, we are working on more ideas to expand the experiences and enrich the learning platform with new resources. We seek to collaborate with experienced think tanks and donors in the field throughout this process.
A final call for those who woud like to contribute and benefit of the lessons shared in this platform. 2015 was an intense electoral year with presidential, legislative, regional and local elections in many countries (see Table below).
If your think tank (or other organisations you know) works with similar initiatives at the time of elections, please email me and we will be happy to include it in the webpage so others can benefit from your experience.
Elections 2015 around the world
Trinidad & Tobago
|United Arab Emirates
|Central African Republic||Colombia|