Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Think Tanks & Public Policy Groups
Politicians and political parties operate within governmental systems to effect change. But there are other groups outside of the governmental structure, which strive to change public policy through raising public awareness of issues, publishing scholarly research on particular topics, and drafting policy proposals. These public policy groups, often referred to as think tanks, are usually funded through grants and endowments. Here are some links to a few well-known think tanks.
The Brookings Institution
One of the better-known think tanks, this group " seeks to improve the performance of American Institutions, the effectiveness of government programs, and the quality of U.S. public policies."
The Cato Institute
Founded in 1977, this self-described "market liberal" foundation issues opinions on a wide variety of topics, including education reform, natural resources, banking policy, and foreign policy.
Center for American Progress
Founded in 2003, CAP deals in major domestic issues such as Economic Policy, Education, Health, Security and International Affairs, and Social Policy.
Council on Foreign Relations
This organization is focused on issues of foreign-policy. It's membership list has included senior politicians, more than a dozen Secretaries of States, CIA directors, bankers, lawyers, professors and media figures.
The Heritage Foundation
One of the foremost conservative think tanks in the United States.
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
A group founded by President Herbert Hoover in 1919, this is one of the nation's oldest think tanks. An outgrowth of study on WWI, its focus has expanded from foreign policy and international relations issues to a wide range of policy areas.
The Hudson Institute
Some of the areas of focus for this not-for-profit research organization are commitment to individual responsibility, the role of technology in our society and "an abiding respect for the importance of values, culture, and religion in human affairs."
Human Rights Watch
Founded in 1978, this organization conducts research and advocacy on human rights.
Kaiser Family Foundation
Founded in 1948, this foundation focuses on major healthcare issues in the US.
This website summerizes a varitey of important and "hot" topics in a pro/con format. It can be very usefuel when trying to find a research topic.
Public Agenda is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization committed to providing, "unbiased and unparalleled research that bridges the gap between American leaders and what the public really thinks about issues." The site attempts to clarify a number of policy issues from both the policymakers' and the public's perspective.
The Rand Corporation
One of the best known research organizations dedicated to improving policy and decision-making through research and analysis.
The Reason Foundation
Through its think tank, the Reason Public Policy Institute, the foundation applies a free-market approach to several policy areas; including infrastructure and transportation; urban land use, environmental quality, and education.
The United States Institute of Peace
A congressionally sponsored, nonpartisan organization which seeks to promote world peace via non-violent conflict resolution and other benevolent means.
Originally established to come up with solutions to the problems facing America's large cities; the Institute has expanded its areas of concern to national and international issues.
World Directory of Think Tanks
This page is presented by the National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) in Japan. It provides basic directory information on think tanks in countries throughout the world. There are also links to those think tanks, which maintain web sites.