25 January 2012

Top Global Think Tanks

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania has released its annual global rankings of think tanks around the world (here in PDF). Here are some top line findings.

Which countries have the most think tanks (global total = 6,545)?
1 United States 1815
2 China 425
3 India 292
4 United Kingdom 286
5 Germany 194
6 France 176
7 Argentina 137
8 Russia 112
9 Japan 103
10 Canada 97
What are the top ranked think tanks worldwide?
1. Brookings Institution – United States
2. Chatham House (CH), Royal Institute of International Affairs – United Kingdom
3. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – United States
4. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) – United States
5. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) – United States
6. RAND Corporation – United States
7. Amnesty International – United Kingdom
8. Transparency International – Germany
9. International Crisis Group (ICG) – Belgium
10. Peterson Institute for International Economics – United States
11. German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und
Politik SWP) – Germany
12. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) – United Kingdom
13. Heritage Foundation – United States
14. Cato Institute – United States
15. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars – United States
There is plenty more information on the global think tank "ecosystem" in the full report, here in PDF.


  1. What is the purpose of making up this report? Is it grant generation or just busy work for those involved?

    They even tell you not to pay any attention to their claims. This leaves the reader in the same state as if the report hadn't even been done. In other words. Make your own judgment as to reliability of information provided by any think tank.

    About 1/3 of the way through their report they say this.

    "I would like to point out that the inclusion of an institution in the universe of leading
    think tanks does not indicate a seal of approval or endorsement for the institution, its
    publications, or programs on the part of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program.
    Likewise a failure to be nominated does not necessarily indicate a lack of a quality and
    effectiveness or poor performance."

  2. There is no data about manpower and budgets of these think tanks apart from the category "best think tank with less than $5m"