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Do Think Tanks Matter?

If you're engaged in some level of policy-making or research with the government, it's likely that you've attended an event hosted by a think tank or policy forum such as Brookings, Heritage, or the Wilson Center.

Have you found these events to be helpful? Where you able to network or learn something new and relevant? Or were you looking for a free lunch in a forum that is largely a refuge for former political appointees and practitioners?

Recently, I helped start a project that makes it easier for people in DC to tap into all the major policy and research events. The project, DC Linktank, is a comprehensive listing of upcoming events emailed weekly.

The idea was to make these institutions more accessible to everyday practitioners and policy wonks. Think tanks and similar organizations are suppose to help shape the debate by offering perspectives and solutions rooted in research. The problem is that, not unlike political parties, many of these organizations are driven by ideology.

Despite the biases, I'd rather sit in a think tank lecture rather than get my information from populist politicians and their cable news platforms.

What about you? Do you and your colleagues actively look for events and think tank research to help you with your work?

If you have any ideas on making think tanks matter more, share your comments or send an email to [email protected].

Sign up to receive weekly event updates at http://dc.linktank.com.

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