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Think tanks

  • Leeson, Peter T.
  • Ryan, Matt E.
  • Williamson, Claudia R.

This paper is the first to investigate the relationship between think tanks and economic policy empirically. We use panel data for the US states to examine state-based, free market (SBFM) think tanks’ relationship to eight key economic policy objectives. We find little evidence that SBFM think tanks are associated with more “pro-market” policies along the policy dimensions they aim to influence. However, we find stronger evidence that SBFM think tanks are associated with more “pro-market” citizen attitudes about the role of government vs. markets in economic policy. These results suggest that if think tanks’ connection to economic policy is important at all, its importance may be long term and operate via the channel of “ideas.” In contrast to think tanks, we find evidence that political lobby groups are associated with current policy. This may reflect the fact that, unlike think tanks, lobby groups are legally permitted to lobby for policy changes directly. Thus they don’t need to engage in a long-run “battle of ideas” to secure desired policy outcomes.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

Volume (Year): 40 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 62-77

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:40:y:2012:i:1:p:62-77
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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  1. James Gwartney & Robert Lawson, 2003. "What have we learned from the measurement of economic freedom?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Oct, pages 217-238.
  2. James D. Gwartney & Robert A. Lawson & Randall G. Holcombe, 1999. "Economic Freedom and the Environment for Economic Growth," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 155(4), pages 643-, December.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, 09.
  4. Stroup, Michael D., 2007. "Economic Freedom, Democracy, and the Quality of Life," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 52-66, January.
  5. Stroup, Michael D., 2008. "Separating the influence of capitalism and democracy on women's well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 560-572, September.
  6. Sobel, Russell S., 2008. "Testing Baumol: Institutional quality and the productivity of entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 641-655, November.
  7. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
  8. Nathan J. Ashby & Russell S. Sobel, 2006. "Income Inequality and Economic Freedom in the U.S. States," Working Papers 06-08 Classification-, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
  9. James D. Gwartney & Randall G. Holcombe & Robert A. Lawson, 2004. "Economic Freedom, Institutional Quality,and Cross-Country Differences in Income and Growth," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 24(3), pages 205-233, Fall.
  10. repec:cto:journl:v:24:y:2004:i:3:p: is not listed on IDEAS
  11. James D . Gwartney & Randall G . Holcombe & Robert A . Lawson, 2006. "Institutions and the Impact of Investment on Growth," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 255-273, 05.
  12. Michael Hoffman, 2009. "What explains attitudes across US trade policies?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(3), pages 447-460, March.
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