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Soc Sci 172AW: American Culture; Contemporary Legal Problems  

Course guide covering constitutional law issues
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Haas, Eric M. "Think Tanks." Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice. 2007. SAGE Publications. 7 Nov. 2008. < >.

Think tanks are organizations that have significant autonomy from governmental interests and that synthesize, create, or disseminate information, ideas, or advice to the public, policymakers, other organizations, and the press. They range from multimillion-dollar national operations to small groups of part-time employees who work on specific issues at the local level. More than 1,000 think tanks operate in the United States.

Think tanks are a recent phenomenon in institutional knowledge production and dissemination. The first think tanks appeared at the beginning of the 1900s (e.g., Hoover Institution, 1919; Council on Foreign Relations, 1921; and Brookings Institution, 1927). More appeared in the 1940s and 1950s (e.g., American Enterprise Institute, 1943, and RAND, 1948), and they proliferated during the 1970s and 1980s (e.g., Heritage Foundation, 1973; Cato Institute, 1977; Manhattan Institute, 1978; Heartland Institute, 1984; Economic Policy Institute, 1986; Goldwater Institute, 1988; and Progressive Policy Institute, 1989).

U.S. think tanks can be categorized into three main types based on the work they do and the authority they possess: (1) contract research think tanks, (2) academic think tanks, and (3) advocacy think tanks ...


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