Do think tanks influence government? In a new article (read for free here), Anna Longhini presents research suggesting that we should turn that question around. Comparing the role of foreign policy think tanks in the UK and Italy, Anna finds that the think tanks orient their activities to make the best of the opportunities for influence they face. In the UK, government is relatively open to think tank ideas, holding various open and closed-door briefings to elicit their suggestions. In Italy government is less willing to listen, so think tanks try instead to influence journalists, academics and companies.
Anna was a visiting researcher at the New Political Communication Unit in 2014. She recently completed her PhD at Scuola Normale Superiore (Firenzi).