Efficacy of think tanks in influencing public policies: the case of Bangladesh

Title: Efficacy of think tanks in influencing public policies: the case of Bangladesh
Authors: Rashid, Ahmed Khaled
Date: 2012
Abstract: Think tanks refer to non-profit, non-partisan organizations engaged in the study of public policy. The number and significance of think tanks have grown in developed as well as developing countries. The objective of this paper is to study the contextual and organizational challenges and constraints faced by think tanks in Bangladesh. The paper argues that while think tanks have been visible in the policy discourse in Bangladesh through fostering policy debates and advocating policy proposals, their direct impact on policy outcomes remains limited. The methodology of this paper is secondary literature review. The papers uses elitist, statist, pluralist and institutional approaches of studying think tanks in Bangladesh. One of the key assumptions of this paper is that think tanks are a part of a larger civil society (NGOs, associations, business groups) that populate policy community and compete for visibility and influence. The paper demonstrates that the role of think tanks is undermined due to challenges emerging from the political environment that is not conducive to objective and evidence based policy suggestions. Research findings are often interpreted through the prism of politics. Furthermore, the interface between the state and civil society, of which think tanks are part of, is not always facilitative. Often the interrelations of think tanks with bureaucracy and international donors can hinder the efficacy of think tanks in influencing policies. At the same time, a number of think tanks are institutionally weak and face challenges in funding, attracting talented researchers, and retaining long-term research focus. Nevertheless the involvement of think tanks to epistemic and policy communities are critical in generating policy ideas, fostering public debates, innovative ideas and acting as a bridge between research and policy formulation. It is imperative for think tanks to adopt new techniques for resource mobilization. The think tanks can potentially focus attention to wider policy community, increasing responsiveness to the ‘end users’ of research. Much more emphasis can be given to ‘intermediate’ influences - building capacity, wider networking and interacting with wider base of policy-makers.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/23808
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers
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