Indicators via representation at the Allied Social Sciences Association meetings.
In the past few years, I have read more policy analyses from Washington DC based think tanks than usual. I’ve assessed some of these reports on Econbrowser over the past year, including some by the Heritage Foundation [H1] [H2] [H3], American Enterprise Institute [A1], Peterson Institute for International Economics [P1], [P2], Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies [Ph1] [Ph2]. I thought it would be interesting to see how many economists from these think tanks attended the Allied Social Sciences Association meetings in Chicago, as an indicator of the level of rigor and location near the mainstream of these research groups.
Here’s my rough tabulation of how many individuals from each research group, as listed in the preliminary program.
Figure 1: Number of participants at ASSA 2012. EPI is Economic Policy Institute, CAP is Center for American Progress, CEPR is Center for Economic and Policy Research, AEI is American Enterprise Institute. Source: ASSA and author’s tabulations.
Over course, one year is not necessarily representative. I would’ve liked to do an average over several years, but only ASSA 2011 is online, so I’ve presented below the two year average.
Figure 2: Average number of participants at ASSA 2011 and 2012. EPI is Economic Policy Institute, CAP is Center for American Progress, CEPR is Center for Economic and Policy Research, AEI is American Enterprise Institute. Source: ASSA 2012, ASSA 2011 and author’s tabulations.
Update, 1/18, 3:05PM: Roll Call (via HuffPost) notes, in “Brookings Tops Study of Most Influential Think Tanks”:
The Brookings Institution ranked once again as the world’s top think tank in an annual survey out today.
The report also ranks think tanks by category. Cato and Heritage placed in the top five for economic policy.