In democracies, several actors besides the political representatives are involved in the policy making process. Among those are NGOs, consumer protection organizations, industrial and other lobbies, and also think tanks. These latter institutions are normally independent organizations that produce policy analyses, forecasts, and recommendations. Especially in the US, where the policy environment despite political bipartisanship is very diverse, these players have traditionally been present at all stages of the policy making process. But what is their real impact on final policy?
The following paper will examine the US's approach to the current World Trade Organization's (WTO) DOHA Round. From November 20th to December 2nd 2009, the WTO’s Seventh Ministerial Conference was held in Geneva. The general theme for discussion was "The WTO, the Multilateral Trading System and the Current Global Economic Environment". Though this meeting was not intended as a real negotiation session, many hoped (in vain) that the round would produce a substantive assessment of where the round stood and how it could possibly proceed more effectively.
The piece examines the reactions of two of the most important US-think tanks: The Brookings Institution (associated with the Democratic Party) and the Heritage Foundation (associated with the Republican Party). When it comes to perceived influence, the Heritage Foundation is by far leading: 42% of interviewed people consider it as the single most important think tank in the United States, followed by the Brookings Institution with 28%. Both institutions produced a publication on DOHA in December, soon after the conference. Referring to these publications, the article will examine the influence of think tanks on trade policy.
Jakobine Rosa Martha Janucek is a student in the dual Masters Program in International Affairs Sciences in Paris and MGIMO in Moscow.
Related Material from Atlantic Community:
- Pavol Demes: Think Tanks Shape EU Policy
- Corina Ciambur: The EU-Mexico Global Trade Agreement: Stepping Stone or Stumbling Block?