Penn report ranks world’s top think tanks

The results are in and the Brookings Institution has been named “Think Tank of the Year” in the “Global Go-To Think Tank Rankings,” an annual report issued by Penn’s Think Tanks and Civil Society Program (TTCSP) in the School of Arts & Sciences (SAS). The rankings were announced at a Jan. 22 news conference hosted by the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

Launched in 2006, the report has become an authoritative source of information for public policy research institutes. TTCSP Director James G. McGann calls this year’s report “the most comprehensive yet” in identifying and recognizing global centers of excellence in public policy research.

“In the world filled with tweets and soundbites that are often superficial and politically charged,” McGann says, “it is critical to know where to turn for sound policy proposals that address the complex policy issues that policymakers and the public face.”

An international panel of some 1,950 scholars, public and private donors, policymakers, and journalists ranked more than 6,800 think tanks across a variety of categories.

Think tanks were judged on a set of 28 criteria, including quality, reputation, research and analysis produced, academic performance, website and digital presence, and overall impact on society.

The Brookings Institution is No. 1 on the list of “Top Think Tanks World Wide – U.S. and Non U.S.” Chatham House, a U.S.-based think tank that focuses on international policy, came in second. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a U.S.-based global network of policy research centers in Russia, China, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, ranked third.

The Brookings Institution also led the list of “Top Foreign Policy and International Affairs Think Tanks.” The Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. was ranked first in “Top Defense and National Security Think Tanks.” In the category of  “Best New Think Tank,” Instituto PVBLICA (Brazil) was No. 1.

The full report as well as archived reports from previous years is available on the TTCSP website. A video introducing this year’s Index can be viewed at

Think Tank