Brookings Institution Tops List of Penn’s 2013 Global Think Tank Index

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania has released its seventh annual “Global Go To Think Tanks Report,” the most comprehensive ranking of the world’s top think tanks, and again the Brookings Institution tops the list.

The World Bank hosted the release in Washington.

The index has become the gold standard for think tanks around the world and is widely cited by governments, donors, journals and policymakers.  Regional events took place in more than 30 global cities to announce the report, which was translated into 13 languages. 

“In the world filled with tweets and sound bites that are often superficial and politically charged, it is critical to know where to turn for sound policy proposals that address the complex policy issues that policymakers and the public face,” said James McGann, director of Penn’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. “This Index is designed to help identify and recognize the leading centers of excellence in public policy research around the world.”  

The report is compiled with assistance from more than 1,500 peer institutions and experts from the print and electronic media, academia, public and private donor institutions and governments around the world and ranks the top 150 global think tanks across four general categories:

  • Top Think Tanks in the World
  • Top Think Tanks by Region
  • Top Think Tanks by Area of Research
  • Top Think Tanks by Special Achievement

The Brookings Institution ranked top of the Global Think Tank list for the sixth consecutive year.  Following is a selection of rankings, but the full reports since 2008 can be found online at  A video introducing this year’s Index is available online at

Top Think Tanks World Wide – U.S. and Non U.S.

  1. Brookings Institution  (United States)
  2. Chatham House (United Kingdom)
  3. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (United States)
  4. Center for Strategic and International Studies (United States)
  5. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sweden)

Top Defense and National Security Think Tanks

  1. Center for Strategic and International Studies (United States)
  2. RAND Corporation  (United States)
  3. International Institute for Strategic Studies (United Kingdom)
  4. Brookings Institution  (United States)
  5. Chatham House (United Kingdom)

Top Foreign Policy and International Affairs Think Tanks

  1. Brookings Institution  (United States)
  2. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace  (United States)
  3. Chatham House (United Kingdom)
  4. Council on Foreign Relations (United States)
  5. Center for Strategic and International Studies (United States)

Best New Think Tank

  1. Instituto PVBLICA (Brazil)
  2. Russian Council on International Affairs (Russia)
  3. Centre Africain des Etudes Asiatiques (Morocco)

McGann presented the Report at the World Bank and participated in a discussion with Warren Krafdink, director of the International Budget Partnership, and Jeff Thindwa, manager of the Social Accountability Practice at the World Bank Institute.

“Our partnerships with civil society and non-government organizations and think tanks located around the world have made this index possible and the most comprehensive yet,” McGann said. “This report helps bring some much needed attention to the leading think tanks in each region and illustrates the important role think tanks play in governments and civil societies around world.”

About Penn’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the International Relations Program, University of Pennsylvania, conducts research on the role policy institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world. TTCSP was established in 1989. The program maintains a database and network of more than 6,600 think tanks in 152 countries. Often referred to as the “think tanks’ think tank,” TTCSP examines the evolving role and character of public policy research organizations.  The index is supported by Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences, International Relations Program, PennGlobal and the Lauder Institute at the Wharton School.  Additional information is available at Media inquiries may be made to Allison Bozniak at

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