Independent institutes conducting policy research, analysis and public dialogue, or 'think tanks' as they are more commonly known, are one of the leading catalysts for ideas and action in civil societies around the world. Examining the role of think tanks in the policy formulation process, this groundbreaking study provides the first systematically comparative and methodologically rigorous map of such organizations and the social, political, legal and economic conditions that shape their work. Once found only in advanced industrial democracies, think tanks now provide information and advice for policymakers in countries as diverse as India, Lebanon, Chile, Bulgaria, Germany, Senegal and Thailand. Using case studies of 20 countries across five regions of the world (Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, Europe and Asia), James McGann and Erik Johnson explore how the environments in which think tanks operate serve to expand or constrict their autonomy and influence. They also suggest ways in which donors, policymakers and international organizations can ensure the viability and sustainability of these important institutions. With incisive analysis and cogent recommendations for how to seed and sustain independent think tanks around the world, this volume will be of great interest to those involved with think tanks themselves, as well as public policy and political science scholars, international development agencies and policymakers worldwide. The comparative dimensions of the book will have considerable appeal among students of comparative politics, public policy and international affairs.