The role of think tanks has not been studied with the same intensity as the role of other civil society organizations. Technocratic networks, private groups and hidden powers, the media, and other informal actors who affect the policy process are still relatively absent from the analysis.

This is an English summary of a joint publication by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and International IDEA (first published in Spanish) investigating the characteristics of the historical relationship between think tanks and political parties in Latin America. One conclusion expressed is that politics is not always included in the Anglo-Saxon definition of think thanks, and that this has led to support for think tanks without consideration of the effect these organizations may have on the political system in which they operate.

The book offers recommendations for strengthening the relationship between research and politics, with an aim to strengthening democracy and sustainable development in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, the countries covered by the studies.


Publication date
24 September 2009
Enrique Mendizabal, Kristen Sample
Number of pages
Overseas Development Institute (UK)
978-91-85724-73-4 (Print)



Enrique Mendizabal

Regional perspective
Adolfo Garcé

Political parties and think tanks in Bolivia
Carlos Toranzo

Think tanks and their role in Chile’s political arena
Matías Cociña and Sergio Toro

Political parties and think tanks in Colombia
Juan Fernando Londoño

Political parties and think tanks in Ecuador
Orazio Bellettini and Melania Carrión

Think tanks and political parties in Peru: Shaky institutions and informal networks
Martín Tanaka, Sofía Vera and Rodrigo Barrenechea


References and further reading

About the authors


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Thinking Politics: Think Tanks and Political Parties in Latin America

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