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Founding of Think Tanks according to year of founding
The following chart (see below) includes all those think tanks that provide their founding date and those whose date of founding can be assumed correctly. The chart shows two graphs. The yellow graph depicts the total number of think tanks for the given year. Focussing on the steepness of this graph one can break it up in three significant periods:
- The first period beginning in 1954, when the Walter Eucken Instituts was founded, and ending in 1988.
- The second starting in the year 1989 until 1999 being the period in which the socialist systems in the member state of the Comecon, in Yugoslavia and Albania crumbled and disintegrated. This time of disintegration coincides with a surge of think tank foundations in the respective countries (21 new think tanks of a total of 37 from 1989 until 1999).
- The last period comprises foundations of think tanks following the fourth EU enlargement (1995), signing of the treaties of the European Union setting out the constitutional basis of the EU and deepening the institutional cooperation among the member states (Maastricht 1992, Amsterdam 1997, Nizza 2001, and the introduction of the Euro(1999). Noteworthy regarding this period is the fact that all Belgium think tanks belonging to the Stockholm Network were established in 2000 and the following years, as well as the Center for European Policy in Germany and several partly EU friendly and partly EU skeptic think tanks were founded in Great Britain.
The first segment of the graph also encloses the early phase from 1954 until 1974/8 in which on average every five years a new think tank was established:
- the Walter Eucken Institut that can be characterized as university department publishing two scientific book series
- the Centro Einaudi established in 1963, initiated by the businessman Fulvio Guerrini (an initiative that should be analysed in the context of the political self-organization of the North Italian business world,
- the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), founded by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher in 1974 with the intention to act as spin doctor for the conservative party's right wing and ideological mastermind for the coming Thatcher administration,
- the political institute of the Finnish entrepreneurs association Finnish Business and Policy Forum (EVA) also established in 1974 and
- the respective Swedish institute Timbro was founded in 1978.
The German Institut der Wirtschaft in Cologne is comparable to the latter two although it does not belong to the Stockholm Network. However the interest of the German economic elites or at least the better part of it is probably more adequately represented by the Stiftung Marktwirtschaft. The German economic elites interests being the dissolution of the welfare state, privatization of welfare benefits, and the flexibilization of labor conditions.
- The Stiftung Markwirtschaft was founded in 1982.
The foundation's manifesto "Mehr Mut zum Markt" was intended to steer towards precise neoliberal reform policies in an atmosphere of intellectual and moral change during the Kohl administration. The foundation, formerly "Frankfurter Institut - Kronberger Kreis" was born out of a joint business and academic initiative.
Three years prior, in 1979,
- the Liberale Institut Zurich was founded within the milieu of the liberal party of Switzerland inteded to set out the neoliberal program of flexibilization for Switzerland.
- For France the Civil Society Institute (iFRAP) Paris assumed this task from 1981 onward.
In common with the Centro Einaudi and similar to the Stiftung Marktwirtschaft the Civil Society Institute (iFRAP) was initiated by induvidual entrepreneurs. Since 1988
- the Institut Euro 92 has assisted the iFRAP. The founding of the Institut Euro 92 traces also back to the initiative of an individual, the French top politician Alain Madelin.
Following the collapse of the post-war order 1989/90 begin the middle ages of the think tank world characterized by a doubling of the founding intensity of think tanks in the western states and an even higher intensity in Central and Eastern Europe. The 21 think tanks founded in Bulgaria, the CSR resp. Czech Republic and Slowaci, in Poland, Hungary, Moldavia, Romania and the yugoslavian successor states are for the most part the result of outsourcing processes induced by scientists that were formerly employed by the local universities and institutes. The field of economic sciences in the former socialist societies are in a modification process of their societal function. This modifying process also affects their institutional settings. Founding a think tank in this region may have been motivated by one or more of the following points:
- the wish to follow the change of orientation in one's research field or in anticipation of the devaluation of one's qualifications and thus engaging in a market-driven scientific practice;
- to meet new forms of well-funded demand for economic consulting services (regardless whether this demand is public or private)
- lastly the unrestricted inflow of foreign foundations and (semi-) public institutions such as Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Soros Foundations Network, and thus using EU subsidies.
Founding of Think Tanks according to year and country