Some lessons learned by Latin American think tanks

Think thanks and the challenges they face when influencing policy were addressed in the opening session of the workshop “Using knowledge to improve policy influence”, which was held in Lima, Peru, on August 11th and 12th. Four Executive Directors and one Director of an Economic Program from Latin American institutes presented and discussed their experiences, organizational structures and lessons learned in the field of policy influence.

“Using knowledge to improve policy influence” Workshop

“Using knowledge to improve policy influence” Workshop

Moderated by the Peruvian journalist Mirko Lauer, the speakers of the session “Lessons learned by think tanks of the region” were: Leopoldo Font (Executive Director of CLAEH, Uruguay), Eugenio Rivera Urrutia (Director of the Economic Program of Chile XXI, Chile), Javier Portocarrero (Executive Director of CIES, Peru), Roberto Steiner (Executive Director of Fedesarrollo, Colombia) and Fernando Straface (Executive Director of CIPPEC, Argentina).

After presenting the work and experiences in their institutions, the speakers answered many questions of an audience that came from a great diversity of think tanks of Latin America.

Some of the main conclusions of the session were:

  • Think tanks need to articulate the offer and the demand in order to create their own research agenda
  • Thinks tanks should navigate the urgent situations but with long-term course
  • It is important to create good links and traffic with academics and think tanks researchers
  • The plurality of a think tanks is not autonomous of the plurality of ideologies that take place in their countries
  • You can’t make good influence if you don’t have good contents
  • The think tank’s plurality is reached with the ideological diversity of its members
  • Having a clear organizational strategy of research publications enhance the chances to influence public policies
  • An emphasis on the development of researchers’ communication skills increases the chances of influencing public policy
  • In the short term, nothing better than building trusting relationships, both institutional and professional to achieve effective results
  • It is very important to understand the politics behind the policies
  • According to the degree of development of the political parties system, the think tank will have more or less possibilities to build their own agenda
  • When production of the think tanks is generated from the offer, it is more autonomous, but acts in isolation from the political system. When production of the think tanks is determined by exogenous variables, it is less autonomous, but is more linked to system actors define policy
  • Think tanks do not generate evidence from their endogenous processes, but they are conditioned by the policy making process

After this fruitful session, participants discussed and worked on the relationship between media and think tanks. Keep following us to have more information about Lima´s Conference sessions.


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