Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Victor Chen

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Huff

Third Advisor

Dr. Nancy Stutts

Fourth Advisor

Dr. I-Shian Suen


By some measures, the major U.S. political parties have become more extreme in their political positions in recent decades, and scholars have raised concerns about whether the policy expertise provided by today’s think tanks has become similarly partisan and polarized. Furthermore, there is a perception that certain overtly partisan and highly visible think tanks wield considerable and growing influence over the policy platforms of the major U.S. parties, using their media presence to shape public and policymaker views of particular issues. Using publicly accessible tax, media, and congressional data, my proposed study assesses the extent to which media visibility and political partisanship explain the degree of influence that modern think tanks have on policy outcomes. First, I identify which think tanks are the most influential, as measured by interactions with policymakers—namely, requests to testify at congressional committees (Abelson, 2002; Rich & Weaver, 2000). I then use multiple regression analyses to assess to what extent these measures of influence are associated with think-tank media exposure (as measured by mentions in major news sources and social media metrics) and political partisanship, adapting the methodologies of Rich and Weaver (2000) to measure the former and Groseclose and Milyo (2005) to measure the latter.


© Timothy Beryl Bland

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