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Top tanks

Our think tanks lack the funds of their US rivals—but they punch above their weight

By James Crabtree   December 2010

The word “wonk” is said to have a jocular origin. Reverse the letters and you see why; backwards, it describes someone meant to know everything. Even so, the intellectual cadre of Britain’s think tank scene often seem to lack confidence, especially when comparing themselves to their American cousins. Andrew Adonis, now head of the Institute for Government (IfG), recent winner of Prospect’s think tank of the year award 2010, doesn’t mince his words: “I think we are right to have an inferiority complex with the US. Our think tanks, as a group, are hugely inferior to those in Washington: in…

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