Korea Trails Neighbors in Number of Think Tanks

      January 29, 2010 11:34

      A study about the world's think tanks shows that Korea lags behind Japan and China. The study was conducted by the U.S.' Foreign Policy Research Institute and a research team led by professor James McGann at the University of Pennsylvania. The study results were released Monday.

      According to the study, Korea has 35 think tanks, far fewer than China's 428, Japan's 108 and Taiwan's 52. Korea did not make the list of 25 countries with the most research institutes. The Korea Development Institute was the only Korean institute among the leading think tanks in the world, but among Asian think tanks it ranked only 12th.

      The study defined think tanks as public research, analysis and engagement institutions in which researchers with various academic backgrounds generate knowledge, technology and policy. The RAND Corporation, which was established in 1948 with the support of the U.S. Air Force, is regarded as the world's first original think tank.

      Both quality and quantity of think tanks have improved in Asia overall. The number increased from 653 in 2008 to 1,193 last year. Asian thinks tanks accounted for 19 percent of "global brains," up from 12 percent in 2008.

      McGann said that the need for think tanks has been growing due to drastic social changes in a globalized world saturated with information and connected by the Internet. He added globalization has fostered international connection among think tanks, easing their concentration in specific regions.

      But 56 percent of the world's think tanks are in North America and Europe and less than 10 percent in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Africa-based think tanks account for less than 8 percent of the global total, and the Middle East and North Africa are home to less than 4 percent.

      Among the nine countries with more than 100 think tanks, eight are in North America, Europe and Asia, with the exception of Argentina. The Brookings Institution was rated the world's top think tank, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Council on Foreign Relations, RAND Corporation and Heritage Foundation were on the list of the top five in the U.S.

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