“Cogito ergo sum” a new MiniDossier by Openpolis on political think tanks

A study on the main Italian think tanks, and the growing role they have in Italian politics. A census of all members, chosen legal forms, political orientation and main activities carried out. In addition we looked at the connections and ties between the different organization.

Politics. The political system is living a period of transformation that gradually – but steadily – is redefining the ways and characteristics of politics itself. In this context, during the crisis of its main actor during the First and Second Republic – political parties – we are witnessing the arrival of a new powerful figure: political think tanks.

Organizations. We discovered 65 think tanks that are either associations or foundations. They mainly carry out three type of activities: 1- sharing of ideas 2- recruitment of political personnel 3. fundraising.

People. Over 1.500 people have important roles – administrative, political or research – in these think tanks, for a total of over 1.800 different offices. These organizations usually are created by a politician, becoming a place where different sides of society come to debate and discuss, in a setting where politicians are the main component but not the only (36.15%).

Connections. These organizations are tied to one another through their members, that often enough have different roles in numerous think tanks. 43 think tanks – the main ones – have some sort of connection to other organization. Most of them – 80% – are connected in some way to 4 specific think tanks: Italian Europei, Astrid, Fondazione Italia Usa, Aspen.

Transparency. Their growing political role highlights even more the need for more information about their members, financiers and especially their budget. In fact the recent – though very limited – rules implemented regarding the transparency of political parties do not include foundation. Of the 65, very few published on their website, more information of what is strictly mandatory.

MiniDossier. “Cogito ergo sum” is the eith number of a series of publication called “MiniDossier”. Through a data journalism approach its goal is to verify, analyze and compare data from different official sources in order to suggest different point of views and tell different stories. To contribute and help this research, it is fundamental to support openpolis through our membership campaign.

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