James McGann

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James McGann
Personal details
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania 

Dr. James G. McGann is a senior lecturer of International Studies at the Lauder Institute, director of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) and senior fellow, Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to assuming his current post, James was Assistant Director of the International Relations Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also served as the Senior Vice President for the Executive Council on Foreign Diplomats, the Assistant Director of the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, and the Public Policy Program Officer for The Pew Charitable Trusts. James earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a National Fellow at Stanford University while writing his doctoral thesis, which examined the nature and evolution of public-policy research organizations in the United States such as the Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation, Urban Institute, and others. James compared and contrasted the mission, structure, and operating principles of these leading think tanks to determine how those factors influenced the institutions’ role in policymaking. His research and consulting have enabled him to work with governments and civil society organizations in over 100 countries. He is the creator and editor of the annual Global Go To Think Tank Index. Several books that he had been working on for the previous 7–8 years have been released: The Fifth Estate: Think Tanks Public Policy and Governance (Brookings 2016), Trends and Transitions in Security Expertise From Deterrence to Climate Change and Back Again (Routledge 2017), Think Tanks, Foreign Policy and the Emerging Powers (Macmillan 2018), and Think Tanks and Emerging Power Policy Networks (Macmillan 2018).


See also[edit]

Recent publications:

  • Fifth Estate: Think Tanks and Domestic and Foreign Policy in the US (Brookings Press 2016)
  • How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies (University of Pennsylvania Press 2014)


  • 2013 Global Go To Think Tank (AKA Think Tank Rankings)




  • Catalysts for Growth and Development: The Role of Think Tanks in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (CIPE 2009)


  • Comparative Think Tanks, Politics and Public Policy (Edward Elgar 2005)