Meet The Director


James G. McGann, Ph.D.

James G. McGann is a senior lecturer of International Studies at the Lauder Institute, director of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program 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 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.  His latest book is entitled: The Fifth Estate: Think Tanks Public Policy and Governance (Brooking 2016).  Several books that he has been working on for the last 7-8 years will be released this year: Think Tanks, Foreign Policy and the Emerging Powers (MacMillian Fall 2017 2017), Think Tanks and Emerging Power Policy Networks (MacMillian Summer/Fall 2017) and Trends and Transitions in Security Expertise From Deterrence to Climate Change and Back Again(Routledge Fall 2017)
Among Dr. McGann’s publications are Competition for Dollars, Scholars, and Influence in the Public Policy Research Industry (University Press of America 1995); "The International Survey of Think Tanks" (Foreign Policy Research Institute 1999); Think Tanks and Civil Societies: Catalyst for Ideas and Action, co-edited with Kent B. Weaver (Transaction Publishers 2000); Comparative Think Tanks, Politics, and Public Policy (Edward Elgar 2005); Think Tanks and Policy Advice in the U.S.: Academics, Advisors, and Advocates (Routledge 2007); "Global Trends and Transitions: 2007 Survey of Think Tanks" (Foreign Policy Research Institute 2008); "The 2007 Global Go to Think Tanks" (Foreign Policy Research Institute 2008); "Think Tank Index" (Foreign Policy Magazine 2009); "The 2008 Global Go to Think Tank Index" (IRP, University of Pennsylvania 2009); Democratization and Market Reform: Think Tanks As Catalysts (Routledge 2009), Catalysts for Economic Growth and Development: The Role of Think Tanks in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (CIPE 2009), "The 2009 Global Go to Think Tank Index" (University of Pennsylvania 2010),Global Think Tanks, Policy Networks and Governance (Routledge 2010), "The 2010 Global Go to Think Tank Index" (University of Pennsylvania 2011), “The 2011 Global Go to Think Tank Index" (University of Pennsylvania 2012), “Think Tanks and Global Policy Networks,” chapter in edited volume, International Organization and Global Governance, (Routledge September 2013),”The 2012 Global Go to Think Tank Index" (University of Pennsylvania 2013), Think Tanks and Social Development Policy: A Global Comparative Study (Forthcoming, University of Pennsylvania Press 2013); Think Tanks, Policy Advice and the Foreign Policy Challenges Facing Emerging Powers ( 2014).