Monday, November 5, 2012

More Think Tanks = More Military?

Here is what Anti-Think Tanks wrote in a recent Tweet:

Based on the University of Pennsylvania's "Global Go To Think Tanks Report," here are the countries with the largest number of think tanks:
  1. US: 1815
  2. China: 425
  3. India: 292
  4. UK: 286
  5. Germany: 194
  6. France: 176
  7. Argentina: 137
  8. Russia: 112
  9. Japan: 103
  10. Canada: 97
The Tweet does not define "big" in terms of military (i.e., expenditures, size of force, etc...), but in terms of spending, here are the top ten:
  1. US
  2. China
  3. UK
  4. France
  5. Russia
  6. Japan
  7. Saudi Arabia
  8. Germany
  9. India
  10. Italy
In general, if a country is large or wealthy, it has more think tanks, and almost inevitably, it will have a bigger military.  Argentina (#7 in terms of think tanks) and Canada (#10 in terms of think tanks), however, are in the top ten in terms of number of think tanks, but are not in the top ten in terms of military spending.

Of course, one could also make many other similar correlations.  For instance, the more think tanks a country has, the more McDonald's restaurants it has.  But does correlation imply causation in these cases?