Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Can the Lottery End a Think Tank's Rein?

Last year, Think Tank Watch wrote a short piece about how a think tank like the Brookings Institution can be dethroned from the top of the think tank rankings.

The University of Pennsylvania ranked Brookings as the #1 think tank in the most recent rankings, and likely will do so in the upcoming rankings which will be released January 22, 2014 in Washington, DC and New York.

With the US buzzing about the Mega Millions jackpot, currently estimated at $636 million, Think Tank Watch starting thinking about another scenario where a think tank like Brookings could lose its top slot.

If the think tank has an office pool for the lottery, and all the people at the think tank chip in and win, they could get a lump sum payment of $341 million.  According to the most recently available IRS report, Brookings has 554 employees.  If every single employee plays and divides that cash, they would each get approximately $615,000.

If a large number of employees decide to stop working there due to their winnings, one could conceivably see a catastrophic brain drain at that think tank, or any other think tank in a similar situation.

On the other hand, since Brookings is trying to raise $600 million for its Second Century Campaign, perhaps it can solicit donations from a new pool of newly flush individuals and do some intense hiring.

Think Tank Watch will have to do an investigation on policies at think tanks in terms of having on "office pool" for a lottery...

What think tank would you start if you won the lottery?