Thursday, March 24, 2016

Likelihood of a Think Tanker Being Invited to a State Dinner?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent visit to Washington got Think Tank Watch thinking about how often think tankers get invitations to presidential state dinners.

Fortunately, The New York Times has done much of the leg-work, analyzing the previous nine state dinners to come up with an answer.  Here is the breakdown of who gets invited:

  • Wall Street and business sector: 35%
  • Intelligentsia: 17%
  • Media: 16%
  • Hollywood and arts: 14%
  • Sports, tech, and health: 12%

In other words, around 17% of state dinner guests are from "intelligentsia," which includes the think tank world.  However, that category also includes authors, professors, and others in similar fields.  That means the chances of a think tanker securing a coveted state dinner invite are probably harder than getting into Harvard or Yale.

NYT notes that think tank guests for state dinners under President Obama have included Robert Kagan and Strobe Talbott of Brookings, and George Shultz of the Hoover Institution.