Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Pandemic Changes DC Think Tank Landscape

The COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the think tank landscape in Washington, DC, altering the way think tanks operate and leaving many to question whether a physical think tank space is even needed.

Here is more from the Wall Street Journal:

The 61-square-mile U.S. capital relies heavily on the federal government as its biggest employer—and officials have signaled that remote work is here to stay. That effect is trickling down to the legion of businesses in the government’s orbit, with some federal contractors, lobbyists and think tanks offering similar flexibility.

Still unknown is how many of D.C’s workers, in the government and beyond, will be back full-time after the pandemic.

The glad-handing, Capitol Hill visits and long lunches of K Street have no virtual equivalent. Some policy shops—including the 450-employee Brookings Institution—have said they want their employees living in the Washington metropolitan area. That has prompted some workers to quit, one former employee said.

A Brookings spokeswoman said the institution’s collaborative environment greatly benefits from in-person interactions, and added that Brookings is exploring accommodating employees who want to live farther afield.

[Then there is think tanker Ben Freeman.]  One unknown is that his employer, the Center for International Policy, left its office space during the pandemic and decided to become “a think tank without walls” for the foreseeable future, Mr. Freeman said.


Here is a recent Think Tank Watch post on private salons replacing think tank events.

Think tankers and think event attendees are eagerly awaiting the opening of some think tanks so that they can begin sinking their teeth into those much-loved think tank cookies.