Although I wasn’t entirely familiar with what think tanks actually do, I had an idea that they were large, multinational organizations that tackled issues like world hunger and nuclear warfare. I was surprised, then, when I found a think tank based in my hometown of Pittsburgh that focuses on issues specific to that geographic area. While researchers gathering information on national issues often cite the reports of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, the institute itself reports on issues at the local level.
The institute is decidedly conservative and their mission is “to defend the interests of taxpayers, citizens and businesses against an increasingly burdensome and intrusive government”. Most of the work done by them focuses on measures to increase efficiency is the public and private sectors and debunk research done by other organizations that advocates inefficient outcomes.
The institute has worked on many issues that are familiar to me and goes to great lengths to ensure policy makers have access to its findings. Most recently, it published a report on the monopoly status of the government public transit authority and even testified in hearings about the issue. They have also worked on research regarding property tax legislation, public sector employment and pay, public city schools, and a host of other things.
For my final paper, this think tank could prove to be a valuable resource if I chose to explore the outsourcing/privatization of government enterprises, like public transportation. This organization has worked a lot with this issue given the poor state of western PA’s public transit systems.