September 2007

COST EFFECTIVENESS OF THE MOST WIDELY CITED THINK TANKS
CEPR is #1 in Media Hits and #2 in Web Traffic
The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was again the most cost-effective think tank in 2006, ranking first in media citations per budget dollar for the third consecutive year. CEPR placed second to the CATO Institute in web traffic per budget dollar. CEPR had also been first in web traffic per budget dollar in 2005, after coming in second in 2004. The CATO Institute came in second in media citations per budget dollar. CATO’s performance improved substantially from 2005 when it had come in fifth in media hits per budget dollar and third in web hits per dollar. In the case of media hits per budget dollar, the conservative Lexington Institute came in third, its same ranking as in 2005. In the media hits per dollar category, there was a large gap between the Lexington Institute and the Economic Policy Institute, the fourth place think tank. The Lexington Institute had almost 30 percent more citations per budget dollar than the Economic Policy Institute. In the case of web traffic per dollar, there was a large gap between CEPR and the Heritage Foundation, the third ranked think tank. CEPR had nearly 60 percent more web hits per budget dollar than the Heritage Foundation. As in the past, the big budget think tanks (the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute) continue to dominate news coverage because of their size. However, unlike in prior years, several of the high budget think tanks also ranked near the top on a per dollar basis. The following tables compare the cost effectiveness of the top 10 most cited think tanks in 2006, based on a Nexis search conducted by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).1 The first table compares press hits in 2006 to budgets for 2005, the most recent year for which budgets were available for all organizations. The second table compares web reach over the last 3 months to the organizational budgets for 2005. CEPR is the most cost-effective think tank with regard to media citations, receiving 2.7 cites for every $10,000 spent. It ranks second in web traffic per budget dollar, reaching 1.45 out of every
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Dolny, Michael. "Think Tank Sources Fall, But Left Gains Slightly." Extra! March/April 2007. Available at http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3129. This analysis also relied on unpublished data that Dolny made available.

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million surfers for every million dollars spent. The CATO Institute scored somewhat better in this measure, reaching 1.73 out of every million web surfers for every million dollars spent.

Table 1 Media Citations Per Dollar (2006)
Total 3 Citations Citations per $10,000 FY05 (Budget)4 2.69 2.46 2.28 1.77 1.19 1.06 1.01 0.81 0.81 0.79 $1,100,369 $17,065,056 $2,178,623 $5,368,629 $4,400,703 $21,396,857 $38,429,059 $32,990,455 $16,220,539 $10,083,160

Rank

Organization Political Orientation Center for Economic and 1 Progressive 296 Policy Research 2 Cato Institute Cons./Libertarian 1265 3 Lexington Institute Conservative 496 4 Economic Policy Institute Progressive 949 5 Center for Public Integrity Centrist 523 6 American Enterprise Institute Conservative 2267 7 Brookings Institutions Centrist 3896 8 Council on Foreign Relations Centrist 2659 9 Center for American Progress Center-Left 1309 10 Manhattan Institute Conservative 798 Source: Fairness and Accuracy Reporting and author’s calculation, see appendix.

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Table 2 Website Usage Per Dollar (May- August 2007)
Website Usage per $1,000,000 FY05 (Budget) 1.73 $17,065,056 1.45 0.92 0.86 0.65 0.65 0.59 0.54 0.53 0.41 $1,100,369 $35,829,107 $4,400,703 $21,396,857 $32,990,455 $4,770,001 $5,521,953 $3,142,433 $6,276,937

Rank Organization 1 Cato Institute Center for Economic and 2 Policy Research 3 Heritage Foundation 4 5 6 7 8 9 Center for Public Integrity American Enterprise Institute Council on Foreign Relations Reason Foundation Washington Institute for Near East Policy Competitive Enterprise Institute

Political Orientation Cons./Libertarian Progressive Conservative Centrist Conservative Centrist Conservative Centrist Conservative

Website 5 Usage 29.5 1.6 33.0 3.8 14.0 21.5 2.8 3.0 1.65 2.6

10 New America Foundation Centrist Source: Alexa.com and author’s calculations, see appendix.

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Political orientation is based on FAIR’s evaluation of published work and media comments. Media citations determined by Michael Dolney of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), using Nexis, available at http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2897. 4 Think tank budgets for FY05. Fiscal years vary according to organizational calendar. FY06 budgets not available. 5 Website usage is expressed as numbers of users per million (daily reach) as determined by Alexa.com. For example, the Center for Public Integrity’s reach is 38. This means that if you took a sample of one million Internet users, you would find on average that 38 of them visit CPI’s website. Daily reach is calculated as an average over a three-month time period ending on August 6, 2007.

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Appendix
Media Citations –The number of media citations for 2006 was taken from the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's report “Think Tank Sources Fall, But Left Gains Slightly." Extra! March/April 2007, available at: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3129. FAIR used Nexis to determine media citations. Internet Reach – Internet reach was taken from daily reach statistics found on Alexa.com. The average over the prior three months was used, as reported on August 6, 2007. Think Tank Budgets – FY2005 budgets are defined as the total organization expenses listed in the tax forms filed by each think tank. This analysis uses expenses for 2005 because data for 2006 were not available for most of the think tanks in FAIR’s study.

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Appendix Table 1 Media Citations Per Dollar (2006)

Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Organization Center for Economic and Policy Research Cato Institute Lexington Institute Economic Policy Institute Center for Public Integrity American Enterprise Institute Brookings Institutions Council on Foreign Relations Center for American Progress

Political Orientation Progressive Cons./Libertarian Conservative Progressive Centrist Conservative Centrist Centrist Center-Left Conservative Conservative Centrist Conservative Conservative Conservative Centrist Centrist Progressive Centrist Centrist Progressive Centrist Centrist Conservative

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Citations per Total 7 8 $10,000 Citations FY05(Budget) 2.69 2.46 2.28 1.77 1.19 1.06 1.01 0.81 0.81 0.79 0.76 0.74 0.73 0.72 0.67 0.64 0.61 0.57 0.44 0.38 0.31 0.28 0.27 0.25 296 1265 496 949 523 2267 3896 2659 1309 798 238 411 346 1950 2384 255 386 251 358 641 438 1593 551 827 1450 $1,100,369 $17,065,056 $2,178,623 $5,368,629 $4,400,703 $21,396,857 $38,429,059 $32,990,455 $16,220,539 $10,083,160 $3,142,433 $5,521,953 $4,770,001 $27,241,386 $35,829,107 $4,014,486 $6,276,937 $3,964,636 $8,050,504 $12,053,232 $12,822,938 $56,506,256 $20,580,441 $33,054,000 $221,021,844

10 Manhattan Institute 11 Competitive Enterprise Institute Washington Institute for Near 12 East Policy 13 Reason Foundation Center for Strategic and 14 International Studies 15 Heritage Foundation 16 Inter-American Dialogue 17 New America Foundation 18 Century Foundation Institute for International 19 Economics 20 Public Policy Institute of California Center on Budget and Policy 21 Priorities 22 Kaiser Family Foundation 23 Carnegie Endowment 24 Hoover Institution

25 RAND Corporation Centrist 0.07 Source: Fairness and Accuracy Reporting and author’s calculation, see appendix.

Political orientation is based on FAIR’s evaluation of published work and media comments. Media citations for 2006 determined by Michael Dolney of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) “Think Tank Sources Fall, But Left Gains Slightly." Extra! March/April 2007, using Nexis, available at http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3129. 8 Think tank budgets for FY05. Fiscal years vary according to organizational calendar.
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Appendix Table 2 Website Usage Per Dollar (June-September 2006)

Rank Organization 1 Cato Institute 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Center for Economic and Policy Research Heritage Foundation Center for Public Integrity American Enterprise Institute Council on Foreign Relations Reason Foundation Washington Institute for Near East Policy Competitive Enterprise Institute

Political Orientation Cons./Libertarian Progressive Conservative Centrist Conservative Centrist Conservative Centrist Conservative Centrist Conservative Conservative Centrist Progressive Progressive Centrist Conservative Progressive Centrist Center-Left Conservative Centrist Centrist Centrist

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Website 10 Usage 29.5 1.6 33.0 3.8 14.0 21.5 2.8 3.0 1.65 2.6 2.3 3.2 2.4 1.6 3.2 4.8 7.5 0.8 1.0 2.6 3.7 0.5 17.0 6.2 0.2

Website usage per 11 $1,000,000 FY04 (Budget) 1.73 $17,065,056 1.45 0.92 0.86 0.65 0.65 0.59 0.54 0.53 0.41 0.32 0.31 0.30 0.29 0.25 0.23 0.23 0.20 0.18 0.16 0.13 0.11 0.08 0.08 0.07 $1,100,369 $35,829,107 $4,400,703 $21,396,857 $32,990,455 $4,770,001 $5,521,953 $3,142,433 $6,276,937 $7,161,290 $10,083,160 $8,050,504 $5,368,629 $12,822,938 $20,580,441 $33,054,000 $3,964,636 $56,506,256 $16,220,539 $27,241,386 $4,014,486 $221,021,844 $80,599,818 $2,178,623

10 New America Foundation 11 Hudson Institute 12 Manhattan Institute Institute for International 13 Economics 14 Economic Policy Institute Center on Budget and Policy 15 Priorities 16 Carnegie Endowment 17 Hoover Institution 18 Century Foundation 19 Kaiser Family Foundation 20 Center for American Progress Center for Strategic and 21 International Studies 22 Inter-American Dialogue 23 RAND Corporation 24 Urban Institute

25 Lexington Institute Conservative Source: Alexa.com and author’s calculations, see appendix.

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Political orientation is based on FAIR’s evaluation of published work and media comments. Website usage is expressed as numbers of users per million (daily reach) as determined by Alexa.com. Daily reach is calculated as an average over a three-month time period ending on August 6, 2007. 11 Think tank budgets for FY05. Fiscal years vary according to organizational calendar. FY06 budgets not available.

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