Economic think tanks and research organisations


Adam Smith Institute (ASI)

The Adam Smith Institute is a UK think tank with a focus on free-market economic and social policies. It researches practical ways to inject choice and competition into public services, extend personal freedom, reduce taxes, prune back regulation, and cut government waste. Politically independent and non-profit, the Institute promotes its ideas through reports, briefings, events, media appearances, and its website and blog.

Careers: The ASI offers unpaid internships to university students and others who would like to like to work at the ASI for a minimum of two days a week during term-time or full-time during holidays. Job vacancies are posted when available.

CESifo Group
The CESifo Group consists of the Center for Economic Studies (CES), the Ifo Institute for Economic Research and the CESifo GmbH (Munich Society for the Promotion of Economic Research) and is based in Munich. It combines the theoretically orientated economic research of a university with the empirical work of a leading Economic research institute and places this combination in an international environment. The services offered by the Group include the Ifo Business Climate Index and contributions to policy debate at the national and European levels.

Careers: Job vacancies and internships are advertised on their website. The Group also offers a Graduate Integrated Programme (doctoral programme) which can have an academic (Centre for Economic Studies, CES) or a more empirical orientation in the Ifo Institute.

Deutsches Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW)
The DIW is the largest economic research institute in Germany, working on topics that include: macroeconomic analysis and forecasting; international economics; public sector; innovation, manufacturing and services; information society and competition; energy, transportation and environment; and longitudinal data and microanalysis. It has about 100 research staff and is based in Berlin. It is an independent, non-profit academic institution involved in basic research and policy advice. The DIW works closely with universities in the Berlin and Brandenburg area.

Careers: The DIW post vacancies for Research Economists on their website, and welcome applications from candidates for Visiting Fellowships. It is not essential to be German to apply although a knowledge of the German language will help integration and allow involvement in economic consultancy work. The FAQ page of the Career section of their website is very helpful.

Centre for Economic Policy Research
CEPR's research is conducted by a network of over 700 international researchers who retain their own academic bases. CEPR develops projects and obtains funding for them; administers and executes the projects; disseminates the results of the research. 

Careers: The website advertises both vacancies at CEPR and within the research networks for pre-and post-doctoral researchers.

Institute of Economic Affairs
The IEA think-tank was founded in 1955. Its goal is to explain free-market ideas to the public, politicians, students, journalists, businessmen, academics and anyone interested in public policy. The IEA website has a very useful 'links' section giving access to a wide range of economics and public policy focused organisations, including think tanks.

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)
The IFS is an independent research organisation with an international reputation in the Public Finance field. It aims to promote effective economic and social policies through rigorous analysis of their impact on individuals, families, firms and the public finances. The Institute hosts an ESRC research centre.

Careers: The IFS posts full-time positions, summer placements (undergraduates and Masters) and PhD scholarships on its website.

International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
The IIED is an independent, non-profit research institute working in the field of sustainable development. In alliance with others it seeks to help shape a future that ends global poverty and delivers and sustains efficient and equitable management of the world's natural resources. Based in London, IIED currently has 74 staff from 16 countries and an annual budget of £9m.

Careers: Job vacancies are advertised on their website

National Institute for Economics and Social Research (NIESR)
The NIESR is an independent economic research institute with over sixty years experience of applying academic excellence to the needs of business and policy makers. The Institute is independent of all party political interests. It receives no core funding from government and is not affiliated to any single university, although staff regularly undertake projects in collaboration with leading academic institutions. The Institute's work falls into three fields: economic modelling and macro analysis; education, training and employment; and the international economy. 

Careers: Job vacancies are posted on the website. The NIESR are also open to speculative approaches from postgraduate economists.

Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
ODI is a leading UK independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues. Their mission is to inspire and inform policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty, the alleviation of suffering and the achievement of sustainable livelihoods in developing countries. They do this by linking together high quality applied research, practical policy advice, and policy-focused dissemination and debate. They work with partners in the public and private sectors, in both developing and developed countries.

Careers: Since 1963 the ODI Fellowship Scheme has been sending young postgraduate (Masters and PhD) economists to work in the public sector of developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific on two-year contracts. 38 awards were made in 2007. Currently 21 developing country governments and two regional bodies are partners in the Scheme. Applications usually open in Autumn of the year preceding the start of the Fellowship. The ODI website not only gives some information on current Fellows but also post-Fellowship career destinations. The experience gained through an ODI Fellowship is highly regarded by the international financial institutions.

New Economics Foundation (nef)
nef describe themselves as an independent 'think-and-do tank'. They aim to improve quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues. They combine analysis and policy debate with practical solutions on the ground, often run and designed with the help of local people. They also create new ways of measuring progress towards increased well-being and environmental sustainability. nef works with - civil society, government, individuals, businesses and academia -  in the UK and internationally to create more understanding and strategies for change. 

Careers: nef post job opportunities on their website

RAND Corporation
RAND is a US-based non-profit institution that seeks to improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. It has recently opened an office in Cambridge, UK. Research covers such social and economic issues as education, poverty, crime, and the environment, as well as a range of national security issues.

Careers: RAND offers a number of internship and fellowship programs. The Graduate Student Summer Associate Program allows outstanding students to conduct short-term independent research within the framework of an ongoing RAND project and are mentored by RAND staff. RAND also provides postdoctoral candidates with the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills through several RAND division fellowships and programs. There is NO requirement to be a US citizen.


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