Think Tanks and the French Political Game.

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal 23 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Corinne DELMAS, University of Lille, CERAPS (UMR CNRS 8026), France
This paper examines the increasing weight of think tanks in the French political game and its acceleration from the Medef’s Project of a “Refondation sociale” at the end of the 1990s. The comparative analysis of their recruitment, their policy advice, their networks and their influence during the last French presidential election campaign will highlight the conditions and the effects of this expansion. What are the factors that account for the higher incidence and variations of this type of institutions, and how they affect politics and the presidential election campaign? What are the specificities of these think tanks in comparison with intellectual circles of the past? How do they work? Who finance them? How independent are they? Today, there are about two-hundred think tanks in France. The paper presents them. After an historical presentation and a statistical study, it highlights the action of some of these institutions, on the basis of several criteria: influence, contrasted policy advices, proximity to the political parties and to the candidates of the election. Some policy research institutions close to political parties (specially "Fondapol" and "Terra Nova") and some topics (like participative democracy, health, sport, labor and education) will be selected. How do these think tanks spread their messages and contribute to train decisions of vote? How their political advices are taken by the candidates? How they can exercise an influence on the messages emitted by these candidates and on the main themes of campaign? The paper analyzes in particular the links between these think tanks and the communication agencies, the media, internet and the social networks. In order to take into account their specificities in comparison with think tanks in the United States of America and in the United Kingdom, the analysis will be further refined by comparing them with some European and foreign examples.