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Economics 230: Working Papers/Think Tanks

The Economics of Health and Health Care
Professor: Lara Shore-Sheppard
Spring 2022

What are Working Papers?

Working papers are preliminary research papers that are posted online to encourage discussion and comment. Economists publish working papers as a timely and informal way of communicating their research findings.  When using working papers, keep in mind:

  • Because they represent research in progress, working papers have not undergone the traditional peer-review process. 
  • The research may have been updated in another working paper or a published journal article. Be sure to search for updated works from the author(s).

What are Think Tanks?

A think tank is "an organization, institute, corporation, or group that conducts research and engages in advocacy in public policy." (

When using information from a think tank:

  • Consider the biases that think tanks may be bringing to the discussion. 
  • Learn about the think tank by looking at the major contributors and the staff. 
  • Use evaluative sites to better understand the point of view the think tank may have. 
  • Ideally, contrast policy statements from two think tanks with vastly different perspectives on the issue.

Think Tank Search

Think Tank Search is a custom Google search of more than 450 think tank websites selected by The Harvard Kennedy School of Government Library. See their website for information on the inclusion policy and links to U.S. and international think tank websites.

Some Well-Known Think Tanks

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Evaluating Think Tanks