The new right think tanks and policy change in the UK
It has often been claimed that, during the 1980s and early 1990s, the new right think tanks - namely the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), and Adam Smith Institute (ASI) - had a major impact on policy-making and policy change. This thesis addresses such claims by examining three reforms in which the new right think tanks have been attributed an influence - bus deregulation, education reform, and prison privatisation. It seeks not only to empirically assess their impact, but also to relate these findings to the policy-making literature, in particular the Rhodes Model which emphasises policy continuity and the Advocacy Coalition Framework which seeks to explain policy change. It is argued that the new right think tanks had an impact on all three policy changes, as members of "advocacy coalitions", although the nature and extent of this impact varied. In some cases, the TEA, CPS, and ASI were able to have a direct impact on policy change, obtaining access to policy-makers through coalition allies. In other cases their impact was indirect, in shaping the broader "climate of ideas". The new right think tanks also contributed to new patterns of policy formulation, although there is limited evidence of any long-term structural impact on policy-making in these areas. It is also argued that the case studies raise a number of issues for the Rhodes Model and the Advocacy Coalition Framework, although these could be addressed by integrating the two to develop an approach to account for both policy continuity and policy change.