Religion & Liberty Online

Acton Institute ranks among world’s best in 2019 think tank report

A report on the global impact of think tanks has ranked the Acton Institute among the world’s most influential thought leaders.

The University of Pennsylvania released its “2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report” last Friday. This year, the annual report – which was “designed to identify and recognize centers of excellence in all the major areas of public policy research” – opened the ratings to all 8,248 think tanks in its database.

The report has recognized the Acton Institute since 2010, and, once again, Acton ranked well in the categories with which it has become most closely identified.

In “Top Social Policy Think Tanks,” the category Acton values most dearly, the report rated the Acton Institute in the top 20 worldwide. This year, the Acton Institute moved up one spot to number 12 – behind the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, but ahead of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI, 14) and the UK-based Civitas (31).

The report ranked the Acton Institute number nine in the world for “Best Advocacy Campaign.” Acton finished in the top 25 globally for “Best Think Tank Conference,” ahead of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Despite competition from think tanks with much greater size and funding, the Acton Institute rated in the top third (31) of the “Top U.S. Think Tanks” in 2019 – behind the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER, 25) but ahead of the Pew Research Center (32) and the Economic Policy Institute (35).

The United States has more think tanks than any other single country, with 1,871. India is a distant second, with 509. There are 31 think tanks in Michigan alone.

Top free-market think tanks outside the United States included the Fraser Institute (Canada, 18), Transparency International (Germany, 20), the Adam Smith Institute (UK, 58), and the F.A. Hayek Foundation (Slovakia, 128).

The report states that “hundreds of expert panelists” assist James G. McGann of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the university’s Lauder Institute in the evaluation process each year. You can read the full report here.

The report reflects the Acton Institute’s growing recognition as the world’s premier think tank addressing the relationship between markets and ethics, especially within an ecumenical religious context. Your kind donation helps us improve our impact and efficacy this year and in the years to come.

(Photo credit: The Acton Institute headquarters in Grand Rapids,Michigan. Rudy Malmquist / The Acton Institute.)

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson (@therightswriter) is an Eastern Orthodox priest and served as Executive Editor of the Acton Institute (2016-2021), editing Religion & Liberty, the Powerblog, and its transatlantic website. He has extensively researched the Alt-Right. Previously, he worked for LifeSiteNews and, where he wrote three books including Party of Defeat (with David Horowitz, 2008). His work has appeared at, National Review, The American Spectator, The Guardian, Daily Caller, National Catholic Register, Spectator USA, FEE Online, RealClear Policy, The Blaze, The Stream, American Greatness, Aleteia, Providence Magazine, Charisma, Jewish World Review, Human Events, Intellectual Takeout,, Issues & Insights, The Conservative,, and The American Orthodox Institute. His personal websites are and His views are his own.