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Spring 2007 Vol. 51, Number 1

Policy analysts: Shaping society through research and problemsolving

Their work affects the laws we live by. Learn how.

When Will Wilkinson decided to major in philosophy, his father wondered about the usefulness of the degree. “My dad asked if I was going to work in a philosophy factory,” says Wilkinson. “And now, I guess I do.” 

Wilkinson is a policy analyst for a think tank in Washington, D.C. As his anecdote suggests, think tanks are, in a sense, idea factories. They employ policy analysts to research and solve complex problems or to predict or plan future developments. 

Keep reading to find out more about policy analysts' work. You'll learn how they shape policy, what determines their research agenda, how much they earn, and how they train for these careers. You'll also learn where to get more information about opportunities in this occupation.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: September 21, 2007