Policy Exchange: The Pros and Cons of Political Centrality

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge and Policy book series (SKP)


Policy Exchange (PX) is a right-of-centre think tank founded in 2002 by Conservative modernisers who believed their party needed to move beyond a strict adherence to Thatcherite ideas. Parallel to the rise of David Cameron, PX became ever more politically connected, while producing policy proposals on areas hitherto relatively neglected by the centre-right (e.g., education, social policy, healthcare). Indeed, the ideas behind the ‘Big Society’ platform were first developed under PX’s aegis. However, the moment of their political ascendancy coincided with the 2008 crisis, after which they became strong supporters of the austerity agenda—if positioning themselves as ‘reasonable’ rather than ideological advocates. As a result, PX expanded its output dramatically on fiscal and financial policy, moving much of their thinking towards the economic right. In the process, PX came to be seen as one of the most politically central British think tank, the crucible of centre-right thinking, and the ‘policy shop’ of the Cameron premiership.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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