MacroPolo is the Paulson Institute’s think tank. Based in Chicago, our team of experts and creators provides incisive analysis, creative research products, and insightful multimedia and digital content.

MacroPolo about us Chicago thinktank

At MacroPolo, we are bringing the think tank into the 21st century. Today, information is cheap and noisy, as open sources proliferate and the internet has dramatically lowered the cost of access.

The twin forces of digitization of the economy and the democratization of knowledge have created a new central challenge: content abundance.

Overcoming that challenge requires research and content distribution to fundamentally adapt and diversify.

In a world immersed in information, simply accumulating it will not suffice. What truly matter are valuable insights, deep and differentiated analysis, and the foresight to anticipate trends coming around the bend.

This is why MacroPolo believes in:


creating distinctive products that have a high insight to noise ratio


harnessing technology and data to build functional, beautiful, and accessible content


delivering consistently high-quality and forward-looking analysis and best-in-class research


taking a design-centric approach to simplify complexity in everything we do

But what we do is not everything. Our deliberately focused approach centers on three core areas: political economy, technology, and energy. We focus on both China and cross-cutting themes and global dynamics.

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A global perspective from the American heartland
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Our Work on Political Economy

Exclusively focusing on economics or politics alone is to miss the mutual influence each exerts. Political decisions can have as dramatic an impact on economic outcomes as economic fundamentals can reshape politics. Where the twain shall meet is where the insight resides.

This is especially so when it comes to emerging markets or mixed economies where the visible hand of the state operates alongside the invisible hand of the market. Whether it is our work on China’s local debt or elite politics and state sector reforms, we strive to sit at the intersection of economics and politics.

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Our Work on Technology

Technology has become a key source of economic, geopolitical, and norms competition—one in which China plays a starring role. The future rules of technology and breakthrough innovations could emanate just as much from Beijing as they do from Washington and Brussels.

But the fixation on competitive dynamics can lead to more hype than reality. It tends to obscure how technology actually progresses. Our work—from artificial intelligence and standards to human capital and regulations—grapples with the ingredients behind technological advancements and analyzes the industries and ecosystems that these technologies are sure to spawn, in China and beyond.

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Our Work on Energy

The global energy transition will be among the most disruptive trends over the next generation. Mature technologies and the economics of renewables have shifted the political narrative from one that construed climate action as constraining growth to one that is now focused on winning a clean energy future.

The pace and scale of that transition will be largely determined by China, America, and Europe in the foreseeable future. Our work—from the energy transition index to industrial policy and sectoral analysis—brings a sharp lens onto how this crucial energy transition will reshape industries, institutions, and incentives in the process.

Our Digital Projects and Multimedia Content

In all of our work, we aim to balance credibility with accessibility for specialists and generalists alike. We do this with our digital and data visual products and creative multimedia assets that include audio and video content. By harnessing technology and thoughtful design, we build research products that engage our users differently.

Our work and experts have been featured in:

We’ve got our hands full tackling some of the defining trends and changes in our time. As serious as these issues are, we try not to take ourselves too seriously. We are focused on challenging ourselves to bring you the best and most useful analysis and content possible, along with that MacroPolo originality and creative sensibility that you’ve come to expect.

Whether you’ve followed our work or are a newcomer to our corpus, we would love to hear from you and your ideas on how we can think tank differently.