2018 has been an exciting year of fast growth and hard work. We are optimistic and proud of the progress we have made.
Our organization is defined by the quality of people who work and learn together in this new endeavor. The minds of dozens of bright young students have been inspired as they work with a fast-growing network of leading scholars across the country.
We have not hesitated to tackle some of the most pressing economic problems of our day, including diverse topics that address technological innovation, immigration, the effects of public policies on financial markets, the financial security of the elderly, the economics of conservation, energy policies for the next generation, and much more.
Many top scholars and leaders from academia and industry have visited the Center to provide public lectures on topics such as experimental economics, technological innovation and regulation, and topics in ethical leadership and female entrepreneurship.
And this is just the beginning. Thanks to generous friends who support our programs, bright student fellows who are eager to learn, a dedicated and talented staff, and a growing network of first-rate scholars, the Center for Growth and Opportunity is ready to expand its reach and accelerate into the year ahead.
Our mission encompasses so much more than that of a traditional research center. We are uniquely committed to combining research that meets the highest standards of academic excellence with opportunities that allow students to grow into the next generation of scholars and leaders.
Our goal is to help students realize what they are capable of accomplishing. As they’ve learned by doing, experimenting, and innovating this year, our students have been able to accomplish great things.
In 2018, we provided 106 student opportunities through our four student programs:
The CGO offers the following through our programs:
Amy Rees Anderson Academic EntrepreneursAmy Rees Anderson, a Utah business icon and founder of REES Capital and the IPOP Foundation, partnered with the CGO in 2018 to fund a fellowship program for female business students at Utah State University who are interested in careers related to higher education, academia, business, and public policy.
Program participants in the Amy Rees Anderson Academic Entrepreneurs Fellowship program explore and conduct research in several different areas and receive executive mentorship through one-on-one interaction with Amy Rees Anderson.
More fellowships are available in the program each semester, building a close-knit and powerful cohort of women. Over time, this cohort and the alumni network it establishes will be instrumental in bringing a diversity of voices to the conversation in economic policy analysis.
Sarah BennettCGO Undergraduate Research Fellow 2017–2018
Amy Rees Anderson Academic Entrepreneurs Fellow 2018
Class of 2018, Economics
Currently working as a Training Associate at Atlas Network
“Being a CGO Fellow has helped me improve my skills and has provided me with valuable work experience. Knowing more about what to expect and how to excel in the first few years of my career has left me with a sense of confidence that I would never have gotten in a classroom setting. I feel like being a CGO Fellow filled in gaps that my classwork left, and taught me skills that I will need to excel.
The CGO has also given me a sense of confidence and motivation that I didn’t have before. I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career before I was a CGO Fellow. The people I met and the experiences I had enabled me to narrow down my goals and choose a career where I can do something that I’m passionate about.
I would not have had the opportunity to join the Atlas Network team if it weren’t for the connections and skills that the CGO provided to me.”
Research is not the end goal of the Center for Growth and Opportunity — it’s just the beginning. Ideas developed through careful research and analysis are how our team of scholars and researchers connect with other experts, policymakers, and leaders to create meaningful dialogue around important and policy-relevant topics.
Without research, our mission to explore the interactions among key institutions — business, government, and civil society — cannot be accomplished. With research, however, we open the door to new conversations that will allow us to have an impact on policy issues that will improve opportunity, broad-based economic growth, and individual well-being.
In 2018, CGO scholars published findings on issues such as Social Security solvency, state solar net metering policies, the environmental effects of corn ethanol, lobbying regulations, and occupational licensing. We’ll continue to explore these and other diverse issues, but three research topics in 2018 stand out as prime examples of the type of impact-oriented and policy-relevant research the Center for Growth and Opportunity aims to produce:
Throughout history, technological innovation has been the engine of growth and prosperity. Consequently, our ability to innovate is the single most important determinant of our long-term economic growth, and it is widely understood to be the linchpin of expanded opportunity, choice, and mobility.
The challenge for us, as we explore research questions related to technology and innovation, is to find out how public policies can foster a culture of innovation that will lead to these outcomes — namely, advancements in science, medicine, engineering, transportation, technology, communication, and more.
Our vision is for individuals to be empowered to experiment with new and better ways of doing things through permissionless innovation. Through our work, we hope to communicate findings that show that when oversight of new technologies is market-driven, adaptive, and flexible, innovators are empowered to create life-changing technologies that lead to progress.
Technology policy scholar Christopher Koopman joined the Center for Growth and Opportunity in March 2018. As senior director of strategy and research, he oversees the coordination and strategy of the CGO’s research portfolio. As a researcher, Koopman focuses primarily on regulation, competition, and innovation. These areas extend across a broad array of topics: emerging technology, healthcare, transportation, antitrust law, and others. His publications on the sharing economy have been recognized for their innovative responses to uncharted public policy questions. Just this summer, Koopman testified before the US Congress Joint Economic Committee on the role of permissionless innovation in regulating new technologies.
Many of Koopman’s opinion commentary articles about technology policy, innovation, and regulation have been featured in the popular press — including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other publications. His May op-ed, “Flight Sharing Could Bring Uber to the Skies,” published in USA Today, attracted the attention of federal policymakers looking to modernize flight regulations to accommodate new technologies and innovations.
In October 2018, the CGO hosted its first technology policy conference to coincide with the State Policy Network annual meeting. The goal for the Tech_States conference was to introduce policymakers and leaders of state think tanks to emerging issues in technology policy and provide them with a foundation and network of other professionals to begin to integrate these issues into their policy agendas and research. There were more than 60 attendees, who represented approximately 20 states, more than 40 different organizations, several trade associations, the Utah Legislature, and the Federal Communications Commission.
The event featured panels on the future of work, on innovations in transportation, on data privacy, and on infrastructure. The keynote speaker, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, shared his insights on the intersection of technology and policy.
Among the many policy debates of 2018, few were as lively as the debate surrounding US immigration policy. Immigration is a multifaceted issue, with complex policy factors at hand and monumental implications for the US.
The challenge for us as we tackle policy topics related to immigration is that public policies are currently a barrier that prevents individuals from making decisions that will benefit them and their families. The system is so complex that even those who attempt to gain legal status through normal means are often frustrated and may make choices that put themselves or others in danger.
Our vision is to highlight policies that support and empower individuals at every stage of their lives to pursue their dreams of economic betterment. Like all people, immigrants and refugees deserve a chance to prove they can be valuable contributors to the economy and their communities, provided they can have a fair opportunity to demonstrate their intent and capability.
For several years, CGO Research Manager Josh T. Smith has been examining current immigration policies, their effect on the US workforce, and reforms that will open the immigration process and improve the US economy. Along with a student research fellow, he authored the CGO’s first Research In Focus publication, “How Do Refugees Impact Labor Markets in the United States?” He’s also the author of four opinion editorials that were published in notable outlets such as Newsday, the Chicago Tribune, RealClear Policy, and the Deseret News, all of which recommend welcoming refugees and immigrants on the basis of their positive contributions to society. Smith’s future research will focus on the impact of immigration on local communities and the relationship between migration and entrepreneurship.
It has been more than 40 years since the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was enacted, yet during that span, policymakers, landowners, conservation groups, and sportsmen’s organizations have all grappled with how to best protect endangered species and their habitats on private property without compromising the landowners’ priorities.Our challenge is that federal agencies tend to adjudicate disputes about conservation in a way that sometimes creates poor incentives for landowners when they discover endangered species. Rather than accept fines or punishments, many choose to not report the species at all, preventing the protective aspects of the ESA from ever taking effect. Policies pertaining to endangered species have evolved very little in the 40 years since the ESA was passed.Our vision is to encourage cooperative solutions instead of conflict. Through our research on this issue, we’ve created a framework for responsible stewardship of lands and cooperative conservation of species that balances the competing uses—namely, the commercial and recreational uses of individuals and private groups with the uses of policymakers and conservation organizations. Our work pays special attention to the role incentives and voluntary exchange can play in ensuring the protection of our nation’s most beautiful and precious land, resources, habitat, and species.
CGO Research Manager Megan Hansen has spent her career exploring the roles that individuals, nonprofit organizations, and businesses can play in achieving better environmental outcomes through voluntary action. Just this year, Hansen organized a conservation working group at Utah State University that comprised academics, experts, landowners, and ranchers. She also keynoted a policy conference titled Pressing Issues in Public Lands Management.
Along with two student research fellows, Hansen authored the CGO’s first conservation-related policy paper: “Cooperative Conservation: Determinants of Landowner Engagement in Saving Endangered Species.” In future research, she intends to examine the institutional arrangements that would allow for more cooperative and incentive-based approaches to conserving water, land, and endangered species.
Corbett Grainger, University of Wisconsin–MadisonJanuary 31, 2018
Raul Deju, Former President and COO, Energy Solutions Partner, BrightStar VenturesFebruary 9, 2018
Keith Criddle, University of Alaska Fairbanks, JuneauFebruary 28, 2018
Tom Willis, CEO/President, Conestoga Energy Holdings, LLCMarch 15, 2018
Co-sponsored with the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business and CVF Capital PartnersMarch 23, 2018
Paulina Oliva, University of Southern CaliforniaMarch 29, 2018
Steve Daley, President of Market-Based ManagementMarch 30, 2018
Co-sponsored with the Institute for Humane Studies
Las Vegas, NVApril 4–5, 2018
Anne Wallin, Strategic Consumer & Brand Communications Lead at Netflix, SingaporeHeather Fawson, Director of Sales, Southern California, Survey Sampling InternationalApril 5–6, 2018
April 9, 2018
Dominic Parker, University of Wisconsin–MadisonApril 11, 2018
Kailin Kroetz, Resources for the FutureApril 18, 2018
Seth Moore, Senior VP of Analytics, Overstock.com Inc.April 19, 2018
Briggs DepewMay 14–18, 2018
May 18, 2018
May 21–25, 2018
Vernon L. SmithMay 30, 2018
June 7–9, 2018
Co–sponsored with the State of Utah Judiciary and the Utah State University College of Humanities and Social Sciences Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
Park City, UTJuly 18–19, 2018
Amy Rees AndersonSeptember 5, 2018
September 10–October 19, 2018
▪ Data Collection and Management,
▪ Intro to Experimental Economics,
▪ Public Speaking,
▪ Writing for Policy,
Megan Hansen, Christopher Koopman, and Josh T. Smith
▪ Frontier Topics in Economic Research,
▪ Intro to Economic Policy Analysis,
Josh T. Smith and Brian Isom
▪ Intro to the Regulatory Process,
▪Mainline Economics: Six Nobel Lectures in the Tradition of Adam Smith,
Travis Lybbert, University of California, DavisSeptember 28, 2018
Siri TerjesenOctober 3, 2018
October 9, 2018
October 22–December 7, 2018
▪ Intersection of Data and Theory,
▪ Research 101 Expanded,
Janette Goodridge and Arthur Wardle
▪ Work Habits and Time Management,
▪ Writing for Policy,
Josh T. Smith
▪ Critical Thinking and Thoughtful Doing Experiential Learning Laboratory,
▪ Experimental Economics,
▪ Governing the Commons: Ostrom Discussion Group,
▪ Mainline Economics: Six Nobel Lectures in the Tradition of Adam Smith,
Tom Willis, CEO/President, Conestoga Energy Holdings, LLCNovember 9, 2018
Dr. Sarah Johnston, University of Wisconsin–MadisonNovember 14, 2018
Salt Lake City Career Exploration TripNovember 16, 2018
Vernon L. SmithDecember 4–6, 2018
Candace SmithDecember 4–6, 2018