Josh T. SmithResearch Manager
    Josh T. Smith
    Research Manager

    The Center for Growth and Opportunity
    at Utah State University

    Research Manager


    Josh Smith is a Master’s student in economics at Utah State University where he specializes in public choice theory and environmental policy. He is a Research Manager for the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University and writes as a Young Voices Advocate where his writing has been published in several national outlets including Newsweek, the Hill, and Yahoo News.

    • MSE, Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University, 2018
    • BS, Economics, Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University, 2017
    • BS, Political Science, Utah State University, 2017
    Research Interests

    Environmental Policy Energy Policy Public Choice Theory
    Resource Economics Environmental Economics Policy Analysis

    Policy Papers
    Net Metering in the States

    Net metering allows an owner of rooftop solar panels to participate in the electric grid as a distributed energy producer. Solar panels first supply power to the home, and at times when the solar panel produces more power than the home is using the power is sent back onto the grid to be used by other customers. The meter “spins” backwards, subtracting the power sent onto the grid from the total power used by the consumer. That is how net metering gets its name—it means that at the end of the month the consumer is charged only for net electricity used.

    Research In Focus
    What Should be Included in a State’s Sales Tax Base?

    Tax policy researchers across the political spectrum agree that narrow, targeted policies (such as tax credits) are usually a better way to address the regressive nature of the tax than blanket exemptions. Current policies exempting services and partially exempting groceries are unlikely to effectively minimize the tax burden on Utah’s consumers. More targeted policies combined with a broad tax base and low tax rates may achieve the same levels of public revenue at a much lower fiscal and economic cost.

    What Is the Relationship between Renewable Portfolio Standards and Electricity Prices?

    States around the country are considering whether to enact or increase renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which are policies meant to lower carbon emissions and encourage renewable energy use. RPS require that utilities provide some percentage or amount of their electricity from qualifying renewable sources

    How Does Occupational Licensing Affect U.S. Consumers and Workers?

    This paper examines the existing research on the effects of occupational licensing and concludes with a discussion of possible reforms. Existing studies have yet to find a definitive link between licensing restrictions and their stated purpose of improving service quality. Several studies do find, however, that licensing requirements raise pay for licensed workers, but with a cost: reduced employment and higher consumer prices. Overall, the evidence suggests there may be gains from policy reforms that allow greater room for less restrictive alternatives, such as voluntary certification.

    How Do Refugees Impact Labor Markets in the United States?

    Current crises around the world, from Syria to Venezuela, have displaced an estimated 25.4 million refugees. Historically, the United States has played a leading role in permanently resettling the world’s refugees, maintaining a refugee admission ceiling around 70,000 per fiscal year over the last two decades. However, the current ceiling has been lowered to 45,000 for fiscal year 2018, its lowest level in history. The global refugee population, by contrast, is growing.

    Selected Policy Reports

    Practical Reforms to Provide Affordable Energy in New Hampshire (with Brian Warnes)
    Strata Policy and Americans for Prosperity Foundation, 2017

    The Unseen Costs of Natural Gas-Generated Electricity Energy (with Randy Simmons, Ryan Yonk, Megan Hansen)
    Strata Policy, 2016

    The Unseen Costs of Coal-Generated Electricity (with Randy Simmons, Ryan Yonk, Megan Hansen)
    Strata Policy, 2016

    The Unseen Costs of Solar-Generated Electricity (with Randy Simmons, Ryan Yonk, Megan Hansen)
    Strata Policy, 2016

    The Unseen Costs of Wind-Generated Electricity (with Randy Simmons, Ryan Yonk, Megan Hansen)
    Strata Policy, 2016

    • Politics and Quality of Life: The Role of Well-Being in Political Outcomes (with Dr. Ryan Yonk), Springer, 2018
    Periodical Contribution
    Inside Sources Real Clear Policy Daily Caller
    Real Clear Energy​ Post Register East Bay Times
    Newsweek​ Philadelphia’s The Inquirer The Hill
    Deseret News​ The Beacon The Salt Lake Tribune
    Market Urbanism​ Austin American-Statesman Orange County Register
    Las Vegas Review-Journal

    The Benchmark

    Josh T. Smith
    Research Manager