Megan E. HansenResearch Director
    Megan E. Hansen
    Research Director

    The Center for Growth and Opportunity
    at Utah State University

    Research Director


    Megan E. Hansen is Research Director at the Center for Growth and Opportunity where she manages the Center’s portfolio of policy-relevant research while ensuring student fellows receive quality mentorship and hands-on research experience. Megan previously worked as Director of Policy at Strata, where she managed the organization’s research agenda. Her research and opinion commentary have been published in numerous state and national outlets including USA Today, The Salt Lake Tribune, and The Hill.

    Megan received a master’s degree in economics from Utah State University in 2016. During her master’s program, she participated in the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship, a competitive program for graduate students at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. In her free time, Megan teaches a weekly yoga class and enjoys hiking in the beautiful mountains of Northern Utah.

    • M.S. in Economics, Utah State University, 2016
    • B.S. in International Studies & Economics, Utah State University, 2013
    Research Interests

    Cooperative Conservation Endangered Species
    Public Lands Policy Energy Policy

    Policy Papers

    Cooperative Conservation: Determinants of Landowner Engagement in Saving Endangered Species

    Since it was passed in 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has enabled federal agencies to protect species listed as endangered or threatened by enforcing strict prohibitions against any harm to the species. Although the condition of many listed species has stabilized or improved, very few have recovered fully, signaling the need for a more effective approach to conserving species.

    Selected Policy Reports

    Saving Endangered Species: Voluntary Solutions to Conservation (with Randy Simmons and Grant Patty)
    Strata Policy, 2017

    The Unseen Costs of Electricity Series (with Randy Simmons and Ryan Yonk)
    Strata Policy, 2016

    How to Fix Roads and Bridges without Increasing the Fuel Tax: Reform Federal Highway Policy and Use the Savings for Roads (with Tracy C. Miller)
    Policy brief with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 2015

    • The Reality of American Energy: The Hidden Costs of Electricity Policy (with Ryan Yonk and Jordan Lofthouse), Praeger, 2017
    Journal Articles
    • The Regulatory Noose: Logan City’s Adventures in Micro-Hydropower (with Randy Simmons and Ryan M. Yonk)
      June 23, 2016. Energies, 9(7), 482: doi: 10.3390/en9070482
    The Benchmark
    Public Interest Comments

    The Fish and Wildlife Service’s Proposed Rule: Revision of the Regulations for Prohibitions to Threatened Wildlife and Plants

    In this proposed rule the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) seeks comment on changes to the way the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is implemented. Rather than continuing to extend the same protections to threatened and endangered species alike, the rule change would require the FWS to determine whether species-specific protections are warranted for threatened species.

    The Fish and Wildlife Service’s Proposed Rule: Revision of the Regulations for Listing Species and Designating Critical Habitat

    In this proposed rule the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Services seek feedback on a proposed rule that would change the way the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is implemented.


    Ensuring Research of Consequence: Best Practices in Policy Research

    This session workshopped best practices for introducing peer review, policy editing, and other steps that can be taken to improve research quality without breaking the research budget.

    Public Lands Discussion

    On June 29, 2018 CGO Research Director Megan Hansen joins other panelists from The Heritage Foundation and Southern Utah University at a Public Lands Discussion featuring Senator Mike Lee hosted by The Sutherland Institute.

    Megan E. Hansen
    Research Director