Our goal is to use the cutting-edge techniques of economics, but ground this work in the enduring insights begun by Adam Smith and continuing through the work of many economists today. In the questions we pursue, we avoid projects that maintain the status quo and focus on transformative projects. Every project we select disrupts, challenges, and changes the way people think about ongoing public policy questions, and will paint an optimistic vision that provides a clear path for insightful, innovative, and responsible solutions.
Ideas and experimentation are accepted as necessary precursors for invention. Oversight of new technologies is market-driven, adaptive, and flexible. A culture of optimism grounds our shared perspective on innovation and technology. Individuals prefer dynamism to stagnation.
Individuals are empowered to pursue their dreams of economic betterment. Society is open to change, inquiry, commerce, and trade. Public policies support lifelong learning and help to fuel human capital accumulation and economic growth across the income distribution.
Institutions encourage cooperative solutions over conflict. Policymakers use legislation mindful of freedom of choice, economic efficiency, and fiscal responsibility. Civil society plays a central role as a source of protection and support for the least advantaged.
Research In Progress
Utilizing the SMarT Program to Prepare for Retirement
Public pension systems like Social Security will continue to face financing and solvency problems for the foreseeable future. This research examines whether private alternatives to public pensions, similar to the Save More Tomorrow (SMarT) program might assist households in preparing for potential cuts to social security benefits.
Agricultural Productivity and Property Rights Revisited
Projections about future agricultural productivity unsuccessfully predicted that global food supply could not keep pace with population growth. This research examines U.S. corn and wheat yield trends over the past 70 years to determine if there is any evidence of an end to technological, yield-enhancing progress and the impact of property rights on the creation and adoption of yield enhancing technology.
Institutions and Economic Development on Native American Lands
High poverty rates and low entrepreneurship rates have stunted economic growth on Native American reservations for decades. This paper analyzes the root causes of low economic development examining the institutional framework of the federal trust system as it relates to land and resource ownership for Native Americans living on reservations.
The Economics of Immigration Policy
For several decades, efforts to make sweeping changes to U.S. immigration policy have largely been stalled by partisan political battles. This research examines the long-term economic effects of various immigration policies.
The term “Midnight Monuments” has been used to refer to National Monuments designated during a president’s lame duck period. This research examines whether the timing of monument designations has any effect on the size or frequency of presidential monument designations.
Attenuating and Revoking Use Rights to Public Trust Resources
This research will review the implications of government agencies providing compensation for revoking permits to rights to public trust resources such as range, water, forests, and fisheries.
Revisiting Internet Commerce Taxes
Many states across the U.S. have adopted policies that, in one form or another, tax online retail sales. Recently, a petition to the Supreme Court has called new attention to these policies. This research project will discuss how public choice theory informs the current debate on the taxation of online sales.
Fixing a Monumental Problem: Reforming the Antiquities Act
Created in 1906, the Antiquities Act was created to protect scientific and historic artifacts by granting the President of the United States authority to designate federally-owned lands as National Monuments. Both sides of the political aisle argue that presidents have abused this power by creating multi-million-acre monuments, and more recently, that presidents can rescind or shrink monuments. This research assesses several potential amendments to the Antiquities Act.