The Policy Simulation Library DC meeting: Tax-Calculator model demo



Event Summary

On Monday, the Open Source Policy Center (OSPC) at AEI hosted the Policy Simulation Library (PSL) February meeting. PSL is an open-source software library for public policy decision-making and organizes monthly meetings for open-source policy modelers to present their projects to users and the general public.

The event began with brief updates from OSPC’s Matt Jensen and Hanke Doupe. Mr. Jensen introduced OSPC’s new website, and Mr. Doupe presented on ParamTools, an open-source, PSL-incubating project that helps developers define, adjust, and validate the inputs of computational modeling projects.

Following these brief updates, Martin Holmer, president and senior economist at Policy Simulation Group, presented his work on Tax-Calculator, an open-source model for federal tax policy analysis. Dr. Holmer described the model’s structure and output. Then OSPC’s Anderson Frailey demonstrated how to use the model to analyze a tax policy reform proposal. The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A on a range of topics, including the model’s ability to backtest and extend projections into the future.

— Peter Metz

Event Description

Join us for the Policy Simulation Library DC meeting hosted by AEI’s Open Source Policy Center to learn how computational simulation models are used to inform public policy decision-making. After updates from the community about various open-source projects, Martin Holmer, president and senior economist at the Policy Simulation Group, will discuss Tax-Calculator.

Tax-Calculator is a microsimulation model of the US federal individual income and payroll tax system used to estimate aggregate revenue and distribution effects of tax reforms. Tax-Calculator has supported many prominent users, including administrations from both parties, lawmakers, newspapers, and academic researchers. Tax-Calculator is written in Python.

Tax-Calculator recently joined the PSL Catalog, an open-source software library of public policy models. Everyone is welcome to the PSL DC meeting regardless of technical knowledge or experience, although please expect modeling code and results to be presented.

To learn more about PSL, visit and follow us on Twitter @PSLmodels.


12:00 PM
Registration and lunch

12:15 PM
Introduction and updates from open-source projects:
Anderson Frailey, AEI

12:30 PM
Martin Holmer, Policy Simulation Group

1:15 PM

1:30 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Anderson Frailey at [email protected], 202.419.5214.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Speaker Biographies

Anderson Frailey is a research associate at the Open Source Policy Center at AEI. He has made substantial technical contributions to economic modeling projects including Tax Data and Tax-Calculator. His areas of research include tax policy and universal basic income. Mr. Frailey received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Martin Holmer has decades of experience developing and using microsimulation models for the analysis of welfare reforms, health insurance plan choice, Social Security reforms, and reforms of employer-sponsored pension policy. Most recently, he is a lead developer of the Policy Simulation Library’s open-source Tax-Calculator model for the analysis of individual income and payroll tax policy. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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