NRI Project List

Current Projects:

Richard Burkhauser (Cornell University) and Mary Daly (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco) published their book on disability program reform, "The Declining Work and Welfare of People with Disabilities: What Went Wrong and a Strategy for Change," in September 2011. The book draws reform proposals from two proven sources: welfare reform of the mid-'90s and the successful reform of the Dutch disability system. Tampering with disability programs is never politically popular, but with Social Security's Disability Insurance Trust Fund facing insolvency in 2018, reform is more urgent than ever.

Robert Carroll and AEI resident scholar Alan D. Viard are working on a book that makes the case for replacing the current income tax with a progressive consumption-based tax, known as the X-Tax.

Christopher Conover (Duke University) completed the manuscript for his book, the "Illustrated Guide to the American Health Economy," which is scheduled to be released in December 2011. The book graphically illustrates the importance of the US health industry in the general economy and its effect on individual households. In the months leading up to the book's publication, Conover will produce a series of "charticles" (short online articles built around relevant charts contained in the Guide) for the Enterprise Blog.

Steven J. Davis (AEI and University of Chicago) continues to participate in AEI events as a visiting scholar, researching the effect of tax policy on labor markets, and has proven to be an excellent source of advice and new project ideas for NRI. The first completed monograph in his series on economic well-being and inequality ("Prices, Poverty, and Inequality" by Christian Broda and David Weinstein) was published in 2008. Mark Aguiar and Erik Hurst's project on leisure inequality, "The Increase in Leisure Inequality, 1965-2005," was published in June 2009. The third book, "Inequality in Living Standards Since 1980: Income Tells Only A Small Part of the Story," by Orazio Attanasio, Erich Battistin and Mario Padula, was published in October 2011. The authors find that low-income households do not always coincide with low-consumption households and conclude that the wide variety of instruments available for smoothing income shocks—such as public and private transfers or borrowing—blunt the rising slope of "inequality" measured by income alone. Bruce Meyer and Jim Sullivan recently published their contribution to the series, "The Material Well-Being of the Poor and the Middle Class Since the 1970s," and also hosted a launch event.

Jon Entine (NRI Visiting Fellow) continues to publish regularly on a variety of issues related to corporate social responsibility. Most recently, he published an edited volume exploring the impact of precautionary standards on international food security policies, "Crop Chemophobia: Will Precaution Kill the Green Revolution?" (AEI Press, February 2011). The volume covers the potential unintended consequences of recent campaigns against pesticide and preservative usage, including environmental degradation, the spread of disease and a hungrier world.

H.E. Frech (University of California, Santa Barbara), Stephen Parente (University of Minnesota) and John Hoff are currently working on a project that shows how and why the common comparisons between United States health care systems and international health care systems are misleading. The first of three papers examines data on the performance of international health care systems published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that indicate that the US results are not correspondingly better than those of countries that spend less and find these intercountry are comparisons unable to adequately differentiate between health system performance and other confounding factors that determine health.(University of Minnesota) and John Hoff are currently working on a project that shows how and why the common comparisons between United States health care systems and international health care systems are misleading. The first of three papers examines data on the performance of international health care systems published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that indicate that the US results are not correspondingly better than those of countries that spend less and find these intercountry are comparisons unable to adequately differentiate between health system performance and other confounding factors that determine health.

R. Richard Geddes's (Cornell University) book on public-private partnerships (PPPs) in surface transportation, "The Road to Renewal: Private Investment in US Transportation Infrastructure," was published by AEI Press in February 2011. Geddes was subsequently asked to testify at a panel on "Competition for Intercity Passenger Rail in America," and he has also earned media attention from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN and CNBC. Geddes's entrepreneurial approach to managing transportation resources has inspired him to explore new questions about PPPs, specifically "pricing" road capacity and attracting private investment for high-speed rail.

Ed Glaeser is expanding upon the themes of his widely discussed book "Triumph of the City" in an AEI working paper on federal urban policy. His major themes will be that urban success relies on private entrepreneurship far more than any public investment and that the government has often erred by investing in place rather than people.

Daniel Goldhaber (University of Washington) completed his working paper "A Worm in the Apple? The Implications of Seniority-Based Teacher Layoffs" in January. He found that seniority-driven systems that take a "last-hired, first-fired" approach to teacher layoffs fail to consider teacher effectiveness and harm student achievement. They also require substantially more teachers to be laid off to achieve specific budget targets, because senior teachers, whose jobs are protected, earn more than novice teachers. His research attracted the attention of the media, including an op-ed in the Tacoma Tribune, and in response to his study, a large bipartisan group of state legislators introduced a bill to end the seniority-only layoff system in Washington State.

Joe Gyourko (University of Pennsylvania) is writing a working paper on the risk assumed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). In examining the quality of their underwriting, Gyourko will conduct a thorough analysis of the true risk that FHA has assumed in recent years, applying the lessons learned from the data on delinquency and default gleaned from the housing crisis. Should Gyourko determine that FHA is truly at risk for defaulting, he cautions that taxpayers could soon be on the hook for another federal bailout between $50 and $100 billion.

Arthur Herman is working on his manuscript for "Freedom's Forge: How American Business Built the Arsenal of Democracy and Won World War II." His manuscript traces the remarkable mobilization of American industry, technology, and material production over the course of the World War II.

Robert Kaestner (University of Illinois at Chicago) hosted an event in February 2011, "The Secondary Spending Effects of More Primary Health Care: Does Seeing the Doctor Keep You Out of the Hospital?" where he released the first draft of his working paper on primary health care. The working paper was released in September.

Nicholas Muller (Middlebury College) and Robert Mendelsohn (Yale University) completed a manuscript on air pollution regulation that they expect to publish in early 2012. In the book, "Measuring Marginal Damages: Moving Towards Efficient Air Pollution Policy in the United States," they argue that environmental regulations can be made more efficient by using information on marginal damages caused by emissions to shape policy and provide a model to calculate gross annual damages by pollutant, industry and source type. They also use marginal damage estimates to develop new approaches to pollution regulation, including damage-weighted tradable permits and spatially explicit pollution taxes.

Douglas Noonan (Georgia Tech School of Public Policy) is researching the effects of air quality policies on households. His three-part series will examine the effects of smog advisory programs, inspection and maintenance programs and air quality improvements on individual behavior.

June O'Neill (Baruch College) is currently working on two projects for NRI: a book on employment discrimination and a health policy working paper comparing the efficacy of Canada's single-payer system with the American multipayer system. Her book, tentatively titled "The Declining Significance of Race and Gender in the Labor Market," was completed earlier this year and circulated for outside review. She is also in the process of updating her 2007 working paper "Health Status, Health Care and Inequality: Canada vs. the U.S."

Pia Orrenius (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas) and Madeline Zavodny's (Agnes Scott College) book on employment-based immigration reform, "Beside the Golden Door: US Immigration Reform in a New Era of Globalization", was published in July 2010 by AEI Press and released at a public event in September. The book has been very well received, earning the authors attention from both popular media outlets such as The New York Times and academic venues such as the Journal of Economic Literature. Orrenius has continued her affiliation with AEI as a visiting scholar, and Zavodny is in the final stages of a writing paper that is co-sponsored by AEI.

Mark J. Perry took a sabbatical from teaching economics and finance at the University of Michigan–Flint last year to serve as a contributing editor for AEI's online magazine, The American. He has produced regular updates for the Enterprise Blog on health care, financial market regulation and energy, and has also contributed articles on topics ranging from philanthropic giving and trade protectionism to income and economic stagflation.

Edward Pinto (NRI Visiting Fellow) released an influential white paper in January with resident scholars Alex Pollock and Peter Wallison titled, "Taking the Government Out of Housing Finance: Principles for Reforming the Housing Finance Market."

Richard Rogerson (Princeton University) has continued his affiliation with AEI as a visiting scholar, following the successful release of his recent book, "The Impact of Labor Taxes on Labor Supply: An International Perspective" (AEI Press, May 2010). His results demonstrate that a 10 percentage point increase in the tax rate on labor leads to a 10 to 15 percent decrease in hours of work, a decline in labor output equivalent to a serious recession.

David Schoenbrod has continued to research market-based approaches to pollution reduction and environmental law reform as a visiting fellow. This spring, he testified before Congress on the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, and he has also published various short articles on that topic. He continues to make regular visits to AEI and participate in AEI conferences, such as an event cosponsored with George Washington University last March titled "Who Is Accountable for Federal Regulations?" He also published an Outlook earlier this year, "Rescuing the Clean Air Act from Obsolescence," and continues to examine how Congress could restructure environmental statutes so that their objectives could be achieved more effectively and efficiently.

Jacob Vigdor (Duke University) and Thomas Ahn (University of Kentucky) finished the first of two articles exploring the efficacy of school accountability programs. Using the accountability sanctions on North Carolina public schools as a case study, Vigdor and Ahn discovered that properly configured teacher incentive programs result in student achievement gains. The article, "Making Teacher Incentives Work," was released as an Outlook and was the basis for a well-received June 2011 event at AEI. They are currently starting their second brief on accountability reforms in No Child Left Behind.

Amy Wax (University of Pennsylvania Law School) is researching the ways policymakers have tried to minimize perverse incentives in welfare policy to ensure that aid beneficiaries were neither made better off nor placed in a better financial position than people who were not qualified to receive benefits.

John Weicher's (Hudson Institute) manuscript for "Housing at a Crossroads: The Why, How, and Who of Assistance Programs" is in the final stages of production. In the book, Weicher contends that vouchers are the solution to the 21st century impasse in housing policy because they address affordability more directly and effectively than the subsidized production programs which dominated housing policy in the past.

Christopher Yoo (University of Pennsylvania Law School) is writing a monograph that argues against "net neutrality" laws and supports maximum flexibility for Internet providers to organize themselves around market demand.

Benjamin Zycher (NRI Visiting Fellow) continues to be an active member of AEI's energy and environment team. As a visiting fellow, he spends one week in our offices each month collaborating with resident scholars Ken Green and Steve Hayward on various conferences related to energy and science policy. Zycher has also produced a monograph on the economic viability of renewable energy sources, "Renewable Electricity Generation," which will be released in November.

Completed Projects:

Jonathan Adler (Case Western Reserve University School of Law) edited volume on the Endangered Species Act, "Rebuilding the Ark: New Perspectives on ESA Reform," was published in June 2011. Adler assembled contributions from nine leading policy experts for this volume, which challenges conventional conservation strategies and seeks to simultaneously enhance economic efficiency and species conservation. The book organizes a wide variety of themes, including water rights, the role of science and climate change, around the central theme that imposing prescriptive regulations does not always help conserve endangered species, and in some cases likely does more harm than good.

Robert Barro and Rachel McCleary spent two months in residence at AEI in Summer 2010 as visiting scholars while on break from Harvard University. Barro focused his research on the effects of the stimulus bill on the US economy. At a public event titled "Do We Need a New Stimulus Package? Estimates of Spending and Tax Multipliers," Barro discussed both the impact of the stimulus on private spending and the effect of public-sector hiring on private hiring and concluded that, over five years, an extra $600 billion in public spending deters $900 billion in private spending. McClearly focused on religion's influence on productivity, economic growth and the maintenance of political institutions. In November 2010, she returned to AEI to host an event entitled "Religion and the 2012 Presidential Election," where experts discussed the impact of religious groups on the midterm elections and their influence on the upcoming presidential election.

Daniel Botkin and John Bockstoce have completed their work mapping the historical distribution of sea ice from the records of whaling ship logbooks in the Arctic seas. The historical ice records they compiled are among the most detailed and extensive historical oceanic records of any kind and are also valuable for comparing ice conditions over time. After Botkin and Bockstoce enlisted contributions from two experts on sea ice dynamics, Andy Mahoney and Hajo Eicken of the University of Alaska, the piece was accepted for publication in a major scientific journal, Arctic.

Jeffrey R. Brown (University of Illinois) has compiled an edited volume addressing the costs and vulnerabilities of various government insurance programs and exploring private market alternatives. "Public Insurance and Private Markets" (AEI Press, May 2010) covers insurance markets for pensions, deposits, crops, terrorism, floods and other natural catastrophes. Contributors include Vincent H. Smith (Montana State University) and George G. Pennacchi (University of Illinois).

Barry R. Chiswick's (University of Illinois, Chicago) edited volume, "High-Skilled Immigration in a Global Labor Market," was published in March 2011. The chapters, which were presented at a public conference at AEI in 2009, touch on issues ranging from work visas, labor market performance and educational trends to religion and immigration's overall economic impact.

Bryan E. Dowd, Roger Feldman and Robert F. Coulman finished their monograph describing how an accurate, but politically sustainable, competitive bidding regime would help Medicare pay for coverage at local market prices. "Bring Market Prices to Medicare: Essential Reform at a Time of Fiscal Crisis" was published by AEI Press in November 2009.

Michael S. Greve (AEI) hosted a two-day conference, titled "Transatlantic Law Forum: Citizenship in Europe and the United States," which explored and debated the differing American and European concepts of citizenship and republicanism. The papers presented were compiled into an edited volume, "Citizenship in America and Europe."

Gordon Hanson's monograph, "Regulating Low-Skilled Immigration in the United States" (AEI Press, September 2010) makes the case for an immigration system that is responsive to market signals. Low-skilled immigration lowers the price of many US goods and services, though increasing the low-skilled population may also increase the net tax burden on native residents. Hanson argues that successful reform depends on attracting immigrants with strong incentives to be productive laborers who will not place excessive demands on public services.

Magnus Henrekson (Research Institute of Industrial Economics) and Andreas Bergh (Ratio Institute) completed their book "Government Size and Implications for Economic Growth" (AEI Press, June 2010). The authors find a negative correlation between the size of government and the rate of economic growth in rich countries but also demonstrate that long-term economic development is affected by what governments do and how that activity is financed.

Frederick M. Hess (AEI) launched a large-scale research effort into the role of the federal government in education policy, which culminated in the project, "Carrots, Sticks, and the Bully Pulpit: What Uncle Sam Has Learned About His Role in K-12 Education." Hess hosted a full-day conference at AEI in May 2011 that showcased a number of original papers from leading education scholars. The papers will be compiled into an edited volume to be published in 2012.

Monica Higgins (Harvard University) coauthored an article with Frederick Hess, "Creating a Corps of Change Agents" in February which explored the entrepreneurial impact of Teach for America on public education. The article appeared in the Summer 2011 edition of Education Next.

R. Glenn Hubbard (AEI and Columbia Business School) and John L. Chapman convened some of the world's leading corporate finance scholars for a conference in November 2007, "The History, Impact, and Future of Private Equity: Ownership, Governance, and Firm Performance," addressing the role of private equity in today's economy. Among the scholars who participated were Michael C. Jensen (Harvard Business School), Josh Lerner (Harvard Business School), Steven N. Kaplan (University of Chicago), Karen H. Wruck (Ohio State University) and Adam Lerrick (AEI and Carnegie-Mellon).

L. Lynne Kiesling (Northwestern University) and Andrew Kleit (Penn State University) have completed their edited volume on electricity deregulation, "Electricity Restructuring: The Texas Story" (AEI Press, November 2009). The volume combines academic analyses with firsthand accounts from some of the actual architects of the Texas restructuring design. The authors originally presented their papers at a conference at AEI in January 2008 titled "Electricity Deregulation, Texas-Style: The Way to Generate the Best Deal?"

Darius Lakdawalla (University of Southern California) spent one month in residence this spring during his second term as a visiting fellow. Last summer, he produced an article for AEI's Health Policy Outlook series with Dana Goldman and fellow NRI affiliate Tomas Philipson on "Addressing Geographic Variation and Health Care Efficiency: Lessons for Medicare from Private Health Insurers."

Kenneth Lehn (University of Pittsburgh), with Leonce Bargeron (University of Pittsburgh) and Chad Zutter (University of Pittsburgh), released a study that analyzes the effect of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 on corporate risk-taking and hosted a corresponding event, "Is Sarbanes-Oxley Impairing Corporate Risk-Taking?"

Kate Litvak (University of Texas School of Law) prepared a working paper on the impact of Sarbanes-Oxley on corporate risk-taking, using cross-listed companies to isolate the effects of the legislation. She focuses on risk-taking behavior by measuring the cost of debt and credit default swap rates (controlling for leverage), by examining share price volatility, changes in R&D investment, variations in earnings and differences between market and book ratios, among other figures. The paper was presented at an AEI conference, "Is Sarbanes-Oxley Impairing Corporate Risk-Taking?"

Randall Lutter released "Food-Borne Illness Outbreaks: Data Disclosure, Performance, and Recommendations for Reform" in June 2011 as part of AEI's Regulation Outlook series. The paper was picked up by several influential industry newsletters, such Food Safety News, and Lutter will seek to publish an academic version of the paper in a peer-reviewed journal.

Harvey C. Mansfield (Harvard University) presented a series of lectures on Alexis de Tocqueville's work and its relevance to America's current political landscape.

Robert Maranto (Villanova University), Richard E. Redding (Villanova University) and Frederick M. Hess have finished an edited volume exploring the effects of political correctness on academia, "The Politically Correct University: Problems, Scope, and Reforms" (AEI Press, November 2009). Chapter authors presented their findings at an AEI conference on November 14, 2007.

Gary E. Marchant and his coauthors, Guy A. Cardineau and Thomas P. Redick, completed their book on genetically modified food labeling, "Thwarting Consumer Choice: The Case Against Mandatory Labeling for Genetically Modified Foods" (AEI Press, May 2010).

Political science professors Shep Melnick (Boston College) and Marc Landy (Boston College) collaborated with AEI scholar Michael S. Greve to organize a series of seminars at AEI on federalism.

Lawrence Mead (New York University) completed his book "Expanding Work Programs for Poor Men," and it was published in May 2011 by AEI Press. As one of the original architects of welfare reform during the mid-'90s that required single mothers to work to receive assistance, Mead naturally prescribes a similar solution for his new target: nonworking men. Specifically, he suggests reaching out to poor men through existing programs such as child support and parole to help them connect to the labor market. He hosted several conferences examining the decline in work among low-skilled men and ways that government-supported men's work programs can be instituted without creating a new mass entitlement.

Bruce Meyer (University of Chicago) has completed his working paper on the effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on poverty and the incentive to work. He finds that the EITC has sharply increased the fraction of single mothers that work and is an effective tool for lifting parents above the poverty line, but he does not recommend expanding the credit for noncustodial parents. Such an expansion, as has been proposed by President Obama, would transfer income to parents with few resources, but it is unlikely to stimulate employment as successfully as the current EITC because the vast majority of noncustodial parents are already working.

Tom Miller (AEI) collaborated with adjunct scholars Scott Harrington, Stephen Parente and Jim Capretta on a series of working papers that offer accessible, feasible health policy reform solutions that stand as alternatives to ObamaCare. Three working papers were released at an AEI event in December, "Beyond 'Repeal and Replace': Ideas for Real Health Reform," that covered the topics of insurance regulation, health information technology and defined contributions. Miller and Capretta's paper, "The Defined Contribution Route to Health Care Choice and Competition," has been influential in making defined contributions one of the leading options to replace open-ended entitlements

Andrew P. Morriss (University of Illinois College of Law) has compiled an edited volume, "Offshore Financial Centers and Regulatory Competition," (AEI Press, May 2010), which highlights the importance of offshore financial centers in the global financial system and covers issues such as tax competition and financial privacy laws.

Lee Ohanian (University of California, Los Angeles) explored the potential impact of increased unionization on the US economy in his working paper, "The Impact of the Employee Free Choice Act on the US Economy."

Tomas J. Philipson (University of Chicago) and Anupam Jena's (University of Chicago) monograph, "Health and Wealth Disparities in the United States," was published in October 2010. The authors demonstrate that, because consumers value health in addition to monetary income, a full measurement of the trends in well-being across races and states requires taking both bodily and financial health into account. Their research does not downplay income differences, but instead observes that alternative measures, such as full income, suggest a more optimistic view of trends in black–white disparities."

AEI adjunct scholar Abigail Thernstrom has written a book discussing the entire Voting Rights Act, examining the law's impact on society. "Voting Rights--And Wrongs: The Elusive Quest for Racially Fair Elections" was published by the AEI Press in June 2009.

Marc D. Weidenmier (Claremont McKenna College) completed his working paper, "Hedging Against Peak Oil Shocks," examining the ability of the United States to hedge against the negative effects of oil shocks by increasing domestic energy production.

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