We support data-driven, current, policy relevant research projects. Our goal is to engage in efforts that lead to evidence-based evaluations of tradeoffs faced by policy makers. We seek no solutions, but a clearer roadmap of alternative course of actions.

The Disutility of SEIR Model Forecasts During the COVID-19 Pandemic

What are students in the Policy Research Laboratory working on? MAIN RESEARCHERS PRL Students Forecasting models developed by academics are rarely used in high-stakes decision making. When COVID-19 hit, epidemiologists built curve-fitting models (SEIR models) to forecast viral trends, and these predictions were used to justify punishing lockdowns and school closures. These models generated *ridiculously […]

Earth at night from space

In Defense of Merit in Science

Merit is a central pillar of liberal epistemology, humanism, and democracy. Author Carlos Carvalho Merit is a central pillar of liberal epistemology, humanism, and democracy. The scientific enterprise, built on merit, has proven effective in generating scientific and technological advances, reducing suffering, narrowing social gaps, and improving the quality of life globally. This perspective documents […]

Objectivism Program

Exploring and applying Ayn Rand’s philosophy of reason, egoism, and capitalism. MAIN RESEARCHER Gregory Salmieri AFFILIATED FACULTY Tara Smith Gena Gorlin The Salem Center’s Objectivism Program (co-sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute) aims to foster the study of Ayn Rand’s philosophy and its applications to contemporary affairs. We support research about and informed by Objectivism, […]

Policy Research Lab Projects

What are students in the Policy Research Laboratory working on? MAIN RESEARCHERS PRL Students PROJECTS COVID-19 Data Analysis Students: Jacob Roth, Daniela Serrano, Will Robinson, Matthew Vu Do Political Orthodoxies Influence Academic Publications? Students: Daniela Serrano Does Monopolistic Pricing Power Exist in Small Firm Mergers? Students: Will Robinson Effects of Covid-19 on Birthrates Students: Lily […]


We collect data from various sources to show the impact of COVID-19 and the related mitigation measures on the Top 20 Texas MSAs. Main Researchers Salem Center Team The mission of this project is to gather information about large areas of economic activity in Texas, starting with Austin then expanding to the rest of the […]

Financial Market Regulation

Promoting the relevance of academic research in the design, implementation, and evaluation of financial market regulation. Director Scott W. Bauguess Through events, analysis, and commentary, the program on financial markets regulation aims to elevate the role evidence-based decision making in the policy development process. Bringing the rigor of peer-reviewed research to decision-makers can mitigate the […]

Objectivity in Thought, Action, and Enterprise

It takes work for human beings to know reality and to form and achieve values within it. Understanding this work enables us to take greater control of our minds and our lives. MAIN RESEARCHER Gregory Salmieri Human beings—many of us, at least—aspire to be objective in our thinking and our decision-making. We aspire to conform […]

Cybersecurity Policy

By first understanding the behavioral consequences of policy changes in cyberspace, we are better able to defend and understand the increasingly connected world in which we live. MAIN RESEARCHER Taylor “TJ” Canann Cybersecurity Post of the Month The Huawei 5G Infrastructure Debate One of the greatest drivers of human progress in the last couple of decades […]

Corporate Influence Over the Policymaking Process

Understanding corporate influence over the policymaking process MAIN RESEARCHER Steven Rashin Corporations and organized interests influence the policymaking process from an idea’s inception through its codification into law to its implementation.  There is a consensus between policymakers, scholars, and corporate leaders that a degree of corporate influence over policy is necessary to ensure that the […]

Heterogeneity in Policy Effects

This initiative is a joint effort between scholars from UT and ASU in order to study the impact of policy actions. Main Researchers Carlos Carvalho, Jared Murray, Richard Hahn The Salem Center supports multiple efforts to bring the use of modern data science tools to improve the evaluation of policies impacts. Going beyond the average impact of an intervention and understanding […]

Credit Access and Determinants of Entrepreneurial Success

This initiative is a joint effort between scholars in order to test the importance and factors of entrepreneurial success. Main Researcher William Fuchs Professor William Fuchs (Finance) is working on a number of projects trying to understand the impact of access to credit on the formation of new business. Salem Center support will help the […]

Generalizing Experimental Results

MAIN RESEARCHERS Erin Hartman and Stephen Jessee Previous studies have compared experimental findings from convenience samples (e.g. Amazon Mechanical Turk) with those from population experiments (e.g. nationally representative probability samples). But while these results provide important information about how well these less expensive samples might approximate so-called “gold standard” samples, they still rely on convenience […]

Past Research

Coding Congressional Budget Office Bill Scoring Reports

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was created with the mandate to provide research assistance to Congress. Its most important role is to provide cost estimates for congressional bills that make it out of the committee system prior to voting on the chamber floors. On its website, the CBO maintains a record of all the bill […]

Ideologues and Technocrats: How Congress Solves Problems.

Ph.D. student E.J. Fagan is conducting a study looking into the influence of think-tanks and interest groups on the policy-making process. The Salem Center provided support for E.J. to collect the necessary information to evaluate his hypothesis of growing influence from the policy content of 16,000 think tank white papers, and one of 1,100 appearances […]