Policy Research Seminars

IHS Policy Research Seminars offer graduate students and faculty a unique opportunity to collaborate with public policy experts to discuss and shape future research on important topics where the classical liberal point of view may be underrepresented.

These seminars foster new policy research ideas by bringing high-level academic thinking to the public policy debate while giving attendees the chance to engage in rigorous group discourse around challenging and important topics.

Hotel and travel assistance will be provided to all participants.

Seminar participation often leads to opportunities such as:

  • Assisting and co-authoring research
  • Developing new ideas for research papers and programs
  • Networking with professionals for future career opportunities

Please contact Ashley Donohue at policyresearch@TheIHS.org with any questions about upcoming programs or to express interest in participating.


Upcoming Programs

The Economics of Education
In partnership with the Texas Public Policy Foundation
June 17-18 in Austin, TX
Note: Space is still available.

This seminar will take place the evening of June 17th through all day June 18th in Austin, Texas and IHS will provide travel reimbursements as well as hotel both nights for all participants. We will feature panels on School Choice and Educational Savings Accounts as well as a Research Workshop that addresses gaps in school choice policy research. Keynote speakers include the Honorable Kent Grusendorf of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Matthew Ladner of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Policy Research Seminars are a cost-free opportunity to examine how your academic research can impact policy change and explore opportunities with TPPF and IHS. Registration is open to advanced graduate students and faculty.

To inquire about participating please email Ashley Donohue at policyresearch@TheIHS.org.


Risk Analysis
In partnership with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
June 27-28 in Portland, OR
Note: Space is still available.

The Policy Research Seminar on Risk Analysis will feature panels that address current challenges in risk assessment, issues in risk analysis (including consumer chemicals and economic risk issues), media and risk, and risk and agency incentives. Keynote speakers include Trevor Butterworth and Jonathan Wiener of Duke University School of Law. This seminar is appropriate for an interdisciplinary audience, especially for those with a background in economics, communications, the physical sciences, political science, and law.

This seminar will take place immediately before the Western Economic Association (WEA) annual meeting and will be held at the Hilton Portland, which is the same hotel that is hosting WEA. As an added benefit, if you are planning on attending the Western Economics Association Conference, participating in our seminar can offset the costs to get to WEA.

To inquire about registration please email Ashley Donohue at policyresearch@TheIHS.org


Policy Research Seminar at American Political Science Association Annual Meeting
In partnership with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
August 31 in Philadelphia, PA

Are you going to the American Political Science Association annual meeting? If so, please consider attending the policy research seminar that IHS is hosting with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Featuring David Primo, a Mercatus scholar and and Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Rochester, the goal of this seminar is to help faculty and advanced graduate students with a poli-sci background learn how they effect policy change with their academic scholarship. In addition, participants will be provided an overview of Mercatus programs and opportunities. The seminar will begin the evening of August 31st at approximately 5:30 pm near the hotel that is hosting APSA, and will conclude with a reception ending at approximately 11:00 pm that evening.

We will provide a stipend of $199 for your lodging as well as a travel reimbursement. The travel reimbursement that we provide will help offset the cost of attending APSA.

To inquire about attending, please email Ashley Donohue at policyresearch@TheIHS.org.


Inquire about Future Programs

If you’re interested in attending one of our Policy Research Seminars but don’t see your research area represented, send a copy of your updated CV and a brief description of your research to Ashley Donohue at policyresearch@TheIHS.org.

Previous Seminars

State and Local Policy
March 12-13, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, FL

The Institute for Humane Studies collaborated with the Mercatus Center to host a policy seminar that coincided with the 2016 Public Choice Society meeting.

This interdisciplinary seminar focused on policy research that highlighted state and local issues, including state law, institutions and federalism, and self-governance. The seminar also featured presentations on the role Mercatus plays in making academic research accessible to policymakers. Speakers and panelists included Eileen Norcross, Jason Sorens, Edward Timmons, and Michael Greve.

Free Market Environmentalism
April 1-2, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV

The Free Market and Environmentalism seminar, co-sponsored with Strata and the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), was held prior to this year’s Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) meeting.

It covered a wide range of topics within the umbrella of free market environmentalism, including panels on water rights, entrepreneurship and the environment, environmental policy in the Anthropocene, and energy policy. Featured speakers included Shawn Regan, Holly Fretwell, Jamie Workman as well as several other experts in this field.

Financial Markets Regulation
January 5-6, 2016 in San Francisco, CA

This seminar discussed research on how regulations shape the financial system, as well as the potential impacts of financial regulations on consumers, investors, and businesses.

For this seminar, we welcomed academic research papers that sought to understand the effects and implications of financial regulations. We were particularly interested in research that focused on the effects that financial regulation has on the ability of small businesses to meet their funding needs and the effects of consumer finance regulations on individuals’ access to the financial system.

FDA Pre-Market Approval and the Future of Innovation
November 19-20, 2015 in New Orleans, LA

The FDA’s pre-market approval process for pharmaceuticals and medical devices is the premiere example of the “precautionary principle” applied to policy-making. Defenders of the FDA model don’t just argue it is working for drugs and devices; they say it should applied elsewhere too, most notably for financial products, energy production, and commercial drones.

This seminar examined the FDA’s pre-market approval process, how it affects innovation, and what it might mean to apply the FDA model to other industries. Keynote speakers included Don Boudreaux of George Mason University, Joe Gulfo of the Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University.

Government Granted Privilege in American Capitalism
May 28-30, 2015

As the U.S. regulatory apparatus continues to grow, government-granted privileges and government-imposed restrictions mean more and more to American businesses.

This weekend of discussion focused on how these distortions affect the marketplace and firm behavior. It also touched on the role public choice can play in public policy. Keynote speakers included Dr. Joshua Wright of George Mason University and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as Dr. Edward Lopez of Western Carolina University.

Behavioral Economics and the Regulatory State
March 6-7, 2015

With the popularity of works by scholars like Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, questions of how behavioral economics can be applied to regulatory policy have begun to dominate the academic debate.

In this seminar, IHS, Mercatus, and scholars like Todd Zywicki of George Mason University and New York University’s Mario Rizzo discussed how classical liberal scholarship relates to this burgeoning field, as well as how classical liberal scholars can contribute to the discussion.