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The Takeaway offers its readers concrete ideas to take away and integrate into their thinking about a policy problem or current event. It features concise, non-technical analysis, thoughtful policy discussion, and practical recommendations on the key issues facing decision makers.

Recent Submissions

  • The NAFTA Intellect Disconnect: Actual Costs and Benefits versus Popular Perceptions 

    Robertson, Raymond (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2016-12)
    The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was initiated during the Republican administration of George H.W. Bush and completed during the Democrat administration of Bill Clinton, has been studied intensively ...
  • Phantom Capital: How Regulation Weakens Texas Groundwater Resources 

    Beckermann, Wayne R.; Parish, Mason Riley (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2016-06)
    Texans believe they own the water beneath their land and can freely sell or lease their water rights, but a patchwork of Groundwater Conservation Districts (GCDs) restrict such transactions. As a result, groundwater rights ...
  • Giving an “F” to the Franchise Tax: The Texas Franchise Tax Fails to Fund 

    Taylor, Lori L.; Cottingham, Erica; Shea, Allison (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2016-05)
    In 2006, Texas faced a fiscal double whammy. Not only had the Texas Supreme Court ordered the state to pick up more of the tab for K-12 education, but the legislature promised voters significant property tax relief. To ...
  • Striking a Workable Balance: Labor Provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership 

    Robertson, Raymond (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2015-12)
    Trade agreements have extended their reach far beyond simply reducing tariffs. One of the most controversial dimensions of modern trade agreements are labor standards. This brief explores the background and potential impact ...
  • Environmental Regulation: Can government regulate itself? 

    Teodoro, Manuel P.; Konisky, David M. (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2015-10)
    Leading theories of regulation assume that governments regulate profit-maximizing firms: governments set rules, to which firms respond rationally in ways that constrain their behavior. However, often the entities that ...
  • The Hidden Tax of Jury Service 

    Taylor, Lori L. (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2015-10-19)
    Not all taxes are conveniently labeled as such. For example, consider jury duty. Although it is seldom discussed in these terms, jury duty clearly fits the textbook definition of a tax—jurors are required to surrender a ...
  • When Equal is Not Equitable: Adjusting for Geographic Differences in Education Costs 

    Taylor, Lori L. (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2015-04)
    An educational dollar doesn’t stretch as far in some parts of the country as it does in others. School districts in high cost areas need additional dollars just to be able to purchase the same resources and hire the same ...
  • Fairer Trade, Removing Gender Bias in US Import Taxes 

    Taylor, Lori L.; Dar, Jawad (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2015-03)
    Tariff rates on most articles of imported apparel and footwear are classified by the gender of the intended user, and for some items the rates differ. In this issue of The Takeaway the authors describe the discriminatory ...
  • Bumpy Road Ahead: Bracing for Insolvency in the Highway Trust Fund 

    Dar, Jawad; Taylor, Lori L. (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2015-03)
    Funding for the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is not keeping up with the deteriorating condition of America’s roads and bridges. HTF outlays have exceeded revenues in almost every year since 2001, and the fund faces an ...
  • Reaching More for Less: Modernizing US International Food Aid Programs 

    Natsios, Andrew (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2015-01)
    The Food for Peace program has saved millions of lives around the world for more than a half century and has been perhaps the most powerful and visible symbol of American generosity to those in need. The question is not ...
  • Water Use for Hydraulic Fracturing: A Texas Sized Problem? 

    LeClere, David (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2014-12)
    The state of Texas could face a 2.7 trillion gallon shortfall of water by 2060. Hydraulic fracturing (HF) requires large amounts of water for each well. Tax incentives should be offered to companies that substitute brackish ...
  • The War on Poverty Needs a New Map 

    Taylor, Lori L.; Dar, Jawad (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2014-12)
    Since the start of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, the federal government has spent vast sums of money trying to lower U.S. poverty rates. Yet, despite the repeated allocation of massive financial resources, overall ...
  • Free Trade in Oil and Natural Gas, The Case for Lifting the Ban on U.S. Energy Exports 

    Griffin, James M.; Gause, F. Gregory (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2014-11)
    Not only should the US lift its ban on exporting oil and natural gas in light of today’s economic and political climate, but it was wrong to ever ban such exports in the first place. The US should cease to view its energy ...
  • Texas Cities in the Era of Government Transparency 

    Bearfield, Domonic; Bowman, Ann O'M (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2014-09)
    We are in the Era of Government Transparency. Recently, politicians from President Barack Obama to Texas Governor Rick Perry have touted a commitment to openness and transparency in their respective administrations. Citizens ...
  • Avoiding the Mistakes of the Past: Rejecting Protectionism and Embracing the Global Economy 

    Gawande, Kishore; LeClere, David (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2014-08)
    The “Great Recession” of 2008 was the greatest global financial crisis since the Great Depression. It led to the bankrupting of businesses, caused credit markets to dry up, imploded the housing market, and led to a near ...
  • Pre-K for All? Simple Keys to Maximizing Return on Investment and Avoiding Unintended Consequences 

    Taylor, Lori L. (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2014-05)
    The evidence suggests that the long-term benefits of a high-quality Pre-K program are substantial, regardless of whether the program is provided by a public school, a Head Start program, or a child care center. The near-term ...
  • A Time for Political Courage: The Federal Debt Crisis in 2014 

    Taylor, Lori L. (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2014-01)
    Like many Americans, Uncle Sam has a bad habit of spending more than he earns. The federal government’s total expenditures exceeded its total revenues in 36 of the last 40 years. In 2012, federal government revenues were ...
  • The Latest Unanticipated Consequence in the Ethanol Fiasco 

    Griffin, James M. (Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2013-12)
    Until recently, the 2007 ethanol mandates have been a story of very small environmental and security benefits and large, unexpected increases in food prices as corn was diverted from food to fuel uses. Now we have another ...
  • Ethanol Waivers: Needed or Irrelevant? 

    Griffin, James M.; Dahl, Rachel (The Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2012-10)
    Because of the magnitude of the existing corn harvest shortfall coupled with the large ethanol mandates, policymakers face extreme uncertainties looking into the future with potentially large economic ramifications. ...
  • U.S. Ethanol Policy: The Unintended Consequences 

    Griffin, James M.; Soto, Maricio Cifuentes (The Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy, 2012-02)
    The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) mandated a steep rise in domestic ethanol production. The goals were to ease dependency on imported petroleum and to cut greenhouse gas emissions. A new blend of ...

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