Monday, April 11, 2016

AEI Launches Open Source Policy Center

During the week of April 4 the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) formally launched the Open Source Policy Center (OSPC), which is dedicated to making policy analysis transparent and accessible through open source computer modeling.

On April 4, OSPC launched its first web application, TaxBrain.  Here is more from a press release:
Today, OSPC launches its first web application, TaxBrain, which allows the public and experts alike to study the effect of individual income and payroll tax policy reforms using open source economic simulation models.
This breakthrough in open source public policy research inaugurates a new era in government transparency by making economic modeling and data analysis both accessible and collaborative.
Here is more from another AEI press release:
TaxBrain relies on several open source simulation models that work together to allow for “static” scoring and various types of dynamic scoring of individual income and payroll tax reforms. In static scoring, the overall size of the economy is held fixed. In dynamic scoring, policy changes can affect the size of the economy.
A core team of contributors oversees each simulation model. The core team members for models currently available on TaxBrain are T.J. Alumbaugh, Jason DeBacker, Richard Evans, Daniel Feenberg, Martin Holmer, John O’Hare, Amy Xu, and Matt Jensen.

Matt Jensen is the Founder and Managing Director of OSPC at AEI.  He is also a core contributor to open source modeling projects such as Tax-Calculator and TaxData.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) just had a lead editorial entitled "Cracking Washington's Black Box," which praised the opening of the Open Source Policy Center.  Here is an excerpt from WSJ:
The American Enterprise Institute will soon unveil its Open Source Policy Center in an effort to crack the codes used by government bean counters. The think tank’s goal is to produce open-source economic modeling to give outside academics, experts and average Americans the tools to test, check and improve the hidden calculations that government uses to design policy. This is wonky stuff, and therefore it won’t make the cable TV shows, but it is an essential step toward holding accountable the increasingly powerful administrative state.

Here is a link to OSPC and here is a link to TaxBrain.

Also, Think Tank Watch has noticed that OSPC is looking to hire.  Want to be an economics research assistant?  How about a summer intern?  Apply today!