Research Reports

Constitutional GPA

Immunity and Accountability

Constitutional GPA

Constitutional rights only exist if they can be enforced. But a confusing patchwork of immunity doctrines and special rules often means they cannot be. Chief among the doctrines that prevent constitutional accountability is qualified immunity,…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Too Many Licenses

In recent decades, states have enacted occupational licensing laws covering a growing number of jobs, and now more American workers than ever must get a license to work. But do we need these new licenses?…

Economic Liberty

Barriers to Business

Too often entrepreneurs struggle with local regulatory burdens, finding themselves trapped by high fees, long wait times, and complex paperwork.

Immunity and Accountability

50 Shades of Government Immunity

Americans Deserve Their Day in Court: New study ranks states on access to justice and government accountability…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Frustrating, Corrupt, Unfair

Victims of civil forfeiture call it frustrating, corrupt and unfair. This first-of-its-kind survey describes the experiences of victims of one civil forfeiture program, Philadelphia’s.

Cosmetology | Economic Liberty

Beauty School Debt and Drop-Outs

Cosmetology is one of the most widely and onerously regulated occupations for lower-income workers, yet little research has explored the experiences of aspiring beauty workers. This first-of-its-kind study takes advantage of federal educational…

Cosmetology | Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Beauty School Debt and Drop-Outs

A January 2021 executive order requires Utah executive agencies to identify occupational regulations that are no longer necessary or can be reined in to reduce barriers to entry. One regulation that should be on the table is cosmetology…

Blueprint for Business

Starting a business in DC is expensive, confusing, and time-consuming; and many entrepreneurs find it difficult or impossible to turn their business dreams into a reality. The current regulatory process is so complex that it…

Other Property Rights Abuses | Private Property

A Case Study of Municipal Taxation by Citation

This study examines taxation by citation—local governments using code enforcement and the justice system to raise revenue rather than solely to advance public health and safety. It does so through a detailed case study of…

Educational Choice

12 Myths and Realities About Private Educational Choice Programs

Educational choice programs—defined broadly as programs that provide parents with financial aid to help their children opt out of the traditional public school system—are a hallmark of meaningful educational reform. Yet despite widespread news coverage…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Does Forfeiture Work?

Forfeiture is a controversial tool police and prosecutors use to take and keep people’s cash, cars and even homes under the guise of fighting crime. This study is the first to look at whether state…

Civil Forfeiture

Policing for Profit

Nationwide, civil forfeiture is a massive threat to property and due process rights. So finds the third edition of Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture. The report presents the largest ever collection…

Conning the Competition

A Certificate Of Need (CON) is a government-mandated permission slip to start or expand a business. Think of a CON like an expensive admission ticket to access an exclusive club. You can be sure that…

Jetway-Robbery-July-2020-WEB-FINAL_Cover

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Jetway Robbery?

Law enforcement agencies routinely seize currency from travelers at airports nationwide using civil forfeiture—a legal process that allows agencies to take and keep property without ever charging owners with a crime, let alone securing a…

Educational Choice

A Guide to Designing Educational Choice Programs

Over the course of the last few decades, the law has gradually changed to recognize the constitutionality of educational choice programs and that its beneficiaries are students, not schools. The most recent development is Espinoza…

Barred From Working

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Barred From Working

Earning an honest living is one of the best ways to prevent re-offending. But strict occupational licensing requirements make it harder for ex-offenders to find work, thwarting their chances of successful reentry.

Fines and Fees | Private Property

Municipal Fines and Fees

Cities and towns nationwide use their power to enforce traffic, property code and other ordinances to raise revenue rather than solely to protect the public. And, as this report finds, a wide range of state…

Braiding Illinois

Economic Liberty | Hair Braiding

Barriers to Braiding: Illinois Analysis

This report supplements our 2016 study Barriers to Braiding: How Job-Killing Licensing Laws Tangle Natural Hair Care in Needless Red Tape. That study investigated whether (1) braiding licenses keep people out of work…

cover of fines and fee report

Other Property Rights Abuses | Private Property

The Price of Taxation by Citation

Taxation by citation is when local governments use their power to enforce traffic and other ordinances to raise revenue rather than solely to protect the public. This report explores the phenomenon via case studies of…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Fighting Crime or Raising Revenue?

Forfeiture is a controversial tool governments use to take and keep property often without charging or convicting anyone with a crime. Police typically get a portion of the proceeds. Proponents argue forfeiture helps police fight…

Economic Liberty | Food Freedom

The relationship between cottage food laws and business outcomes

The increasing popularity of cottage foods in the United States requires that state laws regulating the industry be given careful consideration. However, little is known about cottage food producers or their businesses. This article discusses…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Civil Forfeiture Hurts America’s Poor

In 2014, Tyson Timbs sold $400 worth of drugs to undercover police in an effort to support his addiction. Tyson, a first-time offender, was sentenced to one year of house arrest and five years of…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Forfeiture in Arizona

In 2017, Arizona adopted incremental but important bipartisan reforms of the state’s civil forfeiture system. These reforms included new transparency requirements for forfeiture, obliging agencies to report the value, type and date of a property…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Civil Forfeiture, Crime Fighting and Safeguards for the Innocent

In 2017, the Department of Justice revived a controversial federal forfeiture program the previous administration had sharply curtailed. In defense of these “adoptive forfeitures” or “adoptions,” as well as of civil forfeiture in general, the…