Strategic Research

Bad Apples or Bad Law

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Bad Apples or Bad Laws?

An original experiment finds that civil forfeiture laws create a strong temptation for law enforcement to seize property to pad their own budgets.

Economic Liberty | Food Freedom | Vending

Street Eats, Safe Eats

Street food, long a part of American life, has boomed in popularity in recent years. Yet an idea persists that food from trucks and sidewalk carts is unclean and unsafe. Street Eats, Safe Eats tests…

Educational Choice

Opening the Schoolhouse Doors

Alabama’s scholarship tax credit programs follow in the footsteps of at least six similar tax credits dating to the 1970s that give students a choice of public, private or religious schools, demonstrating that scholarship tax…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing | Teeth Whitening

White Out

As the teeth-whitening industry has exploded in recent years, so too has the push for laws and regulations that enable licensed dentists and hygienists to capture a greater share of that market by banning anyone…

A Stacked Deck

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

A Stacked Deck

State data show that from 2003 to 2010, forfeiture revenue in Minnesota jumped 75 percent, even as crime rates declined, and the average value of forfeited property was only $1,000.

Rotten Reporting in the Peach State

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Rotten Reporting in the Peach State

Georgia has some of the worst civil forfeiture laws in the nation, a problem compounded by law enforcement agencies’ routine failure to report forfeiture revenue and expenditures as required by law. But a 2011 Institute…

Arizona’s Profit Incentive in Civil Forfeiture

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Arizona’s Profit Incentive in Civil Forfeiture

Arizona’s civil forfeiture laws need to be reformed. In the upside-down world of civil forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize and keep cash and property that was allegedly involved in criminal activity—without ever proving a…

License to Work 1

Occupational Licensing

License to Work 1

License to Work, 1st Edition Published in 2010, this is an older edition of IJ’s landmark License to Work report. You can download the report here, but please see the 3rd and current edition…

Opening the Schoolhouse Doors

Educational Choice

Opening the Schoolhouse Doors

Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program empowers thousands of families to choose the best K-12 schools for their children—public, private or religious—just like state-funded college scholarship programs have done for decades.

Expanding Choice

Educational Choice

Expanding Choice

Scholarship tax credits would expand educational opportunities for Idaho families, building on long-standing state policies encouraging private investments in education, as well as successful school choice programs in other states.

Inequitable Justice

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Inequitable Justice

This report examines a federal law enforcement practice known as “equitable sharing.” It enables—indeed, encourages—state and local police and prosecutors to circumvent the civil forfeiture laws of their states for financial gain. Civil forfeiture is…

Full Disclosure

First Amendment

Full Disclosure

Publicly disclosing contributions to ballot issue campaigns does little to help voters make better choices—and instead imposes substantial costs on people wishing to participate in politics.

Streets of Dreams

Economic Liberty | Food Freedom | Vending

Streets of Dreams

Street vending is, and always has been, a part of the American economy and a fixture of urban life. Thanks to low start-up costs, the trade has offered countless entrepreneurs—particularly immigrants and others with little…

Public Opinion and Civil Forfeiture

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Public Opinion and Civil Forfeiture

In November 2010, as part of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study National Survey, the Institute for Justice asked a random sample of 1,000 participants nationwide whether they support various features of modern civil forfeiture laws.

Forfeiting Accountability

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Forfeiting Accountability

Georgia has some of the worst civil forfeiture laws in the country. But at least state law requires law enforcement to publicly report annual forfeiture proceeds and expenditures. Public reporting ought to help check abuse…

Forfeiting Justice

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Forfeiting Justice

Texas law gives police and prosecutors generous rewards for seizing people’s property—without even having to prove the owner committed any crime. And the law makes it so hard for owners to fight for the return…

Keep Out

First Amendment

Keep Out

Campaign-finance laws protect political insiders by making it harder for upstart citizen groups to form and bring new voices to public debate.

Mowing Down the Grassroots

First Amendment

Mowing Down the Grassroots

Grassroots lobbying—encouraging citizens to contact public officials in order to affect public policy—is quintessential representative democracy in action. However, as this report documents, sweeping lobbying laws in 36 states threaten to strangle grassroots movements in…

Blooming Nonsense

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Blooming Nonsense

For more than a decade, Monique Chauvin has owned and operated one of the most popular and recognized floral shops in all of New Orleans. Her work is regularly featured in magazines, and her store…

Policing for Profit: First Edition

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Policing for Profit: First Edition

Civil forfeiture laws represent one of the most serious assaults on private property rights in the nation today. Under civil forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize your car or other property, sell it and use…

Empire State Eminent Domain

Eminent Domain | Private Property

Empire State Eminent Domain

An analysis of the populations living in areas of New York City under threat of condemnation for private development finds that such eminent domain abuse disproportionately targets those who are less well-off and less educated,…

Locking Up Political Speech

First Amendment

Locking Up Political Speech

Americans were once free to speak about politics without asking permission from the government or being forced to document their political activities for the authorities.  But under the guise of “campaign finance reform,” government regulation…

Campaign Finance Red Tape

First Amendment

Campaign Finance Red Tape

Twenty-four states permit citizens to make laws directly through ballot measures. These states also regulate how citizens—if they band together—may speak out about them. In the name of “disclosure,” these regulations impose complicated registration and…

Expanding Choice

Educational Choice

Expanding Choice

School choice enjoys strong support among Montana residents, and of choice options, tax credits enjoy the greatest level of popularity. Such programs grant tax credits to taxpayers who donate to nonprofit organizations that give scholarships…

Expanding Choice

Educational Choice

Expanding Choice

One of the oldest and more popular forms of school choice in the United States is educational tax credit. Like many other types of school choice, educational tax credits enable parents to send their children…

Designed to Exclude

Economic Liberty | First Amendment | Interior Design | Interior Design | Occupational Licensing

Designed to Exclude

Americans used to be free to practice interior design work and succeed or fail based solely on their skills. But, to the detriment of consumers and would-be entrepreneurs, that is changing. The American Society of…

Choice and Opportunity

Educational Choice

Choice and Opportunity

On February 29, 2008, Gov. Bobby Jindal presented the Louisiana Legislature with a proposed budget allocating $10 million for a school choice initiative that would enable parents in New Orleans to send their children to…

Economic Liberty | First Amendment | Interior Design | Interior Design

Designed to Mislead

Do people who design interiors “mislead” the public when they call themselves “interior designers” without government permission? Industry insiders advocating greater regulation say yes, but practicing interior designers who simply want to accurately describe what…

Economic Liberty | Interior Design

Misinformation & Interior Design Regulation

This report responds to a purported rebuttal of the Institute for Justice’s research on interior design regulations and details how its author, an advocate of increased regulation, fails to provide any evidence of the need…