Lisa Knepper

Senior Director of Strategic Research


The Ohio State University, B.A., 1999

Lisa Knepper co-directs the Institute’s strategic research program, which creates policy and social science research on issues central to IJ’s mission.

Knepper co-authored all three editions of License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing; Too Many Licenses? Government “Sunrise” Reviews Cast Doubt on Barriers to Work; and the second and third editions of Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture.

Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic online, and the journal Economic Affairs. IJ’s strategic research has been featured in opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court, White House reports on occupational licensing and law enforcement data, federal inspector general reports critiquing civil forfeiture practices, numerous scholarly and policy studies, and news outlets nationwide, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Boston Globe, and ABC’s Good Morning America.

Before working as a director of strategic research, Knepper served as IJ’s director of communications. Knepper joined IJ in December 2001 from Hill and Knowlton, a global communications firm. She also worked as a media relations and promotions adviser for entertainment and technology companies and as a program coordinator at the Institute for Humane Studies. Knepper graduated from The Ohio State University, where she studied political science, economics, and philosophy.

Lisa's Research & Reports

Occupational Licensing

License to Work 3

This third edition of IJ’s landmark License to Work report finds that for lower-income Americans, licensing continues to be widespread, burdensome and—frequently—irrational. It also provides a blueprint for meaningful licensing reform.

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?…

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…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

The Continuing Burden of Occupational Licensing in the United States

This study follows up an earlier study in which we examined the scope and burden of 102 occupational licensing laws in the United States for low‐ and moderate‐income occupations. Using data collected in 2017, findings…

License to Work 2

License to Work 2

License to Work, 2nd Edition Published in 2017, this is an older edition of IJ’s landmark License to Work report. You can download the report and read about data improvements we made between the first…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Policing for Profit: Second Edition

Policing for Profit, 2nd Edition Published in 2015, this is an older edition of IJ’s landmark Policing for Profit report. You can download the report here, but please see the third and current edition for the most up-to-date…

Regulating work

This study examines the scope and burden of occupational licensing laws in the United States for 102 low- and moderate-income occupations. Findings indicate that the licences studied require of aspiring workers, on average, $US209 in…

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…

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…

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Lisa's Amicus Briefs

Lisa's News, Articles & Publications

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