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IPPSR is MSU’s new hub for public policy information and research. Search our summaries of scientific research with implications for public policy by inputting keywords in the search box or selecting options from the menus below.


Policy Research

Tesla and the Car Dealers’ Lobby

Daniel A. Crane

January 2014

In this article Mr. Crane outlines the challenges facing Tesla at both the state and federal levels. Reviewing the events that led to the creation of independent franchising laws this article also provides insight into the origins of the distribution restrictions on the automotive industry. Specifically the protections dealerships sought from manufacturers to safeguard their businesses. The article also describes the advantages of independent dealerships such as allowing the manufacturer to focus of research and development as well as manufacturing. Dealerships also enable managers to make decisions based on the realities of regional markets. Contrary to this there are also reasons for direct sales to consumers from manufacturers. Such as having greater control over brand influence and how the brand is represented. When it comes to consumer preferences the current franchising laws severely limit consumer choices. Consumers in Michigan are unable to decide for themselves the best course of action when purchasing a vehicle. Identifying the political implications and difficulties in changing current franchising laws the author explains what can be done to see the laws amended.

Direct-to-consumer Auto Sales: It’s not just about Tesla

Marina Lao, Debbie Feinstein, Francine Lafontaine

May 2015

Although written by the directors of the Office of Policy Planning, Bureau of Competition, and Bureau of Economics this article does not necessarily represent the view of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The authors argue that competition, not regulation, should determine how and what consumers purchase. Arguing for the end to protectionist policies such as auto franchising laws, the authors believe that auto sales should not be limited by regulations (auto franchising laws). States should allow customers to choose not only the cars they buy, but also how they buy them. The authors believe that changing the laws incrementally, such as in New Jersey, is not the answer. Instead of allowing companies such as Tesla Motors to open only a few outlets under exceptions in the laws, the laws should be scrapped altogether. In Michigan the state government has taken a step in the opposite direction. Instead of amending laws to allow manufacturer to consumer sales they have doubled down on the franchise laws. Although the Governor welcomes a “healthy, open discussion.” The authors conclude that consumers would be better served if the method of distribution were left to manufacturers and consumers, not enshrined in law.

Results of 2015 University of Michigan Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct

June 2015

Sexual miscount is a difficult subject to gather data on. This survey by the University of Michigan has a strong focus on collecting as much data as possible from as many students as possible with hopes to acquire statics on the issue. The data gathered shows there are instances of sexual misconduct at rates that should bring attention to the issue

Association of American Universities campus survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct

David Cantor, Bonnie Fisher, Susan Chibnall, Reanne Townsend

September 2015

The study looks at sexual assault and misconduct at many different universities across the nation. This study provides decent statics not only about the rate at which sexual misconducted occurs, but students’ knowledge on the issue and resources they have available.

Improving Low Performing High Schools: Searching for Evidence of Promise

Steve Fleischman , Jessica Heppen

April 2009

The authors of this article look across the country to evaluate how high schools are working to be improved and how the success of these models is being measured. They find that there are some models that show promise, but that there is no solution to fix every problem and that researchers and policy makers should work to together to review what is working how to implement these models.

Franchising and Franchise Law

Howard Yale Lederman

January 2013

This article by the Michigan Bar Journal reviews the history of franchising and the initial reasons franchise laws were enacted. After 1945 when franchising became popular across the nation investors were lured in by enticing promises of large profits. Large power imbalances in the franchisor-franchisee relationship increased the likelihood of fraud and spurred state legislatures to act. Legislation such as the Michigan Franchise Investment Law were enacted to protect franchisees.

Using Suggested Contributions in Fundraising for Public Goods: An Experimental Investigation of the Provision Point Mechanism

Melanie D. Marks, Eric Schansberg, Rachel T.A. Croson

November 1999

suggested contributions on the giving habits of people towards a public good. Due to fiscal stress and lower tax revenues, many state and local governments may utilize voluntary contributions to fund public good projects like parks or libraries. Marks, Schansberg, and Croson find that suggested contributions don’t affect the giving habits if every subject values the public good equally. However, differing values of a public good among subjects are common in the real world. When the value placed on the proposed public good is different to each subject, suggested contributions tend to have an effect on the subjects’ behavior. If applied to the real world, provided suggested contributions could lead to more public good projects getting funded.

Big Five Personality Traits and Responses to Persuasive Appeals: Results from Voter Turnout Experiments

Alan S. Gerber, Gregory A. Huber, David Doherty, Conor M. Dowling, Costas Panagopoulos

December 2012

The researchers use both a survey and a randomized control trial to measure how people who score differently on the “Big Five” personality traits -Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and Openness - respond to various “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) messages. They find that voters personality traits shape whether they respond to different types of political appeals. They also find that one trait, “Openness” is significantly linked with much higher ability to be persuaded to vote.

Can Social Information Affect What Job You Choose and Keep? A Field Experiment in the United States

Lucas C. Coffman, Clayton R. Featherstone, Judd B. Kessler

November 2014

The researchers show, through the use of a random control trial, that people can be influence on the decision of whether or not to take a job by subtle information, specifically information about others in their position. A trial group of college graduates were offered a job with Teach for America with a letter including the high percentage of those who were offered and accepted the job the previous year. The trial group was more likely to also accept the job than those graduates in the control group.

Not Too Late: Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Youth

Philip J. Cook, Kenneth Dodge, George Farkas, Roland G. Fryer Jr, Jens Ludwig, Susan Mayer, Harold Pollack, Laurence Steinberg

February 2015

Increasingly policymakers are concerned that improving academic performance after adolescence is cost prohibitive, and we should therefore direct funds to interventions at much younger ages. The researchers show through a random trial of male youth on Chicago’s south side that this is not necessarily the case. The trial group received intensive individual instruction and saw very significant improvement in test scores and behavior. The cost was around $2,800 per student, much lower than typically thought is needed to be effective.