Institute of Government & Public Affairs

From 2015 through 2018, IGPA experts and visiting scholars pursued a series of Policy Initiatives. These initiatives - listed below - looked deeply into timely, critical public policy issues. These initiatives shared a common dual mission of producing cutting-edge scholarly research and informing the policy discussion in Illinois.

Business Taxation

Business tax incentives lower taxes paid by target business in order to promote a public goal. Such policies include business property tax relief, tax increment financing, Enterprise Zones, and Illinois’ High Impact Business Program. Together these incentives, and particularly tax increment financing, represent a substantial investment in Illinois’s public works and infrastructure.

Climate Policy

How can public policy help protect Illinois residents from the effects of climate change? The state needs to be prepared for hotter summer temperatures, increased levels of air pollution, and increased numbers of droughts and floods. These changing weather patterns affect not only the health of the local population, but also the costs and profitability of industries such as agriculture and energy. IGPA’s research on climate change seeks to help protect Illinois’s productivity, health, and future economic welfare.

Copyright Policy

The Copyright Policy Initiative aims to address gaps in the knowledge base about intellectual property law, organizations in the educational testing industry and their impact on educational assessments. The project expects to yield recommendations for policymakers and those engaged in intellectual property law in the testing industry, as well as those who develop assessment tools in child care and education.

COVID-19 Task Force

This is the work of the IGPA Task Force on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, a multi-disciplinary group of scholars and other experts drawn from all three universities in the University of Illinois System to explore the effects of the pandemic on the state's economic and fiscal health, communities and families and the healthcare workforce. 

Early Investments

IGPA seeks to build and leverage evidence to inform sound policy decisions as public investments in early care and education continue to expand. IGPA faculty and their cross-disciplinary and cross-campus collaborators are: (1) conducting rigorous, policy-relevant research, (2) suggesting improvements to state and local data-collection efforts, and (3) making a case for cutting-edge design in the scientific evaluation of early childhood programs.

Fiscal Futures Project

IGPA monitors and evaluates the Illinois state budget to better understand how current changes in fiscal policy will affect revenue and expenditures in the long-term. With their innovative Fiscal Futures Model, a broad all-funds spending measure, and a sustainable revenue measure, the project provides projections of the state’s fiscal health for years to come. The project also provides analysis of transparency in the state budgeting process and of borrowing constraints. 

Illinois Economic Review

The Monthly Illinois Economic Review contains information on national, statewide, and local economic performance by measuring job growth, unemployment, and business activity. This information is compiled by IGPA Economist Geoffrey Hewings and the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Pandemic Stress Indicators

IGPA, as part of its Task Force on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, established several Pandemic Stress Indicators, designed to evaluate the social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Illinois residents. The first stress indicator is a periodic poll of three sets of experts about pandemic policies. Experts on economics, public health, and/or vulnerable populations from across Illinois have generously agreed to provide regular opinions on various pandemic policies.

Racial Attitudes and Inequality

The state and nation face long-standing challenges of racial inequality. Academic research demonstrates the existence of disparities between racial/ethnic groups in many areas of life, including housing, education, employment, health, crime victimization, and the list goes on. Taking a multi-methods research approach, this initiative explores possible policy interventions and programming that might undo these decades-long patterns, with particular emphasis on two core institutions: education and housing.

The Labor Market

This initiative seeks to understand how the state and national labor markets evolved through the Great Recession, and the potential effects of new labor policies.