The Institute is the hub for interdisciplinary teaching, scholarship, and general interest

We ask questions like these.

Aging Aging

  • What factors impact retirement decisions?
  • How does policy affect the quality of life for seniors?
  • What are the long-term implications for local, state, and federal programs of the aging of the population?

Community-Based EffortsCommity Based Efforts

  • What are the needs of the local communities?
  • How can local institutions best serve those needs?
  • How can different institutions support communities

Education Education

  • What is the value of a liberal arts education?
  • How should schools be funded?
  • What are the effects of No Child Left Behind?

Marcellus ShaleEnvironment/Marcellus Shale

  • What is the economic impact of Shale development on Pennsylvania towns?
  • Should there be a severance tax?


  • How has the economic downturn affected international immigration flows?
  • How does moving to another place in the United States affect wages and employment?

HealthcareHealth and Healthcare

  • What features of neighborhoods have the biggest impact childhood obesity rates?
  • What factors predict adolescent risk-taking behavior?
  • What is the impact of public funding of healthcare?

History of PolicyHistory of Policy

  • How has anti-trust regulation changed in the United States?

DemocracyInternational Issues

  • Do regional trade agreements increase trade or simply divert trade to within the block?
  • Does democracy promote trade?
  • What is the organizational structure of terrorism?


  • Should we stimulate the economy in the short run?
  • How can we address the long run debt problem?


  • What is the best organizational structure for a small non-profit in Haiti?
  • Do all non-profit hospitals merit their tax-free status?

PhilosophyPhilosophical Bases of Policy

  • How much should society value market efficiency versus equality?
  • How can one place a value on a human life in making decisions about environmental protections?

Policy ProcessPolicy Processes

  • How does the Tea Party fit within the social movement theory?

PollingPolitical Polling

  • What is the best way to elicit opinion about public policy?
  • How does polling affect the framing of the policy debate?

Public SpendingTaxation and Public Spending

  • What is the appropriate level of taxation for the United States?
  • How should we prioritize spending options?
  • Should education be funded by property taxes?