INNOVATION BOUND: The annual celebration of LBJ School policy research | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

The LBJ School prides itself in contributing viable solutions to society through the public and social dialogue of our world.

Throughout each year, both students and faculty undertake timely policy research in an effort to stretch intellectual boundaries and tackle the most complex problems of our day.

In an annual celebration, the LBJ School community will convene on February 8, 2017, to celebrate the published works of our distinguished faculty and impassioned students. From police effectiveness to reproductive health to regulating brackish groundwater, LBJ School scholars inform a breadth of policy areas.  

So find a policy area that means something to you, and enjoy the ultimate LBJ School reading guide.

Policy Research Projects

A Better Life for Low-income Elders in Austin, by Jacqueline Angel

Professor Jacqueline Angel and a team of students conducted a policy research project addressing how to care for elderly, vulnerable residents in Austin and Travis counties.  



Sustainability of Engineered Rivers in Arid Lands: Euphrates–Tigris and Rio Grande/Bravo Basins, by Jurgen Schmandt and Aysegül Kibaroğlu

Professor Emeritus Jurgen Schmandt, Visiting Professor Aysegül Kibaroğlu and a team of LBJ School students studied water management issues in two river systems – Euphrates-Tigris and Rio Grande/Bravo-Conchos. Both river systems are drought-prone and likely to face increased water scarcity as a result of climate change and reservoir sedimentation. Researchers sought to answer how water stakeholders can prepare for future water scarcity and whether the water supply and demand in river basins is sustainable. 


The Power of the Past: History and Statecraft, edited by Jeremi Suri

Professor Jeremi Suri both edited and contributed to this volume, published by the Brookings Institution Press. This book brings together scholars and policymakers to address the essential questions surrounding the history-policy relationship.  



Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe, by James Galbraith

World–renowned economist and LBJ Professor James Galbraith offers a cogent and powerful reflection on one of the great avoidable economic catastrophes of the modern era.



Academic Journal Articles

Requests for abortion in Latin America related to concern about Zika virus exposure, by Abigail Aiken
Published in The New England Journal of Medicine

LBJ Professor Abigail Aiken examined abortion requests in 19 Latin American countries, finding requests for abortions increased significantly in countries that issued warnings to pregnant women about complications associated with Zika virus infection. View the press release.


A new frontier in Texas: Managing and regulating brackish groundwater, by Regina Buono
Published in Water Policy

The challenge of providing access to clean water is visible in Texas, where chronic drought coincides with increasing water demand. Doctoral student Regina Buono examined policies to better manage the supply of brackish groundwater, which if converted to fresh water, could meet current consumption needs for 150 years.


The U.S. Labor Market: Questions and Challenges for Public Policy, by Richard Burkhauser

Public policy is rightly concerned with fostering a vibrant labor market, but currently faces serious challenges such as low workforce participation. LBJ Professor Richard Burkhauser specifically addresses how to make employment a priority for working-age people with disabilities.



Lookin’ for beds in all the wrong places: Outpatient competency restoration as a promising approach to modern challenges, by Lynda E. Frost
Published in Psychology, Public Policy and Law

In response to consistently increasing numbers of individuals found incompetent to stand trial, many states have identified alternatives to inpatient restoration.  LBJ Professor Lynda Frost captures national data on community-based or “outpatient” competency restoration programs, finding these programs to be promising in terms of high restoration rates, low program failure rates and substantial cost savings.


Can Constitutional Design Avert Ethnopolitical Violence?, by Alan Kuperman
Published in Ethnopolitics

In this roundtable, five international experts—comprising both scholars and practitioners—assess LBJ Professor Alan Kuperman's latest book on a vital foreign policy question: can constitutional reform help avert violence in multi-ethnic countries? The book, emerging from a five-year Pentagon-funded study, includes the first database of constitutional design in all African countries, seven case studies and recommendations for policymakers.


Home visitation programs: Four evidence-based lessons for policymakers, by Cynthia Osborne
Published in Behavioral Science & Policy

Home visiting programs aim to help low-income parents enhance their parenting skills and improve a host of early health and developmental outcomes for young children. Dr. Cynthia Osborne, LBJ School Professor and Director of the Center for Health and Social Policy, is conducting an ongoing program implementation evaluation to provide policymakers with a greater understanding of how home visiting programs are associated with better outcomes for families, and will provide valuable information to other states that are interested in implementing a similar program.


Overcoming barriers and uncertainties in the adoption of residential solar PV, by Varun Rai and D. Cale Reeves
Published by Renewable Energy

In recent years decreasing hardware costs have driven down the installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and spurred adoption. However, system cost is not the only barrier faced by solar adopters. Professor Varun Rai and doctoral student D. Cale Reeves examined the results of a survey on the decision-making process of residential PV adopters in Northern California.


The Murder Mystery: Police Effectiveness and Homicide, by William Spelman

Previous analyses of the effect of police on crime show that increases in police staffing are especially effective at preventing homicide; however, this conflicts with evidence that suggests standard police methods should be more effective at preventing robbery, auto theft and other property crimes. LBJ Professor William Spelman attempts to reconcile the two, finding that improving police tactics is more likely to work and less expensive than increasing police force size.


City of Austin Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program Final Report and Replication Guide, by David Springer
Research supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance

From 2007 through 2011, the Rundberg neighborhood of Austin accounted for a significant proportion of crime within the immediate area as well as citywide. David Springer, Professor and Director of the RGK Center, spearheaded an implementation and research plan to address persistent crime, physical and social disorder, community engagement, positive youth development and the community’s relationship with police. This initiative helped reduce violent and property crime by approximately 15 percent in targeted hotspots in the neighborhood.


The rise of China: Continuity or change in the global governance of development, by Catherine Weaver
Published in Ethics & International Affairs

The global financial crisis of 2008 was a reflection point for global economic governance. LBJ Professor Catherine Weaver studies the dynamic of global economic governance based on the mutually constitutive roles of three “Ps”: players, power and paradigms. Specifically, she looks at the rise of China as a new aid donor, and what this may mean for the global governance of development.