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Center for Public Policy

The Center for Public Policy (CPP) is the research unit of the Hobby School of Public Affairs. CPP is dedicated to providing scientific, non-biased data and analysis to public officials, business professionals, community leaders and residents throughout Houston and the state of Texas.

Led by Pablo M. Pinto the research orientation of the Center is interdisciplinary, with particular emphasis on identifying rigorous theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding relevant research questions. Research projects are assigned to work teams that include faculty from a variety of disciplines, universities and research units. These research clusters focus on a diverse array of important public policy and academic issues relying on cutting edge methodologies including data collection and systematization, statistical analysis, experiments and computer simulations, and developing working papers and research memos. These research projects include themes ranging from education, transportation, political participation, energy and a myriad of other issues. Irrespective of the specific issue at hand the approach relies on objective and rigorous methods of analysis.

Research Facilities

Concept Visualization Lab

The Concept Visualization Lab creates multi-dimensional visualizations and proto-types to display research findings in dynamic and interactive graphics.

Research Projects

The Impact of US-China Trade War in Houston and National Economies

This report discusses how raising tariffs on Chinese imports has affected consumers, producers and business activities in the Houston area and the rest of the U.S. Read more.

Potential Wage Loss in Texas

Hobby School researchers examine how the stay-at-home order affects the state and local economy in a report on the potential wage loss in various industries. Read more.

The Effects of Tax/Revenue of Caps

This report surveys the existing literature on property tax caps with a particular focus on the specific trade-offs of the caps. In addition, the Houston experience and the contrast between Houston and Dallas are used as case studies to assess before and after Proposition 1 (Houston’s local property tax revenue cap) for trends of particular economic and social indicators, such as government employment and capital projects. Read more.

Projections of the Population of Texas and Counties in Texas by Age, Sex, and Race/Ethnicity from 2010 to 2050

This report examines the future demographic changes underway in the State of Texas using the latest population projections data available from the Hobby School of Public Affairs. Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the United States. The population of Texas will increase from 25.1 million in 2010 to 31.2, 40.5, or 54.4 million in 2050, depending on the projection scenario. A large portion of the increase is projected to be caused by migration (both in-migrants and immigrants). Read more.

Harris County and City of Houston Survey of Registered Voters

As the Texas Legislature wound down its regular session and matters were being debated on Capitol Hill and in City Hall, the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs conducted live telephone interviews with 600 registered voters in Harris County concerning pressing public policy issues. Read more.

The Texas Voter ID Law and the 2016 Election: A Study of Harris County and Congressional District 23

In 2016, voter photo ID regulations were once again in force in Texas. This study examines the impact of those regulations on voter participation in the state’s two highest-profile battleground jurisdictions during the 2016 electoral cycle: Harris County and Congressional District 23 (CD-23). It also explores familiarity among nonvoters with the 2016 photo ID rules, rules that have served as the foundation for revised photo ID legislation presently being considered in the Texas Legislature during the 85th legislative session (e.g., Senate Bill 5 and House Bill 2481). Read more.

University of Houston Students and the 2016 Election

Immediately after the 2016 presidential election, the Graduate College of Social Work and the Hobby School of Public Affairs conducted an online survey to better understand University of Houston undergraduates’ political participation. Read more.

When Engineering Solutions to Coastal Surge and Flooding Are Not Sufficient to Meet the Threat

This study examines the threat and damage that coastal surge brings to Houston Metroplex and points out the importance of well-planned evacuation. In particular, the evacuation of several million people from a highly-populated area requires careful planning, coordination of resources, and precise direction from the leadership. Given widespread damages caused by severe weather over the past few decades to Houston Metroplex, the related authorities should work together to develop the orderly and coordinated evacuation plans so as to reduce loss of life and property. Read more.

Texas 2016 Presidential Election Survey

The Center for Public Policy at the University of Houston completed live telephone interviews with 1,000 registered voters in Texas who reported they were certain or very likely to vote on or before election day on November 8, 2016. The survey was conducted under the supervision of co-directors Richard Murray, director of the Hobby School’s Survey Research Institute, and Robert Stein, research associate at the Hobby School. Read more. 

Texas 2016 Super Tuesday Poll

With 155 delegates, Texas has by far the highest number of delegates up for grabs among the states holding primaries on Super Tuesday, March 1, 2016. A candidate must win a minimum of 1,237 delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination. Texas alone could provide more than 10% of the delegates needed to become the Republican Party's nominee.

So who is leading in Texas? The Houston Public Media and the University of Houston Hobby Center for Public Policy Super Tuesday Poll examines who is leading among the Republican candidates and what Texas voters think about pressing public policy concerns. See the poll results.

Texas Lottery Commission

The primary goal of the Hobby School of Public Affairs' demographic study for the Texas Lottery Commission is to provide a snapshot of who is most likely to engage in the state's lottery games. The 2015 survey marks the ninth consecutive year the Hobby School has completed the study.

The Texas Voter ID Law and the 2014 Election: A Study of Texas's 23rd Congressional District

The on, off and on again photo voter identification law passed in 2011 in Texas was first implemented in November 2014. A study conducted by the University of Houston Hobby Center for Public Policy and Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy examines the impact of the controversial Texas law in U.S. Congressional District 23 (CD-23).  

Texas Second and Growing, But Not All of its 254 Counties

Although Texas leads the nation in population increase, the increase in population during 2010- 2014 has not been distributed evenly throughout Texas. In fact, some parts of the State have grown rapidly, some have grown slowly and others have declined.  Read the full report.

Projections of the Population of Texas and Counties in Texas by Age, Sex, and Race/Ethnicity from 2010 to 2050

Projections prepared by the personnel of the Center for Public Policy and the Texas State Data Center. Read the full report.

Patterns of Population Change in Texas, 2010-2013

Texas is one of the most rapidly growing states in the United States.  This report provides July 1, 2013, population estimates for the State of Texas and describes the patterns of population change for 2010-2013 for the State of Texas. Read the full report.

Texas Population: Changes in Size, Composition, and Distribution, 2000-2010

This paper examines the change in size, composition, and distribution of Texas' population from 2000-2010. Read the full report.

The Houston Housing Study

The Center for Public Policy (CPP) at the University of Houston, in collaboration with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), conducted a Houston Region Foreclosure Study to analyze what factors contributed to the foreclosure process and how people could prevent foreclosure in the future.  Read the full report.

Greater Houston Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance

Professor Jim Granato, director of the Hobby School of Public Affairs, has been appointed president of the newly created Greater Houston Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance. Continue reading the full media release.

City of Houston Housing and Community Development

The City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department contracted with the Hobby School of Public Affairs to administer and analyze the results of a citywide Needs Assessment Survey as part of its 2010-2014 Five-Year Consolidated Plan. Learn more about this survey.

Center for Houston's Future

The Center for Public Policy contributed a chapter on policy analysis and implementation to a report by the Center for Houston's Future on water quality, water supply and green buildings.  The CPP's contribution offers a tool for those concerned with managing limited resources and understanding the tradeoffs inherent in policymaking.  

Department of Family and Protective Services / Interagency Coordinating Council for Building Healthy Families

The Office of Community Projects (OCP) at the UH Graduate College of Social Work, in collaboration with the Center for Public Policy conducted an evaluation on the effectiveness and efficiency of Texas's publicly funded child abuse/neglect prevention and early intervention services. Read the full report.

Houston Police Department

The City of Houston assembled a team of experts to examine the use of Conductive Energy Devices (also known as Tasers or stun guns) by the Houston Police Department. Find out more about the study and the interactive visualization tool.

Houston Endowment

The Center for Public Policy has received $130,000 in seed money from Houston Endowment to consider a way that better investigates the long-term economic, social and behavioral dynamics of the Houston region. National and local experts met to discuss the intricacies of a Houston panel study. Learn more about the endowment.

College Rankings

US News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" issue is their swimsuit issue - academic cheesecake. Presidents and governing boards consider the rankings and hire consultants to improve them. Bill Hobby and Jim Granato analyzed the various factors used in this widely read ranking system. Learn more about this study.

Preservation Houston

Data and objective analysis are relatively nonexistent about the impact of historic preservation efforts in Houston neighborhoods. To combat this problem, Preservation Houston asked the Center for Public Policy to complete a preliminary study. Read the findings.

Technical Reports

National Science Foundation

An important disconnect exists between the current use of formal modeling and applied statistical analysis. In general, a lack of linkage between the two contributes to unscientific practices. The accumulation of knowledge is impaired. Since 2002, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has instituted the Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM) initiative to address this scientific challenge. The 2002 EITM report can be found here. The Hobby Center has been involved in the EITM initiative and with NSF support (SES-0956812) directed a workshop in 2009 and produced technical reports that describes the EITM framework and the challenges in implementation. The two reports can be found here.

Workshops & Presentations

Census History and the Texas Political Atlas

Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby talks about the history of the US Census, apportionment, redistricting and also explains what makes Texas an urban state and how demographics affect voting. View Governor Hobby's presentation.

Community-Based Participatory Research Workshop

This two day workshop brought academics, applied practitioners and community advocates together to discuss the most effective ways to conduct research within a community, particularly with hard to reach populations. The 2010 workshop was sponsored by the Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics (JERHRE), the Hobby Center for Public Policy, and the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health. 

Public Expectations and Social Science

Dr. Jim Granato discussed the roles of public expectations and social science in policy success and failure. Specifically, he assessed when and why policy fails, what social science tells us, and the policy takeaway. View Dr. Granato's presentation.

Survey Methodology: New Developments

Dr. Harold Clarke and Dr. Marianne Stewart of the University of Texas-Dallas recently visited UH to discuss new developments in survey methodology (survey "mode"). Read the transcript, political analysis paper and view their presentation.