THE PIONEER BLOG

Is it time to expand water transportation in Greater Boston?

A recent Pioneer Institute report explored the benefits of increased investment in the MBTA’s water-based public transportation service to meet the growing demand among commuters in Massachusetts’ coastal communities. In the brief video clip below, Pioneer Institute Research & Policy Associate Matt Blackbourn shares key findings from this report, which he co-authored with Pioneer Research […]

Don’t Stop the Momentum on T Reform

Today, Pioneer Institute submits testimony in support of MBTA bus maintenance and management reform at a hearing of the Massachusetts State Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight. The MBTA is proposing to outsource bus maintenance at 3 of its 9 garages, a practice which has been successful at regional transit authorities across the state. […]

To Sign or Not to Sign? Considerations for University Athletics Contracts

Collegiate sports continue to grow as an enormous commercial enterprise nationwide, and this increasing popularity has presented lucrative opportunities for participating schools. The allegiance fans have for ‘their school’ has become a reliable source of revenue for many colleges and universities, many of which have seen viewership and interest in their athletic programs explode over […]

Creating Space for Healthcare Innovators in the Marketplace

Pioneer Institute’s initiatives in healthcare focus on three goals.  We promote price transparency, essential in containing costs and increasing access to care. We aim to put state programs like Medicaid on a more sustainable path and create flexibility so the programs provide higher-quality care and access to care, which too often outside greater Boston is […]

Managing Growth in Malden & Somerville: A Tale of Two Cities

The influx of new residents into Boston and its surrounding communities has put growing pressure on the area’s housing stock. Just recently the median home price in Massachusetts broke $400,000, and there aren’t enough units available to meet the demand among natives, let alone newcomers. Boston’s satellite communities experience greater pressure than towns further out—and […]

Regulatory reform of the taxi industry is long overdue

If the events of the last several months are any indication, Uber’s future is not as certain as public sentiment might have suggested a year ago. But even though the company has taken hits on a number of fronts, Uber and other transportation network companies (TNCs) will continue to have the upper hand in the […]

METCO’s 50th Anniversary Focuses Attention on Pioneer’s Call to Expand & Improve the Program

The recent 50th anniversary of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) has drawn attention to the program, which gives about 3,300 Boston and Springfield students the chance to attend high-performing suburban schools, and to findings from two Pioneer Institute studies about METCO. One of the Pioneer studies was cited in a lengthy feature on […]

The Crazy World of College Presidential Salaries Part 3: Comparing Presidential Salaries with State College & University Success Rates

  While many factors influence state university presidential pay rates, there isn’t always a correlation between those rates and student outcomes. Ideally, a university president would have a portion of his or her salary tied to student outcomes such as improved retention and graduation rates. To see how Massachusetts state colleges and universities stack up, […]

How Do Alternative Investments Stack up in State Pensions?

There are numerous expert opinion on the proper investment strategy for public pension funds. In 2012, the Pioneer Institute’s Ilya Atanasov cited concerns about risk and subpar returns in recommending that public pension funds divest from certain complex alternative including private equity and hedge funds. Instead, Atanasov suggested funds invest in safer, more stable assets […]

The Crazy World of College Presidential Salaries Part 2: A Deeper Look

Part 1 of this blog series on MA state colleges and universities addressed presidents’ salaries since 2010. In general, although public funding for MA higher education institutions—specifically the state college and non-UMass university system—is decreasing, university presidents received annual raises, and sometimes very large raises and expensive buyouts. The picture is a bit murky, though, […]

The Internet Sales Tax: Gone But Will It Be Back?

On June 30th, two days before it was scheduled to go into effect, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) pulled a directive that would tax online retailers without a physical presence in the state. Under the directive, any company that has over 100 transactions and at least $500,000 in sales in the state in the […]

Welcome to the Crazy World of College Presidential Salaries – Part 1

In a world of skyrocketing college tuition and student debt, the issue of college administration costs has become highly visible—and infuriating—for those footing the college bills. A large part of a higher education institution’s administrative costs come from salaries, including pay for presidents, executive boards, deans, and provosts. But these positions also sometimes come with […]

The Downgrade: Perhaps A Yawn But We’re Not Alone

Since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, economic indicators have been largely positive. The U.S. GDP in 2015 reached $16.3 trillion, finally surpassing the $16 trillion before the recession. U.S. unemployment has fallen to 4.3%, down from 10% at  the height of the recession. Yet despite the recent growth, 13 states including Massachusetts […]