Pioneer Research

This report warns that the MBTA will likely face a fare evasion crisis when it transitions to all-door boarding on buses, the Green Line, and the Mattapan trolley in 2023. General Manager Steve Poftak and MBTA staff have signaled the potential for a $25–30 million spike in fare evasion costs when the new AFC 2.0 system is implemented unless the MBTA institutes meaningful, enforceable penalties for fare evaders. In this report, Pioneer Institute makes recommendations for managing the AFC 2.0 contract and related fare evasion procedures going forward.
This report finds that analyses from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (MADOR, 2016) (and more recently, Tufts University’s Center for State Policy Analysis (2022)) dramatically underestimated the number of households and businesses impacted by the constitutionally-imposed tax hike that the legislature is putting before voters in November 2022. The proposed tax would impact multiples of the number of people previously estimated, over a nine-year period, since the majority of “millionaires” only earn $1 million once during that time.
Digital learning, the use of computers and the internet to study courses taught in the classroom, is viewed by many educators as a breakthrough to helping those at-risk students stay in school and earn their diplomas. The flexibility afforded by digital learning, with students working on their own time at their own pace, is a way for students to meet the requirements of their courses while handling pressing responsibilities outside of school, problems at home or personal issues.  Yet parents should scrutinize digital programs closely. Their quality and effectiveness vary widely. Students are poorly served by point-and-click assessments with no engagement, virtual schools with videos instead of real teachers and programs without pacing and scheduling support.
After schools closed in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students, families and teachers had to shift learning from in-class to online. But the switch to remote learning was hasty and disorganized in many school districts. Families struggled with the technology and coordinating schedules at home, while teachers tried to shift the in-person model to teaching through a computer. The dissatisfaction caused many families to believe that the remote learning they were experiencing was what takes place in full-time virtual schools. In fact the two are much different.  This report includes information on how to distinguish between questionable and quality virtual programs.
The toolkit aims to help policymakers take the next step toward a more quality-oriented, affordable, and innovative health system by ensuring that their state laws on telehealth remove deleterious barriers that have historically discriminated against those in certain geographies, such as those living in rural communities or in underserved urban areas. This report explains policy best practices for ensuring that providers and patients can fully realize the benefits of using telehealth services when appropriate and provides a simple-to-read stoplight rating for each state on how closely their policies align with those best practices.
Read Pioneer Institute's Open Letter to Boston's newly elected mayor, Michelle Wu, outlining six steps to turn around the city’s public schools. The letter focuses on education because we believe there is no more important issue, and because no other policy area matters as much if the goal is to ensure fair access to opportunity and upward mobility.
This report shows that a proposed graduated income tax that will appear on the statewide ballot in November 2022 will have much more far-reaching implications than most people realize because the surtax also extends to “pass-through” income from entities such as S and limited liability corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships that are taxed on individual tax returns.
On November 9th, 2021, William Smith, Pioneer Institute Visiting Fellow in Life Sciences, submitted the following testimony to the Massachusetts Legislature in support of House Bill 201, which addresses a number of flaws and infirmities in the Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) methodology that is utilized by a number of foreign nations in evaluating the value of medicines.
This report examines whether, after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the U.S. will have another looming public health crisis emerging from patients failing to have had their cardiology needs addressed properly during the lockdowns. Moreover, if we surmise that a follow-on public health crisis will emerge, we can also conclude that certain population segments are going to be more impacted by CVD, as there are documented health disparities in this therapeutic area. Finally, there are policy changes that could be taken to mitigate a possible spike in CVD adverse events; the paper will close by recommending certain policy changes.
Two identical bills to reward public employees with a retirement credit bonus for working during the COVID-19 emergency are currently pending in each chamber of the Massachusetts Legislature. The bills would add billions of dollars in liabilities to public pension funds and reward workers based on their compensation, years of service and age rather than the type or duration of the work performed during the emergency, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.