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Center for Public Policy

The Hobby School of Public Affairs (HSPA) 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 HSPA Executive Director Dr. Jim Granato, the research orientation of the HSPA is interdisciplinary with particular emphasis on unifying case-study, formal/mathematical modeling, and applied statistical/experimental approaches to any research question. For example, research work teams are being created to include faculty from a variety of disciplines and universities. These research clusters will focus on a diverse array of important public policy and academic issues while archiving data, conducting statistical analysis, using experiments and computer simulations, and developing working papers. The issue may be education, transportation, energy or a myriad of others but the approach will always use objective 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. Learn more about CVL.

Survey Research Institute

The Survey Research Institute conducts an ongoing program of public opinion polling. Learn more about the SRI.

Research Projects

Texas 2016 Super Tuesday Poll

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 HSPA 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 Hobby 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 Hobby Center for Public Policy (HCPP) 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 Center for Public Policy, 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 Center for Public Policy 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 Hobby 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.  HCPP's contribution offers a tool for those concerned with managing limited resources and understanding the tradeoffs inherent in policymaking.  Read the full report.

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 Hobby 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 Hobby 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 Hobby 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. Read more.

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.