Utah State University

Current Publications


Green vs. Green: The Political, Legal, and Administrative Pitfalls Facing Green Energy Production

By Ryan M. Yonk, Randy T. Simmons, and Brian Steed

Renewable and carbon-neutral energy have been promoted as the future of energy production in the United States. Non-traditional energy sources show promise as alternatives to fossil fuels and may provide a sustainable source of energy in increasingly uncertain energy markets. However, these new sources of energy face their own set of political, administrative, and legal challenges. Green vs. Green explores how mixed land ownership and existing law and regulation present serious challenges to the development of alternative energy sources in the United States.

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Direct Democracy in the United States: Petitioners as a Reflection of Soceity

Edited by Shauna Reilly and Ryan M. Yonk

The increased use of direct democracy measures across the United States has brought attention to the individual petitioner however their motivations and goals continue to be an enigma.

Drawing on behavioral, historical and legal analysis to provide a more concrete depiction of these individuals, expert contributors examine the true personalities, motivations and expectations, successes and failures of petitioners in the direct democracy process and how they culminate in policy formation across the United States. Six typologies; the zealot, the victim, the amateur, the lawyer, the professional, and the politician are identified and later applied to four key policy areas, taxation, health, the environment and education.

A lucid contribution to the existing literature on direct democracy and an excellent resource for studying how petitioners are able to influence their communities beyond the ballot box.

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Bootleggers, Baptists, and Political Entrepreneurs: Key Players in the Rational Game and Morality Play of Regulatory Politics

By Randy T. Simmons, Ryan M. Yonk, and Diana W. Thomas

Much of the academic discussion about rent seeking and interest-group politics focuses on available rents and the groups seeking them. We can enrich those discussions by attending to the political entrepreneurs who assist in identifying, seeking, and allocating the rents. In this article, therefore, we focus on political entrepreneurship in the rent-seeking society. One of the best models of the rent-seeking society pertains to “bootleggers and Baptists,” whose story provides a framework for considering how political entrepreneurs operate in the rent-seeking society. Political entrepreneurship as a class of action obviously plays a role in all political contexts, not only in the bootlegger-and-Baptist framework. To limit the scope of the present inquiry, however, we focus on this framework only.

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Beyond Politics

Beyond Politics: The Roots of Government Failure

By Randy T. Simmons

Providing students of economics, politics, and policy with a concise explanation of public choice, markets, property, and political and economic processes, this record identifies what kinds of actions are beyond the ability of government. Combining public choice with studies of the value of property rights, markets, and institutions, this account produces a much different picture of modern political economy than the one accepted by mainstream political scientists and welfare economists. It demonstrates that when citizens request that their governments do more than it is possible, net benefits are reduced, costs are increased, and wealth and freedom are diminished. Solutions are also suggested with the goal to improve the lot of those who should be the ultimate sovereigns in a democracy: the citizens.

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Aquanomics: Water Markets and the Environment

Edited By B/ Delworth Gardener and Randy T. Simmons

Water is becoming increasingly scarce. If recent usage trends continue, shortages are inevitable. Aquanomics discusses some of the instruments and policies that may be implemented to postpone, or even avoid, the onset of “water crises.” These policies include establishing secure andtransferable private water rights and extending these rights to uses that traditionally have not been allowed, includingaltering in-stream flows and ecosystem functions. The editors argue that such policies will help maximize water quantity and quality as water becomes scarcer and more valuable. Aquanomics contains many examples of how this is being accomplished, particularly in the formation of water markets and market-like exchanges of water rights.

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Endangered Species

Critical Thinking About Environmental Issues – Endangered Species

By Randy T. Simmons

Environmental topics pervade classrooms today, but true understanding of them is elusive. All too often, subjects such as global warming, species extinction, and the role of pesticides are reduced to simple slogans because accurate information is hard to find.

Yet there is enormous scientific debate about these topics. Thomas Jefferson said that “difference of opinion leads to inquiry, and inquiry to truth.” Critical Thinking About Environmental Issues will prepare young people to become inquiring citizens by introducing them to the scientific and economic debates that underlie environmental issues.

Each volume will provide readers with a range of scientific views and theories on an environmental topic and introduce facts that are sometimes ignored. Each will help readers use their critical thinking skills. By exposing students to differences in opinion, this series will enable them to search for the truth and to make their own decisions.

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