This is a periodic newsletter of the interesting things we’ve seen and what we are thinking about in open source policy analysis.

February Policy Simulation Library (PSL) meeting recap. Hosted by OSPC at AEI’s DC headquarters, the February PSL meeting began with updates from OSPC’s Matt Jensen and Hank Doupe. Jensen introduced OSPC’s new website, and Doupe presented on ParamTools, an open-source project that helps developers define, adjust, and validate the inputs of computational modeling projects. Then Martin Holmer (Policy Simulation Group) and Anderson Frailey (OSPC) presented on the OSPC-incubated Tax-Calculator and ran a live demonstration of how to use the model to analyze a tax policy reform proposal. If you missed the meeting, check out a full recap and video of the presentations. Link

An analysis of the earned basic income tax credit. In a recent working paper, Ernie Tedeschi (Evercore ISI) examines the economic effects of an adjustment to the earned income tax credit (EITC), as proposed by Arindrajit Dube (University of Massachusetts–Amherst), called the earned basic income tax credit (EBITC). The EBITC differs from the EITC in that filers with no earnings can claim at least some portion of the maximum EITC. As such, the EBITC is more generous than the EITC in boosting the economic security of no-income and low-income households. In the working paper, Tedeschi uses Tax-Calculator to estimate the revenue and poverty effects of the EBITC. Link

NSA open sources cybersecurity tool. This week, the NSA open sourced Ghidra, a software reverse engineering framework that helps analyze malicious code and malware. Ghidra works by taking “compiled” software and “decompiling” it, translating the software to a form that is readable to humans. Ghidra and other reverse engineering tools are essential in understanding how dangerous software works and where it came from. Link

Open-source tools to fight cancer. A new open-source tool developed by researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology uses machine learning to analyze RNA expression in tumors to help doctors determine the most effective chemotherapy drug for the patient. The decision-making algorithm can be particularly useful in cases when a patient needs a new drug after the first-line chemotherapy drug fails. A recent study of patient records found that this system predicted the chemotherapy drug that had provided the best outcome 80 percent of the time. Link

Distributional implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). In a recent AEI working paper, Cody Kallen (University of Wisconsin–Madison) and Aparna Mathur (AEI), investigate the distributional effects, both across and within income deciles, of TCJA using Tax-Calculator. Link

Tax-Calculator releases version 1.0.0. The 1.0.0 release introduces major API changes and a number of new features, including updated data, new policy parameters, and revised reform files. For a full list of API changes, new features, and bug fixes, click here.

Edited by Matt Jensen
American Enterprise Institute