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

Tax-Brain simulation of the Biden 2020 plan. In a new Tax-Brain* simulation Jason DeBacker (University of South Carolina), Matt Jensen (AEI) and Peter Metz (AEI) published a resource for modelers of Joe Biden’s 2020 tax plan. The simulation includes numerous provisions of Biden’s individual income and payroll tax plan, including modified tax rates and brackets, itemized deductions limitations, increased capital gains tax rates, and additional payroll taxes, all targeted at high earners. The simulation does not assume behavioral responses to the reforms and is intended to assist researchers and policy analysts as they develop estimates of the budgetary and economic effects of the Biden campaign policy platform. Link

Policy Simulation Library (PSL) meeting series returns with OG-USA demo. Last week, the PSL* meeting series returned with a webinar on dynamic tax modeling and the OG-USA* web application. OG-USA is an overlapping-generations model of the US economy that allows for dynamic general equilibrium analysis of federal tax policy. The new web application allows users with no Python programming background to leverage OG-USA’s modeling capabilities. The webinar began with OSPC’s Matt Jensen interviewing Jason DeBacker (OG-USA’s co-creator) on the motivations, purpose, structure, and assumptions behind OG-USA. Then DeBacker introduced the new OG-USA web application, using Joe Biden’s 2020 tax plan as an example. If you missed the livestream, check out the recorded video. Link

COVID-19 contact tracing comes to the US. A key to slowing the COVID-19 outbreak is identifying and isolating people who were exposed to a carrier of the virus. Because of its lengthy incubation period, this is a particularly difficult task with COVID-19. One solution to this dilemma is to leverage cell phone data to track people who came into contact with someone who was later diagnosed with the virus. While there are serious privacy concerns with contact tracing, groups in the US, including a team based at MIT, are working to develop secure, open-source contact tracing technology. Safe Paths, the MIT-based project, is designed for people to match their GPS cell phone data with anonymized, redacted, and blurred location history of infected patients and for public health officials to broadcast location information of diagnosed carriers. Link

* These projects are attendees or graduates of OSPC’s incubator program.

Edited by Matt Jensen and Peter Metz