Research and Engagement

Applied research in service to better state and local policymaking
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Research is at the core of CLOSUP's mission. We believe research about and with state and local governments can inform policy on key issues and helps strengthen our democracy’s foundation at its grassroots. 

We leverage the deep knowledge across the University of Michigan to foster and occasionally sponsor new research projects. 

Then we bring that knowledge to bear, to help drive positive change in communities.

Tom Ivacko and Stephanie Leiser

Policy Memo

State and local governments as partners in our national recovery

While Washington has been mired in ideological gridlock, state and local governments have been forced to take the lead in addressing many of the country’s most pressing issues–the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter and police reform, systemic racism and inequality, deteriorating infrastructure, broadband access, and worsening natural disasters related to climate change. While trust in the federal government is at historic lows, it remains relatively high at the state and especially the local levels, facilitating innovation and experimentation in the “laboratories of democracy.”
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Local leader perspectives

Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS)

For over a decade, MPPS has been a unique source of data to inform and improve policymaking—from local finances, COVID-19, election administration, local energy issues, and more. It is the only ongoing survey of all general purpose local governments across an entire state.
Learn more about the MPPS
Data transparency

Fiscal Health Project

By developing a deeper understanding of the fiscal health and fiscal challenges of local governments in Michigan, CLOSUP aims to contribute toward greater transparency and early detection of signs of fiscal stress.
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State of our democracy

Michigan’s local leaders are—generally—positive about institutions, relationships, and attitudes associated with local democratic governance.

Twelve years of survey data shed light on the state of democracy at the local level in Michigan, in the eyes of Michigan’s local government leaders.
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Research and community engagement

Michigan Redistricting Project

This research and service project shares information about communities of interest with Michigan's Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission and promotes and facilities community engagement in the redistricting process.
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Energy and environment

Renewable Energy Policy Initiative (REPI)

REPI aims to conduct, support, and disseminate high-quality applied academic research on state and local policies impacting the deployment of renewable energy in the American federal system that informs both scholarship and the policy process.
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Past research projects

Since 2001, CLOSUP has been home to a multitude of research projects. Previous major projects include the National Surveys on Energy and Environment (ongoing at Muhlenberg College), the CLOSUP Fracking Project, the Education Policy Initiative (now a stand-alone initiative within the Ford School), and CLOSUP’s grants programs, which sponsored more than 50 research projects at the University of Michigan.


To disseminate the latest policy-relevant academic knowledge, CLOSUP produces in-depth policy reports.
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CLOSUP’s research conferences, seminars, workshops, and other events bring together researchers and students from across the university, as well as other scholars, policymakers, and practitioners to address and inform critical policy issues.
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