Political and Economic Research Council

Political and Economic Research Council

infobox Organization
name =
motto = Unleashing the Power of Information
formation = 2002
type = Public Policy Think Tank
headquarters = 100 Europa Drive
location = Chapel Hill, North Carolina
leader_title = President
leader_name = Michael Turner
website = [http://www.infopolicy.org www.infopolicy.org]

The Political and Economic Research Council (PERC) is a Chapel Hill, North Carolina based non-profit, non-partisan think tank concentrates on market-based economic development, both in the United States and internationally. PERC is a primary thought leader in the field of alternative data [http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_16/b4080052299512.htm?chan=search Business Week, The Credit Rating in Your Shoebox] ] . PERC scholars have published a number of reports, presented findings worldwide, and testified before the United States Congress on a variety of issues.


PERC was initially founded as the Information Policy Institute in 2002 in New York City [http://www.infopolicy.org/aboutus.htm www.infopolicy.org, About Us] ] . It first entered national prominence with the reauthorization of the Fair Credit Reporting Act in 2003. PERC produced "Access, Efficiency, and Opportunity" for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce [http://www.infopolicy.org/pdf/fcra_report.pdf The Fair Credit Reporting Act: Access, Efficiency & Opportunity, Information Policy Institute, June 2003] ] . The report was the most cited document during the Congressional debate that resulted in the adoption of all of PERC's policy prescriptions [http://www.infopolicy.org/right14.htm "Bureau of National Affairs", "Financial Institutions--White House Said Planning FCRA Strategy; Johnson Says Business Community Divided"] ] . In 2004, helped to rationalize the free credit provisions of the FACT Act. PERC's research assisted in the reopening of financial data sharing in Australia and led to a Parliamentary inquiry [http://www.apeccredit.org/public_articles/AFR%2021Nov2005%20Cornell%20p%2054.pdf "Financial Review", No clear case for deposit insurance] ] . In August 2008, the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended Australia follow many of PERC's recommendations [http://dnb.com.au/Header/News/Law_Reform_Commission_calls_for_reform_of_credit_reporting_laws/indexdl_4520.aspx Dun & Bradstreet, Law Reform Commission calls for reform of credit reporting laws] ] .

In 2006, PERC published "Give Credit Where Credit Is Due" with The Brookings Institution, helping to reignite interest in the issue of alternative data [http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2006/12communitydevelopment_turner.aspx The Brookings Institution, "Give Credit Where Credit Is Due"] ] . PERC remains very active in the field, through its Alternative Data Initiative. PERC also has a long running interest in economic recovery in the Gulf Coast region, after Hurricane Katrina. A number of surveys and reports on small business recovery have been released [http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/2007-08-28-katrina-finances_N.htm "USA Today", http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/2007-08-28-katrina-finances_N.htm] ] . PERC has released studies for the governments of South Africa, Brazil [ [http://www.infopolicy.org/right27.htm "Valor Econômico", PIB pode avançar mais de 1% com cadastro positivo] ] , Japan [ [http://www.infopolicy.org/pdf/Japan.pdf PERC, "On the Impact of Credit Payment Reporting on the Financial Sector and Overall Economic Performance in Japan"] ] , and several Latin American markets as a whole [ [http://www.infopolicy.org/pdf/Latin%20America.pdf PERC, "Economic Impacts of Payment Reporting Participation in Latin America"] ] .


Besides previous work in data privacy and information policy, PERC has a number of currently active projects.

Alternative Data Initiative

Up to 54 million Americans have insufficient credit information to qualify for mainstream credit [ [http://www.boston.com/business/personalfinance/articles/2006/05/21/verizons_free_gift_to_customers_giving_payment_data_to_credit_bureaus/ Boston Globe, Verizon's 'free gift' to customers: Giving payment data to credit bureaus] ] . PERC has been promoting the full reporting of customer payment data -- both positive and negative data -- by energy utility and telecom firms to credit rating agencies as a way of helping millions of Americans quickly build a positive credit history and enable them to access affordable credit. PERC has published three major reports on the issue: [http://www.infopolicy.org/pdf/nontrad.pdf "Giving Underserved Consumers Better Access to the Credit System"] , [http://www.infopolicy.org/pdf/alt-data.pdf "Give Credit Where Credit is Due"] (with the Brookings Institution), and [http://www.infopolicy.org/pdf/YouScore.pdf "You Score, You Win"] . PERC also conducts extensive outreach, including testimony in front of Congress [ [http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/index.php?main_page=product_video_info&products_id=280095-1 C-SPAN, Credit Scoring System and Credit Scores - Panel 1] ] . PERC works with the three big credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, as well as consumer groups and government regulators in its alternative data initiative.

Information Led Development

PERC also conducts research in international economic development. PERC scholars have conducted research and outreach in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, China, India, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Costa Rica, South Africa, Russia, and Singapore. PERC founded the Asia-Pacific Credit Coalition to promote regional credit reporting standards [ [http://www.apeccredit.org www.apeccredit.org] ] . In March 2008, it hosted an international experts conference on credit reporting in China with Peking University [ [http://www.infopolicy.org/documents/eventannouncement.doc PERC/PAFIRC Call for Papers] ] . Most recently, PERC has been retained by the National Credit Regulator of South Africa to conduct research on SMEs.

Gulf Coast Economic Renewal

PERC President Michael Turner initially co-authored an op-ed piece on credit impacts of Hurricane Katrina [ [http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2005/1018communitydevelopment_lee.aspx National Business Review, "Making a Better Life: Preparing for the Post-Katrina Personal Finance Crisis"] ] . Interest from this piece led PERC to partner with The Brookings Institution to do a study on the economic effects of disaster on communities. PERC has authored two surveys of small business owners, [http://www.infopolicy.org/pdf/Gulf%20Coast.pdf "Recovery, Renewal, and Resiliency'] and [http://www.infopolicy.org/pdf/SmallBusinessSurvey2008.pdf "Recovering But Not Recovered"] . Research conducted jointly with The World Bank represents the first time in its history that the World Bank has engaged in research focusing upon the United States. They released a report on the credit impacts of disaster [ [http://www.infopolicy.org/pdf/Financial%20Impacts%20of%20Disaster.pdf PERC, The Financial Impacts of Disaster] ] , and are working to provide a recovery monitoring dashboard.


ee also

* alternative data
* The Brookings Institution
* The World Bank
* Fair Credit Reporting Act
* FACT Act
* The Center for Financial Services Innovation -- A Chicago-based consultancy working in similar issue areas to PERC

External links

* [http://www.infopolicy.org PERC's website]
* [http://infopolicy.org/pdf/Using%20non-traditional%20data.pdf Turner and Agarwal, "Journal of Risk Management in Financial Institutions," "Using non-traditional data for underwriting loans to thin-file borrowers: Evidence, tips and precautions]

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