Pioneer Institute Better Government Housing Policy College Case Competition

In an effort to procure ideas from bright young minds for housing policy improvements in Massachusetts, Pioneer Institute is hosting a case competition open to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at a college or university in Massachusetts during winter semester 2020. Click the buttons below to view details! REGISTRATION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MARCH 20th!


Massachusetts, specifically eastern Massachusetts, has long been a desirable place for recent college graduates. Due to shifting demographics and lifestyles, many young people are single or have much smaller families than was typical for most of the 20th century. However, in many towns and cities in Massachusetts, the vast majority of the housing stock consists of units with three bedrooms or more. While Boston has recently proposed innovative solutions regarding the flexibility and diversity of housing types, there is still much to be done. 

Some communities are hesitant to build units that alter their existing development patterns and destroy open space. Others point to commuting patterns and traffic congestion as evidence that housing production should only occur near major job centers, not in suburban towns. The flip side is that commercial developers in large business districts may not consider how their future tenants will travel to work and the corresponding environmental and lifestyle impacts.  

The result of all this is that Massachusetts youth are facing a crisis in which housing is increasingly unsuitable, unaffordable, and hard to find for a subpopulation we desperately want to retain, but are already in a transient and uncertain stage of life.


Submit a paper of five or fewer pages describing a new and innovative way to increase the supply of housing available to Millennials and Generation Z in all Massachusetts communities, while considering employment and commuting patterns. Please include:

  • Relevant background information
  • An explanation of the proposed solution
  • How the solution will change current practices
  • The costs and benefits of your approach compared to current practices
  • Potential obstacles to implementation 

Your solution should be grounded in concrete data and explore scalable, marked-based approaches rather than government regulation to address the issue. 


While there are no required materials to incorporate into the paper, Pioneer Institute recommends that you use the following data sources as a starting point for your research:    


  • The winner of the competition will receive the $5,000 grand prize, and the two runners-up will receive $1,000, split amongst the team members.
  • All of the finalists will be invited to Pioneer Institute’s 30th Annual Better Government Competition Awards Gala, a prominent award ceremony and networking event. Speakers at the event in recent years include Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, former Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis, Forbes Media Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.


  • Gary Campbell, CEO of Gilbert Campbell Real Estate and President of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts
  • Stephen Fantone, Senior Lecturer at MIT and CEO of Optikos Corporation
  • Jim Stergios, Executive Director of Pioneer Institute

Format & Schedule

  • Your team must be registered by March 20th, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.  REGISTER BELOW
  • Pioneer will accept competition entries no later than April 14th, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
  • Project teams must include at least 3 members each.
  • Please submit your team’s entry in PDF format and include the team members’ names on the cover page only. These conditions will help us ensure the impartiality of the judges.
  • Please be sure to properly cite the sources of your research, especially if you include data resources besides those listed above. Plagiarism of any kind will not be tolerated.
  • You can submit entries to the competition electronically below, or just email a PDF of your final document to before the deadline.
  • All competitors will be notified whether they have been selected as a finalist by Monday, April 20th, 2020. These teams will then be given a short window of time to present their projects to the judges before they determine a winner.
  • While this is the first case competition sponsored by Pioneer Institute held specifically for college students, we have managed a thematic Better Government Competition aimed at practitioners since 1991.