What We Do

BOTEC meets clients halfway. We take both qualitative and quantitative approaches to help define policy problems so clients can more efficiently solve them.

Consider policy options

BOTEC uses policy analysis techniques to identify the range of alternatives available to stakeholders as well as the optimal solution given a specific set of goals.

Gather information

We deploy primary, secondary, and tertiary data collection methodologies to gather qualitative and quantitative research inputs that can be used to better understand a problem.

Evaluate policy solutions

Our staff and partners work hand in glove with managers and practitioners to evaluate policy innovations or programs.

React based on results

BOTEC reports and presents research to program & policy managers empowering them to decide the future of a specific policy or program.

Implement policy solutions

We provide technical training & assistance to regulators, administrators, civil servants, activists and key stakeholders working to implement a given policy innovation or program.

Identify the Problem

BOTEC connects theoretical, technical and practical subject matter experts to conceptualize a problem from a holistic and preferably interdisciplinary perspective.

Our Process

What is the problem?

Policymakers know when they have a problem. But they do not always know how to talk about it. BOTEC meets clients halfway. We take both qualitative and quantitative approaches to help define policy problems so clients can more efficiently solve them.

How can policy help when individuals, social norms, and markets fail?

Policies that restrict or compel certain behaviors among citizens should only be used when individual choices, social norms, and markets fail to protect public health and safety. BOTEC helps policymakers understand when they should exercise restraint and when they should act.

What policy options exist?

Complex problems suggest many solutions. BOTEC uses a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on economists, sociologists, data scientists, public health experts, attorneys, and practitioners to frame all available policy options. 

How do we judge the outcomes of alternative policies?

Placing values on what we want policies to achieve is difficult, especially when each option can create unintended consequences downstream. BOTEC helps policymakers understand the dimensions that describe positive and negative outcomes from alternative policies, the basis on which to weigh alternatives against one another, and the probability distribution of the outcomes of each option across those dimensions.

What policy option has the best probable outcomes?

The best solution to a policy problem is not always apparent, even when data and analysis are available. The option that has the highest probability of solving the problem is a good place to start, and BOTEC helps clients understand what the data suggest and how to transfer success on paper to success in practice.

What decision-makers need to agree to the proposed course of action?

Even at the highest levels of government, policy decisions often come down to a handful of individuals. BOTEC uses intensive stakeholder engagement to make sure the important voices are at the table from the beginning, ensuring buy-in and ultimately yielding more well-informed policies.

Our Focus Areas

Cannabis

Emerging cannabis markets around the world present opportunities for economic development and revenue, but also create potential threats to public health and safety. BOTEC works with governments to anticipate market conditions, shape regulations on production, sale, taxation, and consumption, and evaluate the effects of existing policies.

Nicotine

Governments worldwide have joined the fight to end cigarette smoking, but their efforts have sometimes yielded unintended consequences. Illicit trade in tobacco products is a serious and costly global problem that robs governments of revenue and strips regulators of the power to affect consumer behavior. Meanwhile, the risks and possibilities of alternatives to cigarettes are poorly understood. BOTEC uses a harm reduction lens to help governments understand how they can best serve their citizens.

Opioids

For over a decade, an epidemic of opioid misuse has ravaged the United States. In its wake, rates of misuse of stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine have also risen. BOTEC has studied the behavior of drug users and the characteristics of illicit opioid and stimulant markets for over thirty years. We advise government agencies such as the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program on high-level strategy. We also design and evaluate program-level responses to specific substance misuse problems faced by practitioners.

Reentry services

The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and most of the prison population is managed at the state level. Governments conscious of both fairness and cost-effectiveness have begun to build their capacities to safely transition incarcerated citizens back to communities. For reentry to be successful, returning citizens must be well-equipped to meet the challenges they will face in securing housing, employment, and personal development, all while meeting the conditions of their release. BOTEC works with governments to design pre-trail supervision, probation, and parole programs that work for both clients and supervision agents. We provide the training and technical assistance (TTA) and research partnership that help agencies not only develop programs that succeed, but also ground those programs in evidence so that the lessons learned can be shared.

Corrections management

State corrections facilities are fertile environments for testing policies that make human lives safer and more worthwhile. Yet, the agencies that manage those facilities are often too occupied by immediate practical concerns to implement dynamic changes, conduct empirical experiments, and offer analysis. BOTEC helps agencies identify problems in offender management and develop solutions rooted in evidence.

Equity

Governments and corporations are increasingly concerned that their policies have effects that do not unfairly benefit or burden certain groups at the expense of the whole. BOTEC helps agencies and corporations see equity problems caused by their current policies and develop new policies that avoid those problems. 

Transport

Access to affordable transportation options is an important social justice issue, and reducing carbon-intensive personal vehicle use is an ecological imperative. The emergence of app-based ride-share technologies and peer-to-peer car-sharing models have disrupted public transport and the automotive industry. But minority riders and those with disabilities are often discriminated against and under-served. BOTEC works directly with these firms to evaluate the performance of their services on key metrics to ensure that opportunities for discrimination within the system are eliminated.

Environment

New products and services created by emerging industries such as app-based ride-share technologies or regulated cannabis create environmental costs. Regulators need to understand these costs as well as any opportunities for ecological harm mitigation that innovation presents. With this understanding, regulators can develop policy frameworks that minimize risks while maximizing benefits. BOTEC works with both regulators and corporations to measure environmental impacts, measuring inflows and outflows under different scenarios. This information can then inform a discussion about alternatives, mitigation, optimal regulation and commercial procedures.

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Our Experience