About Us

The Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise is dedicated to understanding the role that markets play in the economy and in society. The Institute’s mission is to generate intellectually rigorous research and an open dialogue to discover and understand how free enterprise affects peoples’ lives and the well-being of society.

Current Research

The Allocation and Exchange of Property Rights as a Way to Understand Comparative Economics Systems and Managerial Economics

John Garen

Economic systems are described by the manner that property rights are allocated to individuals, to the government, or to interests groups. Property rights entail control of use of assets, claim on the net income from an asset, and transferability of the previous two.

Medicaid Coverage across the Income Distribution under the Affordable Care Act

Charles Courtemanche, James Marton, Aaron Yelowitz

This chapter examines trends in Medicaid enrollment across the income distribution after the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.

Social Security and Medicare Spending Growth: Is It Just More Seniors or More Per Senior?

John Garen

Long-term federal budget forecasts show sizable increases in federal spending in the coming decades. A large share of this increase in spending is due to Social Security and Medicare.

The Effects of Traditional Cigarette and E-cigarette Taxes on Adult Tobacco Product Use

Michael F. Pesko, Charles Courtemanche, Johanna Catherine Maclean

We study the effects of traditional cigarette tax rate changes and e-cigarette tax adoption on use of these products among US adults. Data are drawn from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and National Health Interview Survey data over the period 2011 to 2017.

The Federal-Private Wage Differential: How Has It Evolved

Sun-Ki Choi & John Garen

We find that federal workers were consistently paid more than comparable private-sector workers throughout the 1995 to 2017 time period. Moreover, federal works had higher pension and health insurance coverage. For 2017, we estimate that federal workers were paid 12.5% more.

In the News

According to year-end rankings from Research Papers in Economics':

  • Affiliate Ken Troske ranks #2 in the state of Kentucky across all years and #12 across just the past 10 years
  • Affiliate and former director Aaron Yelowitz ranks #5 in the state overall and #7 in the past 10 years
  • Affiliate and current director Charles Courtemanche ranks #7 in the state overall and #1 in the past 10 years
  • UK’s economics department, which includes 7 affiliates, is the top-ranked department in the state, both overall and in the past 10 years

ISFE Working Paper #18, “Nominal GDP versus Price Level Targeting: An Empirical Evaluation”, by ISFE affiliate Jim Fackler and Doug McMillin, has been accepted for publication at the Journal of Economics and Business. This project was supported by an ISFE summer research grant.

A new provocative op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Dr. Yelowitz.

New research by Dr. Courtemanche on the connection between maternal employment and childhood obesity was published in the Journal of Human Capital.

Dr. Yelowitz's research on the new op-ed in the New York Post about New York's $4 billion Medicaid gap.

Our Next Event

Steve Forbes

February 13, 2020
5:00pm to 6:00pm

Kincaid Auditorium ( Gatton Business & Economics 111)