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

Age of Earmarks

Steven Gordon

The federal government transfers considerable sums to local governments in the form of intergovernmental grants. With the exception of health and welfare programs, most intergovernmental grants to local governments are classified as discretionary spending.

Early Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Care Access, Risky Health Behaviors, and Self-Assessed Health

Charles Courtemanche, James Marton, Benjamin Ukert, Aaron Yelowitz, Daniela Zapata

This research sheds new light on the effects of the Affordable Care Act. During the first two years of the ACA access to health care increased but health outcomes and behaviors remained unchanged, according to findings by Institute Director Yelowitz with coauthors Courtemanche, Marton, Ukert and Zapata. With efforts at the national level to repeal and replace the ACA this research suggests that though access to care may decrease, health outcomes are unlikely to change.

The Growth of Government, Trust in Government, and Evidence on Their Coevolution

Steven Gordon, John Garen, J. R. Clark

Only one in five Americans trust the United States government to do the right thing most of the time. This is down from three in four Americans in the 1960s. What has led to the erosion of trust? Gordon, Garen and Clark find that the growth in government by politicians who are currying the favors of special interests may play a large role.

Modern Politics and the Passions

David Bradshaw

Dr. Bradshaw explores today’s political, social and moral divides with reference to the works of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Finding that behind these ideas are destructive forms of thinking and feeling, Bradshaw argues that to unify requires returning to the classical disciplines imbedded in Plato, Aristotle and the Christian ideal of educating the passions.

In the News

April 28th: Drs. Courtemanche, Marton, Ukert, Yelowitz & Zapata were quoted in PJ Media

April 1-4: Dr. John Garen organized and moderated two sessions for the Association for Private Enterprise Education annual conference: 

“Labor Markets and Healthcare Markets”

“Empirical Studies of Government Intervention and Its Effects”


Dr. Charles Courtemanche research on Walmart Supercenters was cited in Bloomberg on June 28, 2018. 

June 27: Dr. Courtemanche's paper was referenced in MarketWatch: Living closer to a Walmart will improve a household’s food security — meaning they will have better access to safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs — according to a new working paper distributed Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research. (Walmart did not immediately return a request for comment.)

April 2nd: Dr. Aaron Yelowitz presented his paper, "Early Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Care Access, Risky Health Behaviors, and Self-Assessed Health"