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

Test Scores, Education Spending and Productivity in Kentucky

John Garen

This report examines the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP) test scores for Kentucky students for the roughly 25-year time span from the 1990s forward, as well as changes in funding (inclusive of state, local, and federal) of K-12 in the Commonwealth during that period.

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

Is the Medicaid work requirement to blame for people losing their healthcare?  Dr. Yelowitz told MedPage Today that this report draws some unfounded conclusions.


An ambulance ride of just a few miles can cost thousands of dollars, and a lot of it may not be covered by insurance. With ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft far cheaper and now available within minutes in many areas, would using one instead be a good idea?  Find out in The New York Times

This op-ed by Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise affiliate, Dr. John Garen, was published by the Lexington Herald-Leader on November 15, 2018 

Sept 7: Op-Ed - Dr. John Garen in the Lane Report

Conflict over public school financing arose again in the last legislative session, continuing the long-standing concern about the funding and performance of public schools.  Dr. John Garen is a co-author of a recent report that was released by the Pegasus Institute that speaks to these issues by presenting several facts and patterns regarding Kentucky’s K-12 system over the past two-and-a-half decades. 

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

Our Next Event

Tax Reform at One Year: Are We Wealthier and Healthier?
Tax Reform at One Year: Are We Wealthier and Healthier?

January 22, 2019
5:30pm to 6:30pm

307 Woodward; Gatton College