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 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.

Educational Test Scores, Education Spending, and Productivity in Public Education: National Trends and Evidence Across States and Over Time, 1990 – 2015

John Garen

This study finds a decades-long, substantial rise in national educational funding but only very modest increases in test scores. These imply that productivity, as measured by test score points per dollar of funding, has steadily decreased.

Can Credit Rating Agencies Affect Election Outcomes?

Igor Cunha, Miguel A. Fereira and Rui C. Silva

We show that credit rating agencies can have a significant effect on election outcomes. We identify these effects by exploiting exogenous variation in municipal bond ratings due to Moody’s recalibration of its scale in 2010.

Nominal GDP versus Price Level Targeting: An Empirical Evaluation

James Fackler

In response to the ongoing discussion in the literature of the appropriate framework for monetary policy, we compare two of the most frequently discussed alternatives to inflation targeting—targeting either the level of nominal GDP or the price level—within the context of a simple vector autoregr

Can Mergers and Acquisitions Internalize Positive Externalities in Funding Innovation?

Mark Liu

Technological innovation is a key driver of economic growth.

In the News

Dr. Fackler's letter to the Wall Street Journal on SAT Equality:

Drs. Facker and McMillin present evidence that a path target for NGDP may be preferable to a path target for the price level. In addition, they also find that the NGDP path target would have been superior to a continuation of the implicit FIT policy pursued by the Fed before and after the Great Recession.

May 9: Professors Yelowitz and Troske's work on IRAs was cited in Reading Eagle. Read the letter to the editor by Professor Yelowitz here

Curious about the impact on menu labeling laws?  Check out what Dr. Yelowitz says about this law in the CQ Researcher. 



The Council of Economic Advisers recently released a study on deregulating health insurance markets which cites a 2017 study on the Affordable Care Act by Charles Courtemanche and Aaron Yelowitz in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management