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.

We are excited to announce the launch of a Health Economics Program within the Institute in July 2024. This program, started with funding from the Kentucky Hospital Association and Global Action to End Smoking, will conduct research on the role of hospitals in the free enterprise system and unique financial challenges facing them, as well as how public policy interventions influence the market for tobacco products.

The Institute is currently seeking additional funding to continue our business simulation contest called the "CEO Challenge", as well as our Junto Reading Group. To inquire about potentially supporting the Institute's mission, please email

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Annual Report

Current Research

The Effect of E-Cigarette Flavor Restrictions on Tobacco Use

Chad Cotti, Charles Courtemanche, Yang Liang, Catherine Maclean, Erik Nesson, Joseph J. Sabia

Do E-Cigarette Retail Licensure Laws Reduce Tobacco Use?

Charles Courtemanche, Yang Liang, Johanna Catherine Maclean, Caterina Muratori, Joseph J. Sabia

Revisiting the Connection Between State Medicaid Expansions and Adult Mortality

Charles Courtemanche, Jordan Jones, Antonios M. Koumpias, Daniela Zapata

Click here for the summary

In the News

Op-Ed by Charles Courtemanche, Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise, Gatton College of Business of Economics, University of Kentucky

New study by our director Charles Courtemanche and co-authors Jordan Jones, Antonios M. Koumpias, and Daniela Zapata that examines the connection between state Medicaid expansions and adult mortality was featured on Marginal Revolution

Congratulations to VACE's Fall 2022 Monday Night Session Entrepreneurs Bootcamp 1.0 winners! ISFE was proud to provide the prize money for this great competition!

1st Place: Erin Webb/Advosense

2nd Place: Vaugh Holder/Tranquil

3rd Place: Bertin Louis & Tina Ho/Navigating Higher Education

4th Place: Mark Litvin/Revelation Woodworking

5th Place: Demethra Sanders/Be Fly Fitness

Congrats to our director Charles Courtemanche and co-authors Rahi Abouk, Dhaval Dave, Bo Feng, Abigail Friedman, Catherine Maclean, Michael Pesko, Joseph Sabia, and Samuel Safford on their paper “Intended and Unintended Effects of E-cigarette Taxes on Youth Tobacco Use” being accepted for publication in the Journal of Health Economics!

This paper was previously released as ISFE Working Paper No. 41

Aaron Yelowitz, ISFE Affiliate, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship in a hearing entitled "Small Business Franchising: An Overview of the Industry, SBA's Role, and Legislative Proposals."

Most Recent Video

Coronavirus Economics #7: New study shows government restrictions are stopping COVID-19.

Dr. Charles Courtemanche explains his latest study published in the Health Affairs journal about the effect of stay-at-home orders, business closures and other government measures in the spread of COVID-19.