About Us

The Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise (ISFE) is pleased to announce our 2021 Summer Faculty Research Grant Program is now accepting applications. Please apply via the portal by Friday, June 4, 2021.


The Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise is a research and teaching center in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky.

Our 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.

Free enterprise—as characterized by private ownership, economic freedom, choice, and competition—is one of the most important sources of human prosperity. Additionally, government institutions—for example legal systems, property rights, and civil rights—complement markets in enhancing people’s well-being.

The backbone of the Institute, our academic research, encompasses the study of markets, market economies, and government intervention, to understand how greater human well-being is achieved with free enterprise and appropriate government institutions. We also engage in open, civil discussions with the university community and the public on the impact of markets and entrepreneurship.

The Institute supports its mission with faculty research funding, open discussions with undergraduate and graduate students, and public events.


  • To gain a deep, accurate, and objective understanding of free enterprise and the role of governmental, legal, and political institutions that promote the well-being of society;
  • To be intellectually rigorous, using logic and evidence, to foster our understanding and appreciation for free enterprise and complementary institutions; and
  • To engage the academic and university communities, as well as the public, in an open discussion on free enterprise.