Montana State University

MSU to expand research on regulatory and applied economic analysis through grant from Koch Foundation

August 17, 2016 -- MSU News Service

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Two of Montana State University’s leading faculty in economics will be expanding their research on the impact regulation and policy have on societal well-being,  particularly in the areas of regulatory economics as applied to agriculture, healthcare, technology, finance, natural resources, education and other sectors thanks to a $5.76 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation.

Professors Wendy Stock and Vince Smith in MSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics are nationally recognized for their work in the area of regulation and policy and will be expanding their research over the next five years of the grant. 

"Regulations can serve the public interest by protecting citizens, the environment, businesses and financial markets.  However, at times, advances in areas such as biotechnology, engineering, computer science, natural resource management and other fields outpace the relevance of existing regulatory structures," said Smith, principal investigator on the grant.

"Our hope is that this research will address these challenges, serving the needs of local communities, the state of Montana and the nation," Smith said.

"Our published, peer-reviewed research, white papers and policy issue papers will provide a valuable resource for entrepreneurs, decision makers, and community groups, as well as lawmakers tasked with promoting economic growth and prosperity and developing effective and efficient regulation and policy," said Stock.

The funds will support two new tenure-track faculty positions, research fellowships, research grants, and graduate and undergraduate research assistant training opportunities. Researchers will also organize and present seminars and workshops on a wide array of regulatory issues and organize at least one major annual conference that will be open to the public on key regulatory issues, Stock said.

MSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics is a joint department of the College of Agriculture and College of Letters and Science, however the grant also includes funding to facilitate applied research by faculty outside the department.

"MSU is pleased to engage in research that will address how to continue to effectively advance innovation, foster entrepreneurship, provide appropriate protections and measure the impacts of regulation on the economy," said Charles Boyer, vice president of agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture.

"Securing this research funding is a major success for the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics," said Nicol Rae, dean of the College of Letters and Science.

MSU plans to seek Montana Board of Regents approval to use the name “MSU Center for Regulatory and Applied Economic Analysis” under which to organize the research of faculty involved with the center.

To date, more than 300 universities – including the University of Washington and Cornell, Harvard and Yale universities – have received grants from the Charles Koch Foundation.

Founded in 1980 and located in Arlington, Virginia, the Charles Koch Foundation supports universities and other non-profit organizations to "explore the institutions that foster societal well-being," according to its website.

Contact: Vincent Smith (406) 994-5615 or; Wendy Stock, (406) 994-7894 or