We provide one-year, renewable research grants to MSU faculty to conduct research projects related to our mission, produce publicly accessible white papers, policy issues papers, and other communications that inform lawmakers, policy advisors, and the general public on critical policy and regulatory issues, and participate in workshops and conferences organized by the group. 

 2017-2018 grant cycle closed. 

 2016-2017 Grantees



Joe Atwood

Professor, Agricultural Economics and Economics

Freedom, Government, and Prosperity

The purpose of this study is to quantify the influence of government institutions on general well-being, as reflected in a country’s gross domestic product, and their influence on financial markets, as reflected by their effects on interest rates.  GDP data, interest rate data, and measures of economic freedom will be used along with other data in a cross sectional time series analysis to quantify the effects of increasing institutional performance on general well-being and financial markets.

Project Abstract


Gary Brester

Professor, Agricultural Economics and Economics
The Effects of Regulations on the Commercial Fertilizer Industry

This project will examine the regulatory environment of the natural gas and fertilizer industries and empirically investigate the extent to which the regulatory structure has affected the efficiency of information transmission in fertilizer markets.  In addition, the program will investigate the degree to which uncertainty has influenced our ability to predict fertilizer prices.  The project will also evaluate the extent to which agricultural production costs are affected by natural gas and fertilizer industry regulations.

Project Abstract

Gary Caton

Gary Caton and Frank Kerins

Associate Professors, Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship
The Differential Impact of Dodd-Frank on Small-and Medium-Size Banks

This study will empirically test whether the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has had differential impact on the performance of banks across asset size.  Using a quasi-experimental design framework, the performance effects of Dodd-Frank regulations will be analyzed.  The performance measures used will include return on assets, return on equity, net interest margin, non-interest expense to assets and others.  The overall aim of this study is to provide a more rigorous empirical examination the differential impacts of Dodd Frank regulations on small versus large banks.

Project Abstract


William Kleindl

Assistant Research Professor, Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
Foundations of a Wetland Benefits Assessment (WBA) Tool

This project will provide the foundations for constructing rapid wetland service assessment tools that will improve regulatory decision making by incorporating economic and other criteria.  The framework will blend local wetland ecological data with principles of environmental economics to create proposed wetland ecosystem service metrics to include qualities that promote human well-being.

Project Abstract


Agnieszka Kwapisz

Assistant Professor, Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship
The Effect of Labor Market Regulatory Policy on Nascent Entrepreneurship 

The link between growth of nascent entrepreneurial firms and state minimum wage policies, subminimum wage provisions, and exemptions for small businesses will be empirically assessed.  The project will evaluate minimum wage policies, subminimum wage provisions, and exemptions enacted by state legislatures for small business, and their effect on the growth and success of nascent entrepreneurial ventures.  The analysis will specifically examine the effect of minimum wage on the probability of hiring employees, the timing of hiring, as well as the ultimate outcome for new firms.

Project Abstract


Kristin Ruppel

Associate Professor, Native American Studies
Land Tenure, Human Development and Economic Well-being on the Blackfeet Reservation

Using the Blackfeet Reservation as a pilot project site, this research project addresses the economics of land tenure within the exterior boundaries of allotted Indian reservations of the intermountain west.  Publicly available information will be used to measure human development and economic well-being at the Blackfeet Reservation as it is tied to different land tenure types. This research will
use databases to map indicators of human development and economic well-being in terms of different types of land tenure on the Blackfeet Reservation and produce a GIS map to see if there are discernible patterns of indicators tied to land tenure types.

Project Abstract

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Paul Sturman, Frank Kerins, and Omar Shehryar

Center for Biofilm Engineering

Associate Professors, Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship

The Impact of Biofilm Regulatory Policy on the Development of Healthcare-Related Products

This study examines the impact of regulatory policies in the production of anti-biofilm products for use by health care providers.  The approach is to investigate decision making by both health care companies developing anti-biofilm products and the agencies regulating them.  The overall goal is to understand and report how regulatory policy at the national level influences decision making at healthcare-related businesses, specifically with regard to the development of products designed to prevent or mitigate health care-associated infections associated with biofilms.

Project Abstract


Lisa Yang and Gary Caton

Assistant Professor, Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship

Associate Professor, Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship

The unintentional consequences of regulatory regime changes: Insider trading activities surrounding bond rating changes

An empirical analysis will be carried out of insider trading activities across three regulatory regimes: Pre-Regulation Fair Disclosure, post-Regulation Fair Disclosure and pre-Dodd-Frank, and post-Dodd-Frank. Specifically, this study will examine whether corporate insiders increased insider trading activity in the period between ratifications of Regulations Fair Disclosure and implementation of Dodd-Frank.  First, the 10-year inter-regulatory period relative to the pre-Regulation Fair Disclosure and post-Dodd-Frank legislation will be tested to determine if insider trading activity was elevated.  Then, using regression analysis, firm level variables will be controlled in order to help explain insider trading activity, as well as firm and time fixed-effects.

Project Abstract

Those eligible for grants include MSU faculty engaged in research and economic analysis of regulatory issues as applied to agriculture, healthcare, technology, finance, natural resources, education, public safety, and other related sectors.  Interdisciplinary research proposals and proposals directed by multiple project leaders are welcome. Proposals are reviewed by the Research Grants Selection Committee (comprised of the co-directors, the Research Fellows, and members of the internal advisory committee). Requests for proposals are typically announced in early spring and the grant period runs August-August of each year.