Message from Directors

Vince and WendyThank you for your interest in the Initiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis at Montana State University.The Initiative provides an array of research opportunities and support to undergraduate and graduate students, MSU faculty, and visiting scholars. We strive to provide research-based information to citizens, policymakers, and other researchers about the scope and impact of regulation and policy in myriad areas that impact society. Primary research pillars of the Initiative include agriculture, health care, technology, finance, natural resources, education, and public safety, although other sectors important to society are also of focus.


 — Wendy Stock and Vincent Smith, Co-Directors


The MSU IRAEA was established in 2016 to study the impact of economic regulation and policy. The Initiative provides resources and research support to faculty and students from across MSU as well as visiting scholars from other academic institutions to conduct research in the broadly defined areas of regulation and policy analysis. Our hope is that this research can help a wide array of community groups, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and others to address challenges associated with promoting economic growth and prosperity and developing effective and efficient regulation and policies.  


The mission of the MSU Initiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis is to engage undergraduate and graduate students with faculty in academic research that will further the understanding of economic regulation and policy’s impact on societal well-being.


The Initiative sponsors five research programs and three outreach programs.

IRAEA research programs include competively awarded research grants, fellowships, and scholarships that have supported research conducted by more than 40 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 20 faculty from an array of disciplines and colleges at MSU. IRAEA also supports visiting scholar programs that bring nationally and internationally recognized scholars to MSU to engage in collaborative research with faculty and students.

IRAEA outreach programs, which include public lectures, conferences, and workshops, have allowed the Initiative to share state-of-the-art research with local community members and policymakers as well as national stakeholders.

Learn more about each programs' criteria, expectations, and requests for proposals.

Structure and Funding

The MSU IRAEA was established in 2016 by Co-Directors Vincent Smith and Wendy Stock through a $5.76 million seed grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to study the impact of economic regulation and policy.

The group is housed in the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics. We support a wide array of programs including providing funding and support for Research Fellowships, Research Grants, Visiting Scholars, Graduate Research Assistantships, and Undergraduate Research Scholarships. The group hosts an Annual Public Conference as well as a Distinguished Lecturer on important regulatory and policy issues, supports workshops on regulatory issues, publishes white papers to inform lawmakers, policy advisers, and the general public on critical policy and regulatory issues, and supports research seminars to enable researchers to convey their findings to others.

Key components of the organizational infrastructure for the Initiative were developed early during the inaugural year, including the appointment of administrative staff and the establishment of the Internal Advisory Board. In addition to the directors, other staff include a business manager, a communications associate, and a research associate. The IRAEA Internal Advisory Board consists of faculty and deans—deans of the College of Agriculture, the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering, and the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship—and the department heads of the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

The Board reviews and provides feedback on the Initiative’s primary activities, provides information about local, state, regional, and national issues that may be appropriate for research activities within the Initiative’s mission, shares information about the Initiative with other MSU faculty and administrators and, along with the co-directors, serves as the IRAEA Research Fellows Selection Committee.

The IRAEA External Advisory Board consists of research scholars external to MSU and independent of the Koch Foundation who are leading academics in areas such as agriculture and natural resources, healthcare, financial economics, education economics, the economics of the criminal justice system and other policy areas.

The groups are strongly committed to academic freedom and the free and open exchange of knowledge and ideas. Researchers supported by the initiative are expected to submit their research to high quality peer-reviewed academic journals, and to make their data, methods, and conclusions publicly available.