FARGO, N.D. — The Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise launched a little more than one year ago in the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics (AAE) at North Dakota State University.
The Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise (PCPE) engages in research and educational programs to uncover the institutions and policies that encourage and enhance human well-being.
PCPE accomplishes its mission by producing research and programming on issues relevant to North Dakota and the upper Great Plains region, and advancing knowledge of the sources and causes of human well-being and the distinctive roles of entrepreneurship, free markets, philanthropy, private enterprise and public policy in achieving it.
PCPE has two full-time staff members: Raheem Williams serves as a research specialist, and Kali Christianson conducts communications and outreach.
In addition, the center has hired two faculty fellows at the rank of assistant professor in AAE and expects to hire a third in the coming year. James Caton started in August 2017, and Ray March will start in August 2018.
I serve as the center’s founding director and an associate professor in AAE.
During the past year, PCPE initiated several programs, events and research projects. Our flagship program, the Capitalism and Society lecture series, invites dialogue among researchers, students and community members.
Last fall, PCPE hosted lectures by Art Carden, associate professor of economics at Samford University’s Brock School of Business, and Peter Klein, a professor in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business. In the spring, lectures were presented by Stephen Moore, an economic adviser to President Donald Trump, and Michael Matheson Miller, the director and producer of “Poverty, Inc.” PCPE also hosted a showing of “Poverty, Inc.” at the Fargo Theatre.
These events are free and open to the public, and lecture videos are posted on our website ().
As one of our student-focused initiatives, we created the Mancur Olson Scholars program, which awards scholarships to students who participate in a semester-long reading and discussion group. The fall reading group focused on themes of entrepreneurship, while spring participants focused on foreign aid. The group has received positive feedback from students and is set to continue in the fall.
One participant shared, “It’s a great way to become a more well-rounded individual, network with some people and learn a lot of new things.”
PCPE also offers a travel scholarship for students interested in attending conferences and seminars. This scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students of all majors.
Besides these educational programs, PCPE has been busy producing research. We introduced a quarterly labor report () that highlights regional trends in the labor force, including employment, wages and other job-related topics. We also released our first policy paper, titled “Legal Plunder: Civil Asset Forfeiture in North Dakota” ( ).
The center’s advisory board provides counsel to the director on strategic planning, fundraising and other issues. The PCPE Advisory Board has six members: Ron Bergan, Connie Nicholas, Ron Offutt, Steve Scheel, Steve Stenehjem and Tom Wold.
PCPE faculty and staff are available for limited speaking engagements throughout the state and region. If you are interested in having a center representative speak to your group or organization, you can contact the center at.
Be sure to visit the PCPE website () and follow us on social media (@NDSUpcpe) to keep up with the latest news, research, events and activities.
— Jeremy Jackson, Associate Professor, NDSU Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department
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