Project Archive

Visit the CBER Projects & Publications Library to browse our archive of work and a project search by keyword.

© Center for Business and Economic Research, Ball State University.

Recent Work

Indiana Economic Outlook: Forecast for 2019

To provide context for our annual economic forecast, we review last year's projections and offer analysis of recent tax cuts, import tariffs, and monetary climate. We then provide an updated economic forecast for 2019-2022 and analyze performance at the state and local levels. The 23rd annual Indiana Economic Outlook event was held on December 12, 2018, in downtown Muncie.

Qualitative Impacts of the Regional Cities Initiative

The intent of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative is to help communities across Indiana come together to transform their regions into nationally-recognized destinations to live, work and play. While many of the Regional Cities projects are just now getting underway, we ask, “What has been both the seen and unseen impact of the Regional Cities Initiative thus far?”

This report examines the qualitative impact of RCI based on 30+ interviews and on-site visits. Produced by Indiana Communities Institute, published October 1, 2018.

Assessment Quality: Sales Ratio Analysis Update for Residential Properties in Indiana

In this policy brief, we focus on the uniformity of property tax assessment in the state and whether trends indicate that assessment is becoming more uniform over time. Data presented here indicate that overall property tax assessment uniformity is improving—property assessed values are moving closer to sale prices.

Produced for the Indiana Association of REALTORS. Published July 9, 2018.

Selected Tariff Effects on Indiana

CBER director and economist Michael Hicks examines the tariffs proposed by the Trump Administration and estimates their effect on the Indiana economy, considering both the industry and workers. Published June 21, 2018.

2018 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card

The annual Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card evaluates the health of the manufacturing and logistics industries in each state and additional factors ranging from human capital to expected fiscal liability.

This annual piece is created for Conexus Indiana, a state initiative to improve manufacturing and logistics. Published June 7, 2018.

Population Decline in Muncie Is Accelerating

This study seeks to clarify data and growth projections concerning population in Muncie and Delaware County, Indiana using primary source data. Published Feb. 27, 2018.

The Myth and the Reality of Manufacturing in America

This study for Conexus Indiana examines the composition of the industry before and after the Great Recession. We debunk common misconceptions about manufacturing and estimate the industry's future health.

How Vulnerable Are American Communities to Automation, Trade, & Urbanization?

This study highlights divergence in regional economic performance and the impact on households and communities, which necessitates an urgent call to research and policy analysis. The executive summary provides an overview of key points, and the appendix shows larger regional maps of county-level data for all 50 states.

Assessing E-Readiness and the Human Development & Technology Index

This study, Assessing Indiana's E-Readiness in the Development of the Digital Society, seeks to bridge the gaps in research on the relationship between broadband accessibility and human development by assessing the e-readiness of Indiana counties.

In the companion piece, Human Development & Technology in US Counties, the authors expand the scope of their previous research using the Human Development & Technology Index (HDTI) to assess geographic trends in the access to and the quality of broadband technology across all US counties. This work includes considerations for policy makers.

What Comes First, People or Jobs? Evidence and Lessons from Indiana

In this study, we examine population and employment growth in Indiana’s 92 counties in the decades of the 1970s and the 2000s to determine whether job attraction or people attraction is a larger factor in county population growth. We control for educational attainment, initial population, urban/rural influence, natural amenities, income inequality and intergenerational mobility, the size of local government, and spatial spillover effects.

Disaster Impact Studies

This collection focuses on the economic impact of natural disasters, including flood and storm damage.


This collection encompasses a broad range of education topics, including K-12 school performance, cost-benefit of college, and educational attainment effects on standard of living and workforce issues.


These studies use data trends and modeling software to project future growth and volatility in a particular industry or for an entire economy.

Indiana Communities Institute

CBER partners with the Indiana Communities Institute on a multitude of projects that combine economic development wisdom with data-rich analysis. This collection also includes collaborations with the RUPRI Center for State Policy, the Center for Community Economic Development, and Building Better Communities.

Indiana Toll Road Corridor Project

This collection finalizes two years of research, resulting in an analytical economic development study. The study team from Ball State University evaluated the efficacy of multiple and varied strategies for potential implementation in the seven northernmost counties of Indiana, collectively referred to as the Indiana Toll Road Corridor.

Local Government Reform and Consolidation

Local government consolidation is a topic on the minds of many cities, townships, and counties as they look for cost-saving measures. We approach the subject as an unbiased researcher, evaluating the data and predicting the impacts of a possible consolidation of government services.

Mounds Lake Reservoir

In this collection of documents, professionals from many disciplines weigh in on the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir project in Madison and Delaware counties in East Central Indiana. Note: This peer review is simply the professional opinion of the authors and is not sponsored by any organization.

Primacy of Place

The Primacy of Place Initiative focuses on sustainable community development that focuses on improving the quality of life of residents. These features include high-quality schools, valued public services and amenities, and updated infrastructure.

Property Tax, Housing, and Real Estate

This collection focuses on public policy issues pertaining to real estate, including property tax caps, assessment accuracy, and impact on government revenue.

Tax Increment Financing

Tax increment financing (TIF) has been used to spur economic development and business attraction, but is the payoff worth the investment?