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

Manufacturing Scorecard 2020

The Manufacturing Scorecard shows how each state ranks among its peers in several categories that are of particular interest to site selection experts for the manufacturing and logistics industries. Visit the Manufacturing Scorecard website to view the 2020 national report, an Indiana report, and profiles for all 50 states. Published August 13, 2020. 

How Many School-Age Children Lack Internet Access in Indiana?

This study explores regional variation in internet access among Indiana households with school-age children. The lack of access likely resulted in significant differences in the quality and quantity of school instruction received by Hoosier students during the Spring 2020 school closings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, this lack of internet access will make virtual learning difficult for some children if schools opt to have online education for the upcoming school year. Published July 9, 2020.

  • Study
  • Authors: Srikant Devaraj, Dagney Faulk, Michael J. Hicks, and Yuye Zhang
  • Browse studies tagged #Education

Economic Effects of the Changing Energy Mix in Indiana

In this report, we examine the cost of different energy sources, evaluating the likely path of expenditures in Indiana across different sources of energy production. We then evaluate the local impact of these choices, focusing on impacts of renewable energy sources on the state. Published July 7, 2020; updated August 4, 2020.

  • Report 
  • Author: Michael J. Hicks
  • Browse studies tagged #Energy

COVID-19 Effects on Indiana’s State and Local Taxes

The goal of this study is to help state and local policymakers better understand the fiscal impacts of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and aid with budget planning considerations. We also hope that our work will help federal policymakers understand the risks of diminished public services to state and local economies. Published June 10, 2020; updated June 12, 2020.

  • Study
  • Authors: Dagney Faulk, Michael J. Hicks, and Srikant Devaraj
  • Browse studies tagged #Disaster-Impact

Indiana's Government Modernization Act & Local Government Consolidation Experiences: Process and Politics

This policy brief reviews the literature on local government consolidation, provides an overview of Indiana local government structure and the 2006 Government Modernization Act, and discusses seven consolidation attempts that have occurred between 2008 and 2012 under the GMA. A key feature of this analysis is a heightened focus on consolidation planning.

Produced in partnership with the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University. Published June 5, 2020.

Preliminary Fiscal Effects of COVID-19 on Indiana’s Local Tax Revenues

In this impact brief, we simulate the effects of COVID-19 and responses to the disease on local government tax revenues in the short run. Published Apr. 9, 2020.

What Will the Next Three Months Look Like? Simulating the Impact of Social Distancing on GDP and Employment

In this brief analysis, we provide a potential scope of the impact on employment in Indiana in the wake of COVID-19, providing simulations of the likely effect of extreme social distancing on the state’s economy in 2020. Published Mar. 19, 2020.

Occupational Exposure to Social Distancing: A Preliminary Analysis Using O*NET Data

The growing risk of contracting COVID-19 has prompted calls in many nations to engage in Social Distancing. This is a deliberate effort to reduce the transmission of the disease in businesses, schools, and gathering places. Published Mar. 13, 2020.

Do Indiana Residents Spend Too Much on Healthcare?

This study examines per capita healthcare expenditures, hospital prices, and market concentration (monopolization) in Indiana, through the context of healthcare outcomes and behaviors. We construct a healthcare expenditure model of all 50 states and compare the per person expenditures in other states to Hoosier residents in 20 categories of potential causal factors. Published Dec. 17, 2019.


Browse our complete library of research and data projects:


Indiana Has a Monopoly Problem in Healthcare: Preliminary Evidence and Recommendations

This policy brief provides preliminary analysis as to the degree of competition in Indiana's healthcare markets. We conclude that evidence strongly suggests healthcare markets in Indiana experience significant monopoly power, which has increased prices, allowed not-for-profit providers to accrue stunningly large profits, increased the burden on Hoosier families, and likely reduced healthcare outcomes across the state. Published Sept. 25, 2019.

Fiscal, Economic, and Social Effects of Immigration in the Hoosier State

This study details the current realities and implications of immigration in Indiana as a whole, including effects on demographics, education, wealth and poverty, employment, and the labor market. Study sponsored by Conexus Indiana. Published May 13, 2019.

To supplement this study, we have created fact sheets for each Economic Growth/Workforce Development region, which give a snapshot of how the foreign-born population is changing at these various geographies, as well as the benefits and challenges they represent.

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?