About the Institute for the Study of Political Economy

Mission and Vision

The Institute for the Study of Political Economy (ISPE) at Ball State University seeks to further our understanding of market, political, and social processes and institutions, using the political economy traditions associated with F. A. Hayek, James Buchanan, and Elinor Ostrom.

We are particularly interested in the interaction between market and political institutions, and in comparing how well alternative sets of institutions provide the knowledge and incentives required for social cooperation and prosperity for all.

ISPE seeks to achieve this through coordinating programs which engage Ball State University, the broader Muncie community, and public and scholarly communities across the nation and the world. These include:

  • Undergraduate Programs—ISPE sponsors the Economics Club and a reading group for students interested in exploring ideas of free market economics and political economy. Additional opportunities include participation in the Dr. Cecil Bohanon’s film and economics course and the Fed Challenge.
  • Undergraduate Menard Summer Research Fellowships—Menard Summer Research Fellowships allow undergraduate students to receive individual mentorship with faculty members as they work on rigorous, creative, and original research projects. Students have access to travel funds in order to present the resulting research at appropriate conferences.
  • Outreach—Institute faculty members write articles for popular audiences, give television, radio and podcast interviews on current public policy issues, and deliver public lectures at events across the country and the world.
  • Political Economy Speaker Series/Madam C.J. Walker Colloquium—The Institute hosts scholars from around the world, who deliver public lectures and research presentations. One of the goals of our speaker series and Colloquium is to broaden the intellectual conversation on the Ball State campus, providing opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to hear new and different ideas that might challenge them in important ways.
  • Affiliated Faculty—ISPE supports BSU faculty research by providing a collaborative environment, intellectual activities, and material resources necessary to create, publish, and disseminate high-quality work on the political economy to scholars and the general public.
  • Teaching—Institute faculty offer courses for undergraduate students through existing academic departments.
  • Research—Institute faculty pursue independent scholarly research and participate in Institute-sponsored research programs.

We aim to provide students with training in both mainstream economics and political economy so that they are able to do rigorous, creative, and original research in applied economics.

Ball State faculty can affiliate with ISPE by becoming involved in our programs and mentoring student research.