The COVID-19 pandemic is having profound consequences on the well-being of North Carolinians. Many of these consequences are difficult to anticipate and understand.

Our team of researchers here at CSFE has been busy at work. As we move forward with our new CSFE COVID-19 Research Project, we’ll be working on three main areas:

1. COVID-19 Impact Analyses
2. Evidence-Based Policy Analyses
3. Free Enterprise Rules for Bottom-Up Recovery

Currently, we’re working on a study to calculate the economic impact of WCU’s partial closure on the WNC region, led by CSFE Faculty Affiliate and WCU economics professor Steve Ha. Another study, by CSFE Associate Director and also WCU economics professor Sean Mulholland, finds that colleges are taking a bigger enrollment hit in the counties most affected by the pandemic.

We are also working with granular data to discover the incidence of the pandemic. Incidence is a term that economists use to talk about the distributional effects of a shock or a policy. We’re hoping to build models that show the social, economic, and geographic patterns of the disease, and of the policy responses to it. Our goal is to provide the public with an evidence-based perspective on policy.

We also want to emphasize the need to facilitate bottom-up forces of recovery, and we hope to show how free enterprise principles can be helpful guides to policy. Price and entry regulations, for example, when they primarily serve private interests while erecting roadblocks to ordinary people’s economic opportunity, will hold back bottom-up recovery.

Over the coming weeks, we will be releasing research findings and policy analyses on this blog, in our social media channels, and through publications in scholarly and popular outlets. Please check back regularly. And join our list to receive email updates.