Areas of Focus
The Bagwell Center supports both basic and applied academic research conducted by faculty. Our mission is to provide a platform for an interdisciplinary study of the importance of markets and economic institutions in regards to resource allocation, entrepreneurial activity, economic prosperity, and improved human welfare. Our primary objective is to increase the understanding of and to raise awareness of the critical relations between free-market institutions, individual choice, and realized economic outcomes (for both individuals and society as a whole). We are able to accomplish these goals in part by funding faculty research in the following five broad areas:
- Government Regulation of and Intervention in Markets
- Tax Policy
- Economic Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity
- Applied Microeconomic Theory
- Conflict Economics
Government Regulation of and intervention in Markets
Government Regulation of and Intervention in Markets – At a minimum, government specifies and enforces the rules of interaction between market participants. In many cases, government plays a much more active role by regulating, subsidizing, or directly providing goods. Prime examples include education and healthcare. Within the state of Georgia, government subsidies for film and television production have become increasingly common in recent years. A critical examination of the effectiveness and unintended consequences of such policies is needed.
Tax Policy – It is necessary for government to raise revenue in order to function. However, the imposition of taxes alters individual economic behavior and, consequently, realized outcomes for society. Tax policy has a direct impact on issues of both equity and efficiency. Investigating how taxes effect individual consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs, as well as macroeconomic outcomes, is vital.
Economic Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity
Economic Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity – Over the past two centuries, global standards of living having improved exponentially. For example, real per capita GDP in the United States is currently more than 25 times larger than it was 200 years ago. More recently, the increased reliance on market institutions in third-world countries has led to a dramatic reduction in the absolute number of people living in extreme poverty globally. Understanding precisely how institutions affect incentives for entrepreneurship and ultimately lead to economic opportunity and social mobility – both within the United States and internationally on a global scale – is critical for continuing these positive trends.
Applied Microeconomic Theory
Applied Microeconomic Theory – Microeconomic theory provides the foundation for understanding how individual decision makers interact with one another in regards to the allocation and use of productive resources. Institutional frameworks and market structure are primary factors in determining which goods will be traded and how prices are set. Applied research that elucidates these relations is essential for understanding how markets impact people, both as individuals and groups.
Conflict Economics – The individual incentives to engage in economic activity can only be present in a free and secure society. Thus, promoting a world without conflict is essential for increased economic well-being and prosperity. Understanding the root causes of and promoting policies to reduce occurrences of crime, war, and terrorism is essential for fostering an environment in which individuals can flourish and realize their full potential.