About Us

The John H. Schnatter Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise is dedicated to understanding the role that markets play in the economy and in society. The Institute’s mission is to generate intellectually rigorous research and an open dialogue to discover and understand how free enterprise affects peoples’ lives and the well-being of society.

Current Research

The Buffering Effect of Brands for Companies Facing Legislative Homogenization

Felipe Thomaz, Leonce Bargeron, John Hulland, Chad Zutter

How do corporations—who balance making sales today and planning for the future—respond to regulatory change? Thomaz, Bargeron, Hulland, and Zutter’s study provides evidence that legislative changes, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, can significantly affect a corporation’s priorities. The passage of Sarbanes-Oxley incentivized U.S. corporations to focus more on reaping the immediate gains from marketing rather than investment in research and development.

Hedge Fund Boards and the Market for Independent Directors

Christopher P. Clifford, Jesse A. Ellis, William C. Gerken

Why do hedge fund investors feel confident that their money is in good hands despite lax government regulation? Reputation. Clifford, Ellis, and Gerken’s research find strong, market-based incentives for fund managers to hire reputable directors to monitor their funds. And while managers are looking for reputable directors, directors are looking for high quality funds to work for—creating mutual interests for close monitoring and honest dealing.

How Did the ACA Affect Health Insurance Coverage in Kentucky?

Aaron Yelowitz

Dr. Yelowitz’s research explores the unintended consequences and individual incentives that arise when the government sets up health insurance markets outside of the free enterprise system. Following the Affordable Care Act expansion, the integrity of the Kentucky Medicaid program may be at risk. This first look finds that 38 percent of Kentucky’s new Medicaid enrollees were not eligible for the program in 2014, according to data from the American Community Survey.

In the News

On July 5th, 2017, Gatton College Dean Blackwell announced the appointment of Dr. Aaron Yelowitz to be director of the Schnatter Institute.

This op-ed by Schnatter Institute Associate Director Dr. Aaron Yelowitz was published by the Lexington Herald-Leader on May 3, 2017.

Schnatter Institute Associate Director Dr. Aaron Yelowitz’s research on the Affordable Care Act and birth rates was cited by the Boston Globe on June 30, 2017.

Schnatter Institute Associate Director Dr. Aaron Yelowitz’s research on part-time fast-food employees was cited in the Wall Street Journal on May 19, 2017.