Research Briefs & Insights

Fargo Police Department's Perception of Body Worn Cameras
Carol Archbold, Ph.D. (May 2024)

In October 2020, newly appointed Chief David Zibolski of the Fargo Police Department (FPD) announced that he was planning to implement body worn cameras (BWCs) (Thompson,2020). To capture FPD personnel perceptions of BWCs prior to them using the technology, surveys were administered during roll calls throughout January 2021. Surveys were completed by 96 percent of patrol level officers. 

This research insight examines changes in officer perceptions by comparing surveys administered prior to the use of body worn cameras with those that were administered one year later.  

Solutions for the Teacher Shortage in North Dakota
Ricky Feir and Ethan Liu (February 2024)

The beginning of this school year has brought into sharp relief a persistent challenge facing the United States: a significant teacher shortage, most critically felt in fields such as special education, career and technical education (CTE), science, and mathematics. In North Dakota, this issue is particularly pronounced, with shortages spanning a wide range of subject areas, leading to an unprecedented declaration of all content areas as critical shortage zones for the 2023-2024 school year. Faced with this crisis, state education bodies, including North Dakota, have initiated various measures to attract and retain teaching talent. These measures include innovative solutions like fast-tracking licensing processes, improving financial incentives such as pay raises and student loan repayment assistance, and even international recruitment efforts.

This policy brief aims to shed light on the teacher shortage in North Dakota, exploring the potential of a variety of solutions. 

Rural Health Care Access in North Dakota: Unlocking the Potential of Health Care Providers
Alicia Plemmons, Shishir Shakya, and Edward Timmons (December 2023)

Like the rest of the US, North Dakota is struggling to meet the growing demand for health care with a sufficient supply of healthcare providers, which impacts the availability, cost, and quality of healthcare for North Dakota residents. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, 46 of the 53 counties in North Dakota are designated as primary care health professional shortage areas. In most of the counties (40 to be precise) the entire county is designated as a shortage area. There are also 46 counties in the state that are designated as mental health professional shortage areas and twenty counties designated as dental health professional shortage areas. These challenges are particularly acute in rural areas, but North Dakota can mobilize and empower existing workforces to address these problems within community health. 

This paper highlights the ways North Dakota gets practice authority right and provides insight into the opportunities that can improve health care access in our state. 

Enhancing the Business Climate and Incentivizing Business Development on North Dakota Indian Reservations
Thomas Stratmann (December 2023)

American Indian economies have not always been in economic stagnation. Before American Indian contact with European settlers and before federal regulations over the past 150 years, indigenous economies thrived. 

This paper examines the business climate of the five North Dakota Reservations and offers a glimpse into how laws, regulations, and tribal, federal, and state institutions impact the economic well-being of tribal members on these reservations.

Banking Consolidation and Its Impact on Entrepreneurship: A Call to Support Small Businesses
Brett Bantle, Parker Jabas, and Oudom Hean (December 2023)

Entrepreneurs and small businesses are pivotal to our economy and enhance our daily lives. Whether it's your favorite local restaurant or the trusted neighborhood auto repair shop, entrepreneurs enrich our communities and daily experiences. Yet, as the banking industry consolidates, entrepreneurs face mounting challenges. With banks merging into larger institutions, the options for loans and financial services are diminishing. This consolidation and dearth of new banks is transforming the financial landscape and raises questions about its impact on entrepreneurship. Will entrepreneurs and small businesses be able to access the capital required to start or grow their ventures given these trends in banking consolidation?

This research brief examines the current trends in bank consolidation and its impact on entrepreneurs and small businesses, specifically those in the midwest region. 

A Closer Look at the HHI Graphs

The Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Louisiana's Institutions
Raymond J. March and Veeshan Rayamajhee (October 2023)

In a highly cited article published in the Journal of Economic Literature, Economist Mancur Olson argues that some nations are rich and others are poor because of their institutional heritage and structure (Olson, 1996). While many point to demography, geography, and resource endowment to explain prosperity, Olson argues these factors are secondary. Instead, institutions – the rules of the games that shape incentives – are what matter most. They interact with factors such as geography and demography to determine whether a society will flourish, stagnate, or deteriorate. 

This research brief examines the impact that natural disasters have on institutions by exploring Louisiana's formal and informal institutions before and after Hurricane Katrina. 

View the Journal Article

Economic Consequences of Capping Premiums in Crop Insurance
David Bullock and Sandro Steinbach (June 2023)

The study analyzes the economic consequences of capping farmer premiums for crop insurance offered by the USDA Risk Management Agency (USDA-RMA). A cap on the premium-to-liability ratio of 4.0% would lower the premiums for farmers, with the most benefit flowing to those who use high coverage levels and produce cotton, corn, wheat, and soybeans in Texas, the Dakotas, and Kansas. Capping farmer premiums would not only provide relief to farmers by lowering their insurance premiums but also contribute to enhanced farm revenue. This policy change would promote a stable food supply and potentially lower consumer prices.

Pharmaceutical Price Controls Destroy Innovation and Harm Patients
Raymond March (December 2022)

Higher prices for vital goods like prescription drugs have falsely led many to call on price controls to make them cheaper. While well intended, price controls only attempt to limit price increases. Their actual effect is to limit innovation and access. Thousands of examples and a large body of research consistently find price controls fail to deliver while causing considerable harm. Implementing them in North Dakota would be a disastrous misdiagnosis. 

Investing in North Dakota’s Future Economy Through State Funded College Scholarships: A Return-on-Investment Analysis
By Xudong Rao, Dean Bangsund, William Nganje, John Bitzan (November 2022)

North Dakota was experiencing persistent labor shortages prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the situation has worsened since the onset of the pandemic amidst a tightening national labor market. The state has launched recruiting efforts nationwide to attract out-of-state workers to fill job openings within the state, yet the effectiveness of these efforts and the contributions of these workers to the state’s long-run economic growth remain largely uncertain.

In addition to recruiting workers from elsewhere, the state has invested in human capital acquisition through its universities and colleges. During the 63rd legislative assembly, the state launched the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Grant Program. The program operates as a matching fund, where one dollar is provided as a match “for every two dollars of nonstate, non-federal dollars raised by the institutional foundations of North Dakota public colleges and universities for funds dedicated to the advancement of academics” (NDUS). Since its inception, 62 percent of funds have been allocated to scholarships. This report provides an estimate of the return on investment the state can expect to realize from this program using Modified Internal Rate of Return (MIRR), a well-documented methodology utilized in previous academic studies.

Patriotic Progress: National Pride and Optimism about the Future
By Clay Routledge (March 2022)

Optimism plays a central role in human progress. Therefore, it is concerning that many Americans are pessimistic about the future of the United States and its role in the world. For example, according to a Pew Research Center survey, 65% percent of Americans believe the United States is only going to become more politically divided in the coming decades, 60% believe the United States will become less important to the world, 73% believe the gap between rich and poor will grow, and only 20% predict the average family’s standard of living will improve. How can we promote an optimistic and ultimately progress-oriented mindset among Americans? The current analysis explores national pride as a potential variable to target in efforts to inspire American optimism. Are proud Americans more optimistic about the future of their nation, the world, and human progress than Americans who are not proud of their national identity?

Cybersecurity Incidents Can Be Unwelcome Wakeup Calls for Unprepared Agencies
By Jeremy Straub (March 2022)

Several large-scale cyber breaches have shown how vulnerable our government agencies are from a growing digital threat. WikiLeaks’ 2013 release of government materials provided by Edward Snowden exposed classified NSA files to the public. That same year, the Office of Personnel Management breach placed key information about most of the United States’ security clearance holders into the hands of potential adversaries. In both cases, the agencies contributed to the breach through poor cybersecurity. To avoid future catastrophic incidents, agencies should eliminate unneeded data collection and storage, exercise increased diligence with records, and build trust through public relations activities that explain their operational and security practices.

Thinking About the Future: Are College Seniors Optimistic About the Future?
By Clay Routledge (February 2022)

At Psychology of Progress, we asked college seniors about their views on the future. In collaboration with College Pulse, we conducted a nationally representative survey with a sample of 500 college seniors. We focused on college seniors because they are about to complete a major educational goal and most of them will shortly be joining the professional workforce, pursuing advanced professional training, or launching their own businesses. These individuals play an important role in building the future of our society and advancing the cause of human progress.

Is there a relationship between knowledge of human progress and student optimism?
By John Bitzan and Clay Routledge (November 2021)

The Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth, in collaboration with College Pulse, recently conducted the 2021 American College Student Freedom, Progress, and Flourishing Survey. This research brief explores the relationship between students’ knowledge of human progress and the role it may play in influencing their optimism about the future of the world, the U.S., their own future, and their abiility to make a difference in the world. 

Existential Agency in America
By Clay Routledge (October 2021)

Existential psychology plays a central role in human progress and flourishing, in part, because meaning in life is a self-regulatory and motivational resource that helps people live healthy, productive, prosocial, and goal-oriented lives. More specifically, to explore, create, innovate, persevere in the face of adversity, have an optimistic attitude about the future, and come together in the service of solving the big challenges of today and building a better tomorrow, people need to view themselves as existential agents who believe they have the power to live a meaningful life. The greater people’s existential agency, the more they will be driven to improve their own lives and the lives of others. This report offers a snapshot of existential agency in America. 

An Analysis of a New American Entrepreneur Accelerator Program: Lessons for Fargo-Moorhead and Other Communities
By Joshua E. Marineau (April 2021)

The New American Entrepreneur Program was conducted by the Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth at North Dakota State University in partnership with Fargo’s Emerging Prairie. Ten entrepreneurs were invited to participate in the program. The program was described as a “six-month program aimed to accelerate their growth in the Fargo-Moorhead area by connecting them to capital, community and technology resources." The participants’ companies included retail grocery, cutting edge software, catering services, and mental health services for mothers, among others. Goals of the program were to enhance success of new entrepreneurs, accelerate their growth rate, and highlight the contributions they make to the Fargo-Moorhead community. 

Who Is Proud To Be An American?
By Clay Routledge (December 2020)

It is easy to tell a story of The United States as a deeply divided nation. Americans are a diverse group with major policy preference differences that can make it difficult to unite under a common vision of our country. Not to mention, we live in era in which outrage-driven cable news and clickbait social media provoke distrust and hostility towards those who have different social and political beliefs. But there is another story that deserves more attention. Despite the real differences that exist and the media outlets and platforms that often amplify and exaggerate them, most Americans are unified in their love of country.

How are attitudes toward entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial motivation affected by meaning?
By Clay Routledge and John Bitzan (June 2020)

The Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth conducted a survey to explore American beliefs on capitalism, entrepreneurship, and the ability of these economic systems to solve important problems. A previous research brief highlighted our findings related to capitalism and capitalist solutions. This research brief describes our findings related to entrepreneurship’s role in solving important societal problems and people’s motivation to be entrepreneurs. 

Globalization, Global Supply Chain Disruptions, and COVID-19
By Anupa Sharma (June 2020)

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented disruption to the global economy and world trade. A new research brief by the Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth  shows that regardless of where shutdowns have occurred, the economic disruptions wrought by the pandemic will impact everyone. Tight linkages in global supply chains mean that circumstances in one country can cause economic harm in other countries. Moreover, the tight linkages in global supply chains magnify the negative consequences of trade barriers. This research brief shows the important mutual dependencies that exist as a result of tightly connected supply chains and the damage that can be created through trade barriers.

Does a feeling of meaning and purpose in life affect views toward capitalism?
By Clay Routledge and John Bitzan (April 2020)

The Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth conducted a survey to explore American beliefs on capitalism, socialism, and entrepreneurship. The survey of more than 1,200 Americans reveals that existential health has a strong association with people’s views on capitalism, socialism, entrepreneurship, and their abilities to solve important problems. This research brief focuses on our findings related to capitalism and capitalist solutions.


2023 American College Student Freedom, Progress and Flourishing Survey
By John Bitzan (July 2023)

The American College Student Freedom, Progress and Flourishing Survey is an annual survey conducted by the Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth. The survey assesses student perceptions about viewpoint diversity and campus freedom; human progress and beliefs about the future; and student attitudes toward entrepreneurship, capitalism and socialism, and how college is influencing their views.

2022 North Dakota Business Conditions and Climate Survey
By John Bitzan (September 2022)

The North Dakota Business Conditions and Climate Survey aims to gain insight into the current business conditions, expectations, and plans of North Dakota businesses; factors that positively and negatively affect business performance in the state of North Dakota; and changes in regulation and other policies that could enable improved economic performance in North Dakota.

Technical Reports

Persistently Poor Rural Counties Experienced Lower Employment Impacts From the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic but Have Higher Cumulative COVID-19 Case Rates
By Elizabeth A. Dobis, Thomas Krumel, and Austin Sanders (February 2022)

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in more than 71 million cases across the United States and 860,000 deaths nationwide by late January 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Beyond both cases and deaths, the pandemic prompted significant restrictions on business and government activities, broad changes across industries, and lifestyle shifts for many. The effects of the pandemic varied by location, and differences can be seen when comparing the impact of the disease on communities in rural (nonmetro) and urban (metro) areas of the United States, as well as when looking at counties with persistent poverty.

Rural America at a Glance: 2021 Edition
By Elizabeth A. Dobis, Thomas Krumel, John Cromartie, Kelsey L. Conley, Austin Sanders, and Ruben Ortiz (November 2021)

The 2021 edition of Rural America at a Glance focuses on aspects affecting the resiliency and recovery of rural communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including population and employment change, intensity of infection and vaccination rates, and internet availability and adoption.

Socioeconomic Transition in the Appalachia Coal Region : Some Factors of Success
By Linda Lobao, Mark Partridge, Oudom Hean, Paige Kelly, Seung-hun Chung, and Elizabeth Ruppert Bulmer (October 2021)

This paper examines the transition away from coal mining in the Appalachia region of the United States and the impact on local communities; the aim is to identify factors that helped some communities transition more successfully than others. The analysis looks beyond traditional economic factors, and takes into account broader social and institutional aspects germane to the community capitals literature.

Meatpacking Working Conditions and the Spread of COVID-19
By Thomas Krumel and Corey Goodrich (September 2021)

This working paper explores how working conditions in meatpacking plants may have contributed to the spread of COVID-19. It compares working conditions within the meatpacking sector to other manufacturing industries, and finds significantly higher risk of exposure for those working in the meatpacking industry, especially early in the pandemic before mitigation measures were implemented.

A Look at Railroad Costs, Scale Economies, and Differential Pricing
By John Bitzan and Fecri Karanki (February 2021)

This study estimates returns to scale in the U.S. Railroad Industry and explores implications for differential pricing. We find that large scale (density) economies persist in the U.S. railroad industry, suggesting that marginal cost pricing would not come close to recovering railroad costs. Increased pricing freedom from deregulation has enabled railroads to retain relatively competitive shippers and has fostered substantial cost reductions and innovation. Policies that make broad changes limiting the extent of differential pricing allowed by railroads have the potential to reduce the ability of the industry to respond to market forces, limiting investment and innovation and harming railroads and shippers.

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