Project Archive

Visit the CBER Projects & Publications Library to browse our archive of work and a project search by keyword.

© Center for Business and Economic Research, Ball State University.

Recent Work

The Great Discordance: Forecasting the National and State Economy in 2024

This analysis examines post-COVID trends in the labor market and household/consumer behavior, as well as finance, manufacturing, housing, and the broader economy. Produced as part of the annual Indiana Economic Outlook forecasting luncheon, published Jan. 26, 2024.

School Corporation Size and Student Outcomes: An Update and Extensions

Produced for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation, this study examines Indiana public school corporations by size of their student enrollment and measures of success. Published Jan. 3, 2024.

This study is a continuation of the work previously published in 2017.

School Learning Loss in the Post-COVID Environment

This study focuses on the magnitude and factors contributing to learning loss at the school level in Indiana over the COVID pandemic through the 2021-2023 school years. This work builds on our earlier research (Hicks and Faulk, 2022), which also focused on learning loss in Indiana schools from 2019 to 2021, the first test year after the start of the pandemic. Published Dec. 13, 2023.

  • Brief
  • Authors: Dagney Faulk, Michael J. Hicks, Madelyn Ponsier
  • Browse publications tagged #Education 

A Long-Run Forecast for Indiana & East Central Indiana

This analysis offers a long-term projection of the Indiana and East Central Indiana economy. We look past the boom-bust cycle of the moment, towards the longer-term factors that contribute to economic growth. Published Jan. 17, 2023.

Semiconductor Plant Location Decisions in the Wake of the CHIPS Act

In this study, we seek to identify locations within the United States that are the most likely to experience new growth from the expansion of microchip manufacturing, and the community characteristics that may influence plant location decisions. Published Dec. 14, 2022.

The State of the Rural Economy in Indiana

In this study, researchers from CBER and CLASP compare rural and urban places, examine economic inputs and special issues, and summarize findings and probable influences on the economic future of rural Indiana. Published Sept. 8, 2022.

Indiana's Poor Economic Recovery, 2010-2019

This policy brief reviews Indiana’s relative performance during the 2010-2019 economic recovery, followed by an examination of factors contributing to the relative decline of the state economy 2009-2019, and concludes with a summary and policy recommendations. Published May 6, 2022.

What Contributed to COVID Learning Loss in Indiana's Schools?

This study examines the effects of COVID-19 on measures of student learning in Indiana schools. We consider student demographics, baseline test performance, and school characteristics and enrollment trends, as well as the share of time spent in a virtual or hybrid classroom. Published Jan. 18, 2022.

Indiana Economic Outlook Luncheon 2022

The annual Indiana Economic Outlook luncheon was held on December 9, 2021, and included the economic forecast and a panel discussion. The event was sponsored by First Merchants.

School Choice and State Spending on Education in Indiana

Using data on 2019-20 student transfers among public, charter, and private school options, we examine differences in state funding if these transfer students had attended the traditional public school in the district in which they reside versus the enrolled district or school. Published June 11, 2021. 

COVID-19 Response: Community Resiliency in the Hoosier State (Policy Brief Series)

To better understand the varied effects of COVID-19 in communities throughout Indiana, a survey of local government officials was conducted by Accelerate Indiana Municipalities (AIM), the Association of Indiana Counties (AIC), and Ball State University researchers at the Bowen Center for Public Affairs, CBER, and Indiana Communities Institute. 

The purpose of these policy briefs is to provide government policymakers and community decision-makers with more comprehensive and in-depth data on budgetary/fiscal stress, technology, administration, public health, and community health as decisions are made regarding resource allocation and policy development.

How Many School-Age Children Lack Internet Access in Indiana?

This study explores regional variation in internet access among Indiana households with school-age children. The lack of access likely resulted in significant differences in the quality and quantity of school instruction received by Hoosier students during the Spring 2020 school closings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, this lack of internet access will make virtual learning difficult for some children if schools opt to have online education for the upcoming school year. Published July 9, 2020.

  • Study
  • Authors: Srikant Devaraj, Dagney Faulk, Michael J. Hicks, and Yuye Zhang
  • Browse studies tagged #Education 

COVID-19 Effects on Indiana’s State and Local Taxes

The goal of this study is to help state and local policymakers better understand the fiscal impacts of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and aid with budget planning considerations. We also hope that our work will help federal policymakers understand the risks of diminished public services to state and local economies. Published June 10, 2020; updated June 12, 2020.

  • Study
  • Authors: Dagney Faulk, Michael J. Hicks, and Srikant Devaraj
  • Browse studies tagged #Disaster-Impact   

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Indiana Has a Monopoly Problem in Healthcare: Preliminary Evidence and Recommendations

This policy brief provides preliminary analysis as to the degree of competition in Indiana's healthcare markets. We conclude that evidence strongly suggests healthcare markets in Indiana experience significant monopoly power, which has increased prices, allowed not-for-profit providers to accrue stunningly large profits, increased the burden on Hoosier families, and likely reduced healthcare outcomes across the state. Published Sept. 25, 2019.

Fiscal, Economic, and Social Effects of Immigration in the Hoosier State

This study details the current realities and implications of immigration in Indiana as a whole, including effects on demographics, education, wealth and poverty, employment, and the labor market. Study sponsored by Conexus Indiana. Published May 13, 2019.

To supplement this study, we have created fact sheets for each Economic Growth/Workforce Development region, which give a snapshot of how the foreign-born population is changing at these various geographies, as well as the benefits and challenges they represent.

The Myth and the Reality of Manufacturing in America

This study for Conexus Indiana examines the composition of the industry before and after the Great Recession. We debunk common misconceptions about manufacturing and estimate the industry's future health.

How Vulnerable Are American Communities to Automation, Trade, & Urbanization?

This study highlights divergence in regional economic performance and the impact on households and communities, which necessitates an urgent call to research and policy analysis. The executive summary provides an overview of key points, and the appendix shows larger regional maps of county-level data for all 50 states.

Assessing E-Readiness and the Human Development & Technology Index

This study, Assessing Indiana's E-Readiness in the Development of the Digital Society, seeks to bridge the gaps in research on the relationship between broadband accessibility and human development by assessing the e-readiness of Indiana counties.

In the companion piece, Human Development & Technology in US Counties, the authors expand the scope of their previous research using the Human Development & Technology Index (HDTI) to assess geographic trends in the access to and the quality of broadband technology across all US counties. This work includes considerations for policy makers.

What Comes First, People or Jobs? Evidence and Lessons from Indiana

In this study, we examine population and employment growth in Indiana’s 92 counties in the decades of the 1970s and the 2000s to determine whether job attraction or people attraction is a larger factor in county population growth. We control for educational attainment, initial population, urban/rural influence, natural amenities, income inequality and intergenerational mobility, the size of local government, and spatial spillover effects.

Disaster Impact Studies

This collection focuses on the economic impact of natural disasters, including flood and storm damage.


This collection encompasses a broad range of education topics, including K-12 school performance, cost-benefit of college, and educational attainment effects on standard of living and workforce issues.


These studies use data trends and modeling software to project future growth and volatility in a particular industry or for an entire economy.

Indiana Communities Institute

CBER partners with the Indiana Communities Institute on a multitude of projects that combine economic development wisdom with data-rich analysis. This collection also includes collaborations with the RUPRI Center for State Policy, the Center for Community Economic Development, and Building Better Communities.

Indiana Toll Road Corridor Project

This collection finalizes two years of research, resulting in an analytical economic development study. The study team from Ball State University evaluated the efficacy of multiple and varied strategies for potential implementation in the seven northernmost counties of Indiana, collectively referred to as the Indiana Toll Road Corridor.

Local Government Reform and Consolidation

Local government consolidation is a topic on the minds of many cities, townships, and counties as they look for cost-saving measures. We approach the subject as an unbiased researcher, evaluating the data and predicting the impacts of a possible consolidation of government services.

Mounds Lake Reservoir

In this collection of documents, professionals from many disciplines weigh in on the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir project in Madison and Delaware counties in East Central Indiana. Note: This peer review is simply the professional opinion of the authors and is not sponsored by any organization.

Primacy of Place

The Primacy of Place Initiative focuses on sustainable community development that focuses on improving the quality of life of residents. These features include high-quality schools, valued public services and amenities, and updated infrastructure.

Property Tax, Housing, and Real Estate

This collection focuses on public policy issues pertaining to real estate, including property tax caps, assessment accuracy, and impact on government revenue.

Tax Increment Financing

Tax increment financing (TIF) has been used to spur economic development and business attraction, but is the payoff worth the investment?