Center for the Study of Free Enterprise

The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise (CSFE) seeks to provide economics research and thought leadership focused on issues in economic development in our region, North Carolina and beyond.

We do this by conducting scholarly based inquiry, policy analysis, educational activities, and community outreach. As a cross-disciplinary unit, we involve students and faculty from every college and discipline on campus and support their work that improves understanding of economic development in our world.

The Center also acts as an interdisciplinary forum that supports Western Carolina University faculty, students, and community members to exchange ideas, engage in mutual outreach, and collaborate on applied research.

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Call for Proposals

In support student and faculty research projects resulting in peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, or other professional development, students and faculty can submit proposals to receive grant support.

Students and faculty from any major/department, teams with off-campus co-applicants, and WCU student organizations are all encouraged to apply.

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Speaker Series


Free Enterprise Speaker Series

Free and open to the public, this series gives you the chance to explore all points of view on issues of the day.

This series offers a forum for the campus and community to hear from renowned experts from a variety of fields, and understand multiple perspectives through civil, informed, and fruitful discourse.

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Epic Trade Show


Current Projects

WNC Economy Data Dashboard - A one-stop, multi-purpose site for the general public, prospective businesses, and professionals considering locating in WNC.

The site will provide information about labor markets, product markets, real estate, and demographics such as workforce composition.





Issue Briefs

A series of 2,000-word issue briefs written for the general public, commissioned by CSFE to explain and explore core concepts and salient issues in politics and economics. These will be written for general readerships including the public, the media, policymakers, educators, and students.





Policy Studies

A series of in-depth policy analysis papers on key salient issues. Topics will be selected to help lead the economic and political agenda, as opposed to reacting to the ever-shifting priorities in the state capital and media. Authors will consist of WCU student-faculty research teams, as well as researchers from other institutions across the state.



Center Organization


Center Organization

The Center's organizational information, advisory board members, and essential documents such as the by-laws, meeting minutes, and funding documents.


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