Program for the Study of Midwest Markets and Entrepreneurship

Midwest labor, product and capital markets are atypically thin compared to markets on the east and west coasts. Agglomerations of customers, suppliers, and educated workers have been used to explain the century-long shift of population from rural to urban areas, the increasing concentration of patenting and entrepreneurship in cities, and the higher wages for urban than rural workers. As a result, studies of entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic growth have focused most on the experiences in cities. Nevertheless, 29% of the Midwest population lives in nonmetropolitan areas compared to 15% for the nation as a whole, and so it is important to understand how thin markets function in a world where agglomeration economies are increasingly important, and how policy choices can enhance or diminish economic outcomes.

This program housed in the Department of Economics and the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative and funded in part by a gift from the Charles Koch Foundation supports a variety of undergraduate learning opportunities and a program of research on such topics as:

  • Entrepreneurship in thin Midwestern markets
  • Entrepreneurial finance, with an emphasis on the examination of the supply of and demand for venture capital in thin Midwestern markets
  • Education policy, growth, and returns, with an emphasis on identifying how Midwest states can attract and retain critical human capital in thin markets, and on how government policies enhance or restrict returns to human capital
  • Analyzing the roles of government tax, expenditure, and regulatory policies on entrepreneurship and economic growth
  • Developing and applying the Border Index

Peter Orazem

Peter F. Orazem

Orazem's fields of concentration are labor economics, applied econometrics,
human capital, agricultural economics, and markets in transition economies.

Affiliated faculty



Undergrad learning opportunities