Center for Competitive Economies

Mission

The mission of the UNC Center for Competitive Economies is to bring the considerable intellectual resources of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to bear on economic development challenges in North Carolina, the Southeast, the United States, and the world.

The Center translates scholarly expertise from many disciplines into actionable policy guidance for collaborators – from local to global – in addressing their constituents’ economic challenges.

Expertise

The Center’s position at the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise and the Kenan-Flagler Business School allows the investigation of a broad portfolio of local to global economic competitiveness issues. The Center emphasizes focused community and market-level analysis building on the latest academic and governmental research. This approach ensures that Center outcomes offer uniquely constructive policy guidance.

Over the past decade, the Center’s Director, Brent Lane, and staff have engaged with private and public collaborators in dozens of applied scholarship projects in three primary initiatives:

Initiatives

Economic Dynamism Assessment
Economic policy discussions need to consider more than the usual narrow metrics of GDP, interest rates, or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Well informed policy decisions require a broad understanding of the many constituent drivers and directions of economic change. The Center works with clients and collaborators to assess the relevant spectra of factors challenging responsive leadership from the local to the global.

Economic Policy/Development Strategic Design
Economic policy/development is a means of economic self-determination. But it cannot succeed without clear goals, achievable strategies, and accurate performance assessment. The Center works with clients and collaborators to engage with their constituents in defining economic priorities and designing the policy and development strategies to attain those priorities.

Global Heritage Economics
Communities around the globe face similar challenges in balancing the protection of distinctive natural and cultural heritage with capitalizing on economic opportunities to improve the lives of their citizens. The Center work with US and international collaborators positions it in the forefront of the emerging development field of Heritage Economics. Sustainably balancing conservation and development of unique heritage assets draws on the Center’s nexus of UNC’s multidisciplinary and business expertise.

Economic Dynamism Assessment

Economic policy discussions often approach the subject monolithically using narrow, simplistic metrics like GDP, interest rates or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Well informed policy decisions require a broad understanding of the many constituent drivers and directions of economic change.  The Center works with clients and collaborators to assess the relevant spectra of factors challenging responsive leadership from the local to the global.

Business Dynamism IDEA Data Symposium
Convening of leading scholars on innovative research data utilization in diverse examination of US and global business dynamism trends.

Crowdfunding and Economic Development
Research and symposium that examined lessons from historic precedents as models for the use of novel crowdfunding platforms for community-based development finance.

Kenan Entrepreneurial Investment Market Assessment (KEIMA)
An international team of UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA students examined how the presence of US immigrant communities might facilitate international flows of informal entrepreneurial investment.

Marine Biotechnology Entrepreneurial Development Strategy
Multi-year investigation of entrepreneurial ecosystem requirements and resources availability of the emergent marine biotechnology industry.

High Growth Firms Economic Impacts and Policy Response
High growth firms account for most new jobs, income and wealth in state, regional and national economies. The Center’s program of research and collaborations investigates these firms to inform supportive public policy.

Economic Policy/Development Strategic Design

Economic policy/development is a means of economic self-determination. But it cannot succeed without clear goals, achievable strategies, and accurate performance assessment. The Center works with clients and collaborators to engage with their constituents in defining economic priorities and designing the policy and development strategies to attain those.

North Carolina City, County and Regional Economic Development Planning
Multi-level collaborations with North Carolina elected officials and staff using a community-engagement strategy to design and implement consensual comprehensive economic development.

North Carolina Economic Incentives Portfolio Evaluation
The Center collaborated with the North Carolina General Assembly in assessing the effectiveness of the State’s portfolio of economic development incentives. The result was the elimination of over $1 billion in ineffective incentives.

State Development Bond Economic Impact Analysis
Research response to North Carolina General Assembly request; analyzed and compared the economic impact of three potential state-wide bond investment scenarios.

North Carolina Tax Policy Modernization
Multi-year collaboration with North Carolina General Assembly leadership to provide multi-institutional research support contributed to substantial revisions to state corporate and personal income and sales tax policies.

North Carolina Economic Development Oversight Design
A twelve month engagement with a North Carolina General Assembly working group to establish state and local economic goals and restructure economic development incentives.

Global Heritage Economics

Communities around the globe face similar challenges in balancing the protection of distinctive natural and cultural heritage with capitalizing on economic opportunities to improve the lives of their citizens. The Center work with US and international collaborators positions it in the forefront of the emerging development field of Heritage Economics. Sustainably balancing conservation and development of unique heritage assets draws on the Center’s nexus of UNC’s multidisciplinary and business expertise.

Raleigh “Central Park” Economic Impact Assessment
The Center worked with a group of community and business leaders in a seminal assessment describing the economic contribution of converting state property in Raleigh to a proposed multi-use public gardens and park.

UNESCO ICOMOS Rock Art Entrepreneurial Opportunity Analysis
A team of KFBS international MBA students worked with an advisory committee of the United Nations World Heritage Centre to assess commercialization strategies to fund heritage protection.

Milken Institute Heritage Economic Financial Innovations Lab
Multi-year international collaboration with the Milken Institute in developing economic development strategies derived from the conservation of cultural heritage assets.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Management Strategic Information Needs
A collaboration with advisory committees of the United Nations World Heritage Centre engaged KFBS MBA students working with managers of World Heritage Sites in Bolivia, China, Japan, Morocco and New Zealand to identify strategic information priorities.

Covalent Evolution of Science and Entrepreneurial Finance
Leading scholarship describing interdependent development of modern science and entrepreneurial capitalism from the 16th century early modern Scientific Revolution and Age of Discovery to post World War II.

Brent LaneBrent Lane

Brent Lane, Economic Strategist, strives to make communities economically competitive and prosperous through strategic decisions and investments. More