The widespread consensus in the United States in favor of free trade has diminished in recent years, driven in part by calls for a national industrial policy and the economic rise of China. While free trade is critical to the United States’ economic prosperity, the U.S. does have legitimate concerns regarding national-security threats and anti-free-trade practices like I.P. theft and espionage originating in countries like China.
The Charles Koch Institute seeks to partner with scholars and organizations interested in understanding issues related to trade policy, including the social and economic benefits of free trade, as well as defining and addressing true national-security threats and illiberal trade practices. We are particularly interested in supporting, through funding and other efforts, projects that will answer critical questions surrounding today’s trade debates and shape the future of the narrative around free trade; this includes projects that:
- Assess the historical track record of national industrial policy in the United States with respect to social, political, and economic outcomes.
- Conduct a comparative analysis of different countries’ industrial policies, government investment, and state-led development efforts in order to distinguish perceptions from reality and better understand their actual operation, performance, effects, and possible lessons for the United States.
- Explore alternative means of achieving the stated goals of national industrial policy, e.g. increasing innovation, productivity growth, unemployment gains, etc.
- Analyze the prospects for China’s continued economic growth and development, including likely catalysts, barriers, and potential unknowns such as political challenges, institutional change/instability, demographic trends, and economic constraints.
- Examine the prospects, challenges, costs/benefits, and consequences (intended or not) of China’s mega-initiatives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative or China’s large-scale investments in Africa.
- Explore issues and topics related to U.S-China trade and foreign direct investment and their implications for national security.
- Examine how to better protect or engender respect for U.S. intellectual property in China and other markets.
- Explore the issue of tech theft and commercial espionage against American entities, including understanding the costs to American businesses and national-security interests, the extent to which the challenge is factored into investment decisions by American firms operating in foreign countries, and what role the U.S. government can productively play in this regard to secure the conditions of our economic prosperity.
- Explore opportunities for U.S.-China economic cooperation that maximizes economic benefits out of the complementary relationship between the two economies consistent with U.S. national-security concerns.
- Examine the impact of bilateral and regional Free Trade Agreements and implications for U.S. trade policy in the 21st century.
- Explore the role of mutual recognition for trade agreements, within a framework of a possible U.S.-U.K. bilateral trade agreement.
We are open to other research proposals that fit these general themes.
- A one-to-two-page abstract of the project on behalf of your university, college, think tank, or other 501(c)(3) organization. The abstract should provide sufficient detail for reviewers to assess the nature and feasibility of the idea.*
- A CV or résumé.*
- A brief, itemized budget.*
- Final projects should be original and meet the highest standards of their field, and must not have been previously published.
*Items are required in application.
Funding levels are commensurate with the requirements of the research and the potential for the research to advance an understanding of critical issues. Accepted proposals may also receive support to disseminate the research findings.