Published 12/24/13

Bryant faculty lend their expertise to state economic research

Bryant University is playing an integral role in a statewide consortium charged with providing policymakers with academic research that supports their decision making.

Wordmark for CollaborativeThe College & University Research Collaborative in Rhode Island, known as the Collaborative, includes presidents and faculty from the state’s 11 higher education institutions. It awards research grants from $7,500 to $10,000.

Scholars across Rhode Island are collaborating "to produce research related to critical policy issues in the state."

The Collaborative “is an opportunity for scholars across Rhode Island to work together to produce research related to critical policy issues in the state,” says Amber Caulkins, program director. This year, research is focused on economic development in advanced manufacturing, arts and culture, and regional competitiveness.

Bryant professors Jongsung Kim, Ph.D., and Joseph Ilacqua, Ed.D., are among the experts enlisted by the Collaborative.

Ilacqua is working with Brown University’s Dawn King, visiting assistant professor of Environmental Studies, on “Analyzing the State of Local Business and Organizational Purchasing in Rhode Island.” Their findings will provide insight for legislators working to advance the positive impact of that spending.

“The goal of the study is to provide an evidence-based foundation for government decision-making. Through our study, we will not be making policy recommendations but rather be providing evidence and information that can be the basis of good decision making,” says Ilacqua.

Tackling another local issue, Professor Kim is collaborating with Shani Carter, Ph.D., professor of Management at Rhode Island College, on “Competitiveness in Occupations and the Optimal Tax in Rhode Island.”

“Answering these questions will help determine whether Rhode Island personal income tax rates impact that state’s regional competitiveness in regard to attracting and maintaining a highly skilled labor force,” says Kim.

“Based on the findings, we will provide research and data that allow state government to establish the optimal tax policies that are beneficial to both municipal government and residents.”

President Ronald K. Machtley serves on the Collaborative’s leadership team and Edinaldo Tebaldi, Ph.D., was named a Fellow to facilitate campus relations.

The Collaborative was launched in August 2013 with funding from the Rhode Island Foundation and the R.I. Economic Development Corporation. Additional funding opportunities for scholars will be announced in spring 2014, according to Caulkins.