Research at the Snider Center

Understanding the “why” and “how” of enterprise and markets.

The center’s research seeks to answer questions such as why businesses are successful, why one economy struggles as another thrives, and why we need to be good corporate citizens. The center strives to understand and explain how enterprise and markets create value, thereby enabling upward mobility, progress and broadly shared prosperity.

By drawing on academic excellence across the University of Maryland and around the world, the center conducts interdisciplinary research to drive enterprise and innovation. The center works with faculty and students in the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland College Park Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland College Park Department of Philosophy, University of Maryland College Park Department of History, and other schools and departments within the University of Maryland, and in partnership with a team of affiliated researchers.

Our cutting-edge research spans three key areas:

  1. Human Enterprise – Innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership
  2. Market-Supporting Institutions – Regulation, formal and informal institutions enabling/preventing the functioning of free markets and competition
  3. Evolution of Capitalism – Industry evolution, technological progress, innovation and education

To learn more about the fantastic work being done by our research team, visit our digital publication, Snider Focus.

Markets & Management Network

Since its inception in 2017, the Markets and Management Network has brought together leading management scholars from across the U.S. and the world to discuss critical issues regarding freedom at the intersection of markets and management, with implications for how individuals organize and trade with each other under different politico-economic systems. Today, the Markets and Management network is a robust group of more than 70 dedicated scholars meeting monthly to engage in discourse and discussion on a variety of research topics.

Virtual seminars include such topics as:

  • Spontaneous orders, entrepreneurship, and the creation of markets in comparative perspective.
  • Dynamic capabilities at the governmental level.
  • Civil liberties in the time of national emergencies.
  • Privacy and civil liberties in a data-driven world.
  • Entrepreneurial responses and hurdles in the response to pandemic crises and national emergencies.

In addition to presenting their own research, more than 60 senior scholars lead and facilitate communities of learning among junior scholars so they can provide constructive feedback and guidance.

History of Capitalism Initiative

Enriched by a diversity of subjects and methods, the History of Capitalism initiative is a scholarly community committed to exploring how capitalism and its associated ideas and practices have changed across time and space. The Ed Snider Center is committed to the initiative and seven of our research affiliates are engaged with it. These include Mircea Raianu and David Sicilia of the Department of History, both co-organizers of the Histories of Global Capitalism Forum which provides a space for conversations about new research, bringing together emerging and established scholars with a strong global focus. Building on strengths in several University of Maryland departments and schools (history, business, economics, and public policy), the Initiative includes scholars from the wider Washington, DC region and beyond in an annual series of talks in varying formats.

Research Projects

Social grand challenges (e.g., poverty alleviation; access to health care), particularly in emerging economies, are often assumed to require big solutions by big governments or philanthropic aid by non-profit agencies and foundations. This research will challenge this mainstream view by conducting a deep dive into the emergence of the global mobile money industry, which has provided unprecedented financial access for the unbanked (and poorest) population in the world. By gathering and analyzing rich longitudinal data across multiple countries and examining the role of for-profit/non-profit organizations and public agencies in the emergence and diffusion of mobile money, we hope to provide empirical support for two main premises. 

First, to be truly sustainable and scalable, solutions to social grand challenges require enterprising individuals and firms to engage in win-win trade relationships that provide them their livelihoods and enable the focal customer to receive timely, quality, and cost-effective products and services. Second, innovative solutions to grand challenges do not simply emerge through omniscient social planning. Rather, they require a trial-and-error process where all actors who share this purpose have to engage in experimentation and learning by doing. This is because during the nascent stages, creating robust solutions such as mobile money requires for-profit, non-profit, and public actors to navigate through fundamental uncertainty and build relevant knowledge, market infrastructure, and institutions.

The insights of our study will help inform academics, policymakers, and practitioners on processes through which sustainable solutions to social grand challenges emerge as well as the socio-economic benefits to embracing experimentation in a collaborative manner. These insights can also accelerate the emergence and diffusion of solutions to other grand challenges, including reduction of post-harvest loss and access to healthcare in emerging economies.

The Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets is part of the Consortium for Innovation in Post-Harvest Loss and Food Waste Reduction. The consortium also includes the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), the Rockefeller Foundation, Iowa State University, Wageningen University and Research, Volcani Center, Zamorano University, Stellenbosch University, University of São Paulo, University of Nairobi, and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. The consortium’s members will work in tandem with industry and nonprofit organizations to address social, economic and environmental impacts from food loss and waste.

The Snider Center’s involvement builds on our prior work funded by Rockefeller’s YieldWise Imitative that incorporated QUEST honors program students who helped former Maryland Smith professor Christina Elson evaluate the post-harvest loss of mangoes in Kenya. This work focused on the problem of information asymmetry and exchange of information in the supply chain. This same “systems problem” is being explored by the Consortium in an expanded way. The team at the Ed Snider Center working with the Consortium includes research affiliate Dr. Steven T. Sonka, founding director Dr. Rajshree Agarwal, doctoral candidate Audra Wormald and research coordinator Nicholas Appleton.

Enterprise and markets do more to reduce poverty than any other approach tried throughout history. Work on the YieldWise Initiative emphasized that “supply chains don’t just happen.” They are the result of effective entrepreneurial behavior by economic actors across farms, firms and institutions. Our team at the Center in partnership with Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative along with Bocconi University is focusing their research on improving entrepreneurial performance within the food and agricultural sectors specifically in Tanzania.

While Japan is often perceived to be a poster child for government promotion of economic development, in fact, Japan’s spectacular economic growth was fueled by entrepreneurship and free markets. Funded by the National Science Foundation, Center research affiliate Dr. Serguey Braguinsky and Dr. Rajshree Agarwal will conduct an in-depth examination of the role played by educated engineering human capital in promoting entrepreneurship and market-oriented growth.

Human capital is a critical ingredient in the discovery of innovations and adoption of technology, but what type of human capital is most important for such activities, and what are the roles of higher-order technical skills, in particular, remain largely unexplored. Studying the interaction between technological opportunity, human capital formation, market demand, and institutional rules is a promising way to better understanding how nations—even today—can take advantage of advanced technologies, as well as develop new, innovative ones.

This survey assessment provides early-stage entrepreneurs with real data to shape effective team building and create relationships critical for success. After entrepreneurial teams take the survey, we debrief them on how trust and information sharing networks influence team dynamics.

Kylie King
Email: or

The Ed Snider Center is collaborating with various researchers and industry leaders interested in investigating the emerging market for cannabis. current collaborators include Cindy Phillips, Hemp Analytics, and Martin Lee, Project CBD.

Back to Top