Jesse Helms Fellow

The Jesse Helms Fellows Program was established in 2010 as an initiative that allows experts in free enterprise and public policy to tackle issues of critical importance through written work, research, interviews and special presentations.

To request copies of papers and opinion editorial published through our Fellows Program, please contact Brian Rogers by phone at (704) 233-1776, ext. 4 or by email at

Dr. Peter Frank


Dr. Peter Frank is the Jesse Helms Center Free Enterprise Fellow and Dean of the School of Business at Wingate University, where he chairs the BB&T Program on the Moral Foundations of Free Enterprise.  He is a member of the Southern Economic Association, the Society for Development of Austrian Economics, and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Actions.  In 2011, he received a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach and study economics at the Academy of Economic Studies in Chisinau, Moldova.  Dr. Frank received his BA and MS in economics from Grove City College and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, respectively and his Ph.D. in public policy from George Mason University. Dr. Frank recently has played a key role in the development of, our new online free enterprise curriculum. Dr. Frank’s blog can be read at

Watch Dr. Frank’s speech on August 3 at the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury Society luncheon:

Marriage and the Family: The Social and Economic Costs (2013) – Download here

Summary: Researchers from multiple disciplines have investigated the impact of family breakdown on society.  The effects on children have garnered attention as research examines the psychological impact of one versus two parent families, the incidence of teenage pregnancy, juvenile crime rates, a drop off in educational attainment, and declining birthrates in advanced industrial countries.  Additional research indicates family breakdown has economic consequences in terms of increased poverty which often manifests in significantly lower income for female single-headed households.  While both the definition of marriage and family and the economic impact of family breakdown remain fundamental policy issues, two principal questions require further consideration:

1) What constitutes marriage and family, and does it matter how this institutional arrangement is defined for society as a whole?

2) To what extent has government policy attributed to family breakdown, and what is the economic cost of this breakdown?

The Flat Tax – Has its Time Come?  Lessons from Eastern Europe (2012) – Download here

Summary: This paper explores the creation and development of the flat tax idea both in the United States and abroad, and it will address the need for tax reform as a central issue in the current presidential campaign. Though the flat tax was championed by Americans like Milton Friedman, Robert Hall and Alvin Rabushka, Steve Forbes, and even Jesse Helms, it has gained little traction in the United States as public policy. While there are seven states with flat income taxes in the United States there is still a progressive tax with six graduated rates at the federal level. Moreover, progressive taxation is the norm for most of the World particularly Western industrial democracies in Europe. However, beginning in 1994 with the tiny Baltic country of Estonia, the flat tax policy came to fruition at the international level. Within a year neighbors Latvia and Lithuania jumped on board by implementing their own flat tax, and in little more than 15 years later, 24 countries in the world have adopted a flat tax.