Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism

About Us

The BB&T Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism was established in 2009 through a generous grant from the BB&T Charitable Foundation.

The mission of the BB&T center is to encourage a thorough discussion of the moral foundations of capitalism through scholarly activities involving undergraduate students.

We envision the BB&T center as a dynamic organization that can serve as an effective vehicle for the study and dissemination of free market ideas. To this end, the BB&T center carries various activities including:

  • The provision of annual research grants to undergraduate students interested in doing research in areas related to political and economic liberty.
  • The provision of funding for undergraduate students to attend and present their papers at national and international academic conferences.
  • The support of a guest speaker series supplemented by funding from the Koch Foundation.
  • The support for course developments in areas related to capitalism and public policies.
  • The distribution of book copies to students majoring in economics. 


Antonio Saravia

Associate Professor of Economics
Director of the BB&T Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism

Dr. Saravia holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Arizona State University, an M.S. in Economics from Arizona State University, an M.A. in Economics and Social Policies from Georgetown University and a B.S. in Economics from Bolivian Catholic University.

Dr. Saravia has more than fifteen years of academic experience. Prior to joining Mercer University, Dr. Saravia held faculty appointments at Arizona State University, American University of Sharjah and Georgia State University. Dr. Saravia's research interests are in the areas of institutional economics, political economy and the determinants of economic freedom. His work has appeared in highly reputed academic journals such as Constitutional Political Economy, Review of Development Economics, European Societies and the Cato Journal among others.

Dr. Saravia also brings important private sector and consulting experience into the classroom. From 2011 to 2013 he served as a senior economist with Deloitte & Touche, LLP where he performed industrial organization and transfer pricing analysis on behalf of multinational corporations operating in a wide range of industries. Dr. Saravia has also provided consulting services with the Dubai Economic Council in the UAE, the Institute for Advanced Development Studies in Bolivia, and the Latin American Institute of Development and Social Studies in Chile.
Visit Dr. Saravia's personal website
Visit Dr. Saravia's blog  
View Dr. Saravia's Linkedin profile
Follow Dr. Saravia on Twitter
Dr. Saravia on:
- The Social Security's financial crisis CNN
- Bernie Sanders' tax reform proposal CNN
- The increasing anti-capitalistic mentality in the U.S. CNN
- The economics of a border wall CNN
- President Trump vs. Democrats and the government shutdown here (Spanish)
- The repeal of net neutrality here and here.
- Bitcoin here.
- The BB&T Center II here.
- The potential trade war with Mexico here.
- The "one-in, two-out" regulatory scheme on NPR here.
- The 2016 Nobel prize in economics here (Spanish).
- The BB&T Center I here.
- Capitalism in Latin America here.
- Capitalism and the environment here (Spanish).
- The Middle Georgia Economic Outlook Survey here.


Dr. Allen K. LynchAllen K. Lynch
Associate Professor of Economics and Quantitative Methods

Dr. Allen Kenneth Lynch is an Associate Professor of Economics and Quantitative Methods in the Stetson School of Business and Economics in Macon. He earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of North Florida and holds both Master's and Doctoral degrees from Florida State University.  

Dr. Lynch brings fairly extensive private sector experience into the classroom. His experiences in industry include a stint as Senior Demographic Research Analyst with Blockbuster Entertainment Group. In that role, Dr. Lynch was responsible for forecasting revenue for new and existing sites, projecting market area penetration levels and assisting with the development of optimal inventory models. Additionally, Dr. Lynch served as Research Associate for the Collins Center for Public Policy in Tallahassee, Florida. Dr. Lynch continues to work with industry today, as he has served as a consultant or expert witness in the legal representation of various nationally recognized corporations in the states of Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Colorado.

In addition to these "real world" experiences, Dr. Lynch also has produced numerous articles, which appear in well-respected academic journals. He has produced academic literature in The Journal of Labor Research, Applied Economics, Urban Studies, The Journal of Sports Economics and Interfaces, among others. He has most fun with research related to college athletics. In fact, his research in this area has generated media attention from organizations such as CNN, CNN Headline News, CNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine.

Robi Raganrobi
Associate Professor of Economics

Dr. Robi Ragan is an Associate Professor of Economics at Mercer University's Stetson School of Business and Economics. He received his Ph.D. in Economics, his M.A. in Political Science and his B.B.A. in Economics from The University of Georgia. Dr. Ragan's research centers on isolating how and to what extent political institutions themselves shape policy. He uses computational modeling (agent-based and simulation) to gain theoretical leverage on the issue. This approach allows Dr. Ragan to place groups of actors with given preferences into different institutional settings in order to gauge the effect of the rules of the game on political outcomes. Most of Dr. Ragan's research examines the ways in which legislative processes affect issues of political economy, such as income redistribution. Dr. Ragan's research has appeared in highly reputed journals such as Public Choice, the Journal of Theoretical Politics and Constitutional Political Economy.

Andrés Marroquín

Visiting Associate Professor of Economics






Dr. Andrés Marroquín earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala and graduate degrees in economics at George Mason University. His research has been on culture, institutions, entrepreneurship, and development. He has done fieldwork in Guate­mala, Colombia, and Haiti, and has studied institutions and economic performance in mineral-abundant societies such as Botswana and the Falkland Islands. He has been a visiting professor in Senegal, Mexico, China, and Haiti, among other countries.

Geoffrey M. NgeneG
Assistant Professor of Finance

Dr. Geoffrey Ngene is an Assistant Professor of Finance at Mercer University's Stetson School of Business and Economics. He received his Ph.D. and MS. (Both in Financial Economics) from University of New Orleans. His research has appeared inJournal of Real Estate Finance and Economics,Emerging Markets Review,Economic Systems,Journal of Derivatives and Hedge Fund,Studies in Economics and FinanceandAfrican Development Review,inter alia. His research interests include nonlinear time series, asset pricing, real estate finance, market efficiency and derivatives instruments. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance. He has consulting experience with World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and listed firms outside US.  


Arnab Nayak

Assistant Professor of Economics

Dr. Arnab Nayak is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Mercer University's Stetson School of Business and Economics. Dr. Nayak earned his Ph.D. at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana. Dr. Nayak’s primary teaching and research interests are empirical international trade, data analytics, health economics, economics of multinational enterprises and microeconometrics. Before joining Mercer, Dr. Nayak taught empirical international economics at Auburn University and worked as a transfer pricing specialist at Deloitte Tax LLP. His work at Deloitte Tax LLP involved analyzing the accounts of multinational companies to identify and benchmark reportable cross border transactions. It also involved conducting functional interviews with the individuals in different departments in such multinational companies to thoroughly understand, analyze and optimize the overall functions conducted by such companies in different countries, so as to minimize their global effective tax rate.   

Dr. Nayak has presented his research papers at refereed academic conferences and as an invited speaker at different universities in the U.S. and Europe.  


Briana Stenard 

Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship

Dr. Briana Sell Stenard earned her Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Georgia. Her research agenda lies at the intersection of management and entrepreneurship with a primary focus on the role of human capital in shaping entrepreneurial entry, performance, and exit. She also has a strong research interest in the effects of entrepreneurship on local economic growth. She is a Kauffman Foundation dissertation fellow. She has been published in Organization Scienceand the Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Growth. Her work has all been featured in the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper series, and the Harvard Business Review. Dr. Stenard has previously worked with the Economics section of the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, the MIT Task Force on their Production in the Innovation Economy project, and the Council for Quality Growth on economic development in metro Atlanta.

The BB&T center is thankful for the generosity and support of the following organizations and individuals: