The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas—bridging the gap between academic ideas and real-world problems.
A university-based research center, Mercatus advances knowledge about how markets work to improve people’s lives by training graduate students, conducting research, and applying economics to offer solutions to society’s most pressing problems.
Our mission is to generate knowledge and understanding of the institutions that affect the freedom to prosper and to find sustainable solutions that overcome the barriers preventing individuals from living free, prosperous, and peaceful lives.
Founded in 1980, the Mercatus Center is located on George Mason University’s Arlington campus.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Mercatus Center?
The Mercatus Center is a university-based research center dedicated to bridging the gap between academic research and public policy problems.
What does Mercatus mean and how is it pronounced?
Mercatus is derived from the Latin word for markets. Mercatus is pronounced mər- kā- təs.
What does the Mercatus Center do?
Mercatus researchers conduct research, work with graduate students to apply ideas to problems in the world, and make research findings available to the media and public policy makers to connect academic learning with real world practice.
Mercatus research, as our name implies, is focused on how markets solve problems.
Our goal is to bridge the gap between academic research and public policy problems, to advance an understanding of the economics of public policy. We do this through education (graduate student training), research (peer reviewed academic publications and policy studies), and outreach (media, testimony, and lectures).
More specifically, Mercatus scholars conduct their own research regarding which institutions (markets, governments, non profits—or some combinations of the three) promote the best social outcomes.
Through our visiting scholars program, academic seminars and workshops, and participation in professional academic association meetings, we encourage a lively and interdisciplinary engagement with our research.
Mercatus’s “economic toolkit” draws from Nobel Laureates Friedrich Hayek, Elinor Ostrom, Douglass North, and GMU’s own James Buchanan and Vernon Smith.