Lawrence H. White

Lawrence H. White

  • Member, Financial Markets Working Group
  • Professor of Economics, George Mason University
  • Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center
  • Senior Fellow at the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Lawrence H. White is a professor of economics at George Mason University. Prior to his position at George Mason, he was the F. A. Hayek Professor of Economic History in the Department of Economics, University of Missouri-St. Louis. He has been a visiting professor at the Queen's School of Management and Economics, Queen's University of Belfast, and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Professor White is the author of The Theory of Monetary Institutions (Blackwell, 1999), Free Banking in Britain (2nd ed., IEA, 1995), and Competition and Currency (NYU Press, 1989). He is the editor of several works, including The History of Gold and Silver (3 vols., Pickering and Chatto, 2000), The Crisis in American Banking (NYU Press, 1993), African Finance: Research and Reform (ICS Press, 1993), and Free Banking (3 vols., Edward Elgar, 1993). His articles on monetary theory and banking history have appeared in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Literature, the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, and other leading professional journals.

Dr. White earned his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his AB from Harvard University.

Published Research

Lawrence H. White | Sep 2013
“Fragility” is the well-known property of being easily breakable, of failing under moderate stress. The opposite property is “antifragility,” a term coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2012a) and the title of his recent book. In this article, Lawrence White considers how we might achieve antifragile banking and monetary systems. There are reforms that can marginally reduce fragility, but the author argues that to achieve antifragility will require a serious turn away from “one-practice-fits-all” centralized regulation and toward a free market’s mixture of innovation and strict discipline. In banking it will require an end not only to “too big to fail” bailouts of uninsured creditors and counterparties, but also to other forms of taxpayer-backed depositor and creditor guarantees.
Lawrence H. White, George Selgin, William D. Lastrapes | Sep 24, 2012
As the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act approaches, we assess whether the nation’s experiment with the Federal Reserve has been a success or a failure. Drawing on a wide range of recent empirical research, we find the following: (1) The Fed’s full history (1914 to present) has been characterized by more rather than fewer symptoms of monetary and macroeconomic instability than the decades leading to the Fed’s establishment. (2) While the Fed’s performance has undoubtedly improved since World War II, even its postwar performance has not clearly surpassed that of its undoubtedly flawed predecessor, the National Banking system, before World War I. (3) Some proposed alternative arrangements might plausibly do better than the Fed as presently constituted. We conclude that the need for a systematic exploration of alternatives to the established monetary system is as pressing today as it was a century ago.
Lawrence H. White | Oct 2010
The principle of the rule of law could usefully guide us in resolving the extraordinary situation we have been in for the past two years or so, and even more importantly help us to avoid future crises.
Lawrence H. White | Dec 2009
The U.S. housing bubble and the fallout from its bursting are not the results of a laissez-faire monetary and financial system.

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Lawrence H. White

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Lawrence H. White | October 16, 2013
Lawrence H. White Discusses the Government Shutdown on "To the Point"
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